Page 1


Journalism Alumni Magazine


Exciting expats: The Dubai connection Friendly rivals: Our graduates at LFC and EFC Awards honour: Media triumph for LJMU alumni

2015/2016 Edition




ello and welcome to this first edition of Headlines, a magazine which keeps you in touch with the many and varied activities of LJMU Journalism and International Journalism alumni in the UK and around the globe. In the following pages you’ll read about former students working as broadcasters, newspaper and magazine journalists, online reporters and editors, public relations executives and communications consultants. The scope and scale of their achievements is both impressive and heartening and the team here

at LJMU are proud to have had a small part in the launch of their careers. The remarkable thing about this magazine is that it has been researched, written, designed and edited all by our current final year students. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it and agree it is a testament to their talents. And if you’re an alumnus and we haven’t featured you yet, don’t worry. We’ll be on your case for editions to come! Jackie Newton Journalism Programme Leader

Inside this issue 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Jackie’s Letter Our Year in Review Grads shine at O2 media awards A laugh with Alex Brooker Dan Goulding on working at BBC Sport Tim’s lasting legacy Exciting expats: The Dubai connection

10 12 14 16 17 18 19

Friendly Rivals: Working at EFC and LFC News from Norway: Scandi success Life in the newsroom Zoo tales: Will Condliffe Jersey friendship China memories Last word: Graduates have their say

Our team:

Editor: Elle Spencer

Rochelle Beighton

Hannah Rogers

Our year


t’s been an interesting year for the JMU journalism team. An array of guest speakers have paid a visit to share their words of wisdom. Former Sun reporter Bill Coles told tales of pretending to be Prince William’s uncle to get a picture of him at University, while radio presenter Ngunan Adamu stopped by to tell us how she got her own radio show on BBC Merseyside (read more about Ngunan on page 15). Mark Nicholls also joined us, an embedded journalist who spent time reporting in Iraq. Mark Thomas, former editor of the Daily Post not only gave a lecture but was guest editor for a day and was on hand to help students with

Emily Curren

proofreading. He was impressed with Liverpool Life newspaper and said: “The good thing for journalists is that journalism is still about telling great stories, but the industry is changing. I think being flexible and adaptable are the most important qualities to have.” Christy Jade Biggar and James Knowles took a trip to London to interview Sir Brian Leveson. Lord Leveson, who is also LJMU Chancellor, gave the students advice and encouragement for the future. Students interviewed award-winning comedian John Bishop when he came to LJMU for a Q&A. He gave a funny and entertaining talk, while giving advice for anyone wishing to embark on a career in the media. But it wasn’t all hard work as JMU journalism students got together for the department’s first Christmas ball, organised by second-year student Nathan Archer. The money collected was added to that raised by other events in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. On the last news day of the year students sold cakes, wore festive jumpers and one brave student even had his legs waxed raising a recordbreaking £1,031 overall and smashing last year’s total of £285.

Beth Hughes

James Gamble


4 Celebrations on the night

Well done! LJMU graduates shine at the O2 Media Awards


JMU Journalism graduates shone across the different categories in the North West O2 Media Awards, held in November. The awards attracted entries from across the region, making it one of the most fiercely-fought contests in recent years Rhiannon Hilton, who graduated in 2010, was named the Junior Reporter of the Year. She now works for the Crewe Chronicle and

Josh Parry

said: “I am extremely proud to have won the award, especially as I was up against some tough competition. My time at LJMU taught me many things, but, above all, that determination gets you far.” Josh Parry, who graduated in 2013, is the Liverpool Echo’s property and development blogger and was highly commended in the Junior Reporter category. He extended his thanks to the lecturers in the Journalism department and said: “Every single day I use the skills that they have taught me.” The winner of Radio Journalist of the Year was 2004 graduate Chris Chambers, who has been working at one of Liverpool’s most popular commercial radio stations, Juice FM - now Capital FM, for seven years. He said: “To be acknowledged by fellow

journalists as someone who is getting it right means a lot. “I continue to learn on a daily basis but the most important lesson has been to respect and understand who it is that you are talking to and to deliver an honest, credible service.” In the ‘Scoop of the Year’ category LJMU graduate and now Radio City journalist Adam Phillips was a finalist. LJMU Journalism Programme Leader Jackie Newton said the whole team were extremely proud of the award winners. “We feel privileged to have had a part in launching these fine journalists’ careers and it has been immensely rewarding watching them develop in the industry. It is fantastic to know that they are out there upholding the best values of quality regional journalism.”

Rhiannon Hilton who was named Junior Reporter of the Year

‘My time at LJMU taught me many things, but above all that determination gets you far’


Football fan to funny man W hen Alex Brooker was a football-mad student at LJMU all he wanted to do was be a sports reporter but since graduating in 2006 he has gone on to be known as one of the best new faces of British comedy. Today Alex, from Kent, is a rising star on Channel 4. He was born with hand deformities and a bone missing from his right leg, resulting in him wearing a prosthetic limb, but has never let this stop him achieving his ambitions, including landing that much-wanted job as a sports reporter and making it to the GB squad of the Paralympic shooting team. Amongst many TV appearances he has co-hosted The Jump with Davina McCall and fronted a Channel 4 documentary Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body. He now co-hosts Channel 4’s awardwinning comedy news show The Last Leg with comedians Adam Hills and Josh Widdicombe. Alex returned to visit LJMU with

some wise words for current and future students. He said: “Always be nice to people you meet, as you don’t know who could do you a favour one day; know your niche and, if you have a unique selling point, use it to your advantage; don’t compromise.” In his final year at LJMU Alex wrote for the Liverpool Echo’s sports desk. He said: “I also did a column

‘No-one wants to fail but don’t be afraid of doing it’

©Channel 4

in Havoc, which was the student magazine at the time, and worked as a Sport Editor on Shout FM - the then student radio station. I loved doing that, reading the sport news on the morning show and acting as a co-presenter.” After graduating Alex went on to work for the Press Association for four years then in the run up to the 2012 London Paralympics he beat thousands of entries to be chosen as one of the new faces for Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage and interviewed Prime Minister David Cameron and Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. Since then, he has never looked back and guest appearances on popular comedy panel shows such as Celebrity Juice, A League of Their Own and 8 Out of 10 Cats have helped him to develop his funnyman reputation Alex said: “No-one wants to fail but don’t be afraid of doing it. My degree in Journalism has helped me massively.”


‘It doesn’t feel like a job at all!’


t the age of 21 Dan Goulding has already achieved his ambition of making it into sports journalism after securing a job with BBC Sport. Dan said: “As far back as I can remember I always wanted to do something in sport. I was never going to make it as a professional athlete, so I wanted to do the next best thing and work in sport as a journalist.” Originally from Wirral, Dan now works in Salford as a BBC Sport producer, just one year after graduating from LJMU. He said: “It doesn’t feel like a job at all. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do. In a typical day

I’m working on the producing side of things rather than chasing stories, but I have sat in on a few great interviews with athletes such as cricketers Stuart Broad and Joe Root.” Dan credits his new job to his degree, saying Journalism at LJMU prepared him well. “I wasn’t nervous to graduate, I was more relieved that my hard work had paid off! I chose a Journalism degree rather than a sports one because I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket. “With journalism there’s loads of different areas to go into. “Studying in Liverpool was great socially as there was always something going on. My

Dan in the BBC gallery

favourite thing about my degree was how ‘hands-on’ it was in terms of working on various publications, thinking of creative ideas, chasing stories, sourcing interviewees – just like you do in the industry.” While at LJMU Dan had the opportunity to do work experience with Sky Sports and the Liverpool Echo, making his CV stand out from other BBC Sport applicants. He said: “My work experience at Sky Sports taught me a lot about the world of sports journalism. “The experience was amazing and that’s when I knew working in sport was definitely for me!”


Tim’s lasting legacy L

iverpool John Moores University has teamed up with the Tim Hetherington Trust and Index on Censorship to award journalism graduates the opportunity to work for the editorial team at the free speech website and magazine for a year.

Josie at graduation

LJMU’S Professor Chris Frost, left, with Josie Timms and Tim Hetherington’s mother, Judith.

Josie Timms was the first winner of the Liverpool John Moores Tim Hetherington fellowship and has already had opportunities that most budding journalists can only dream of. Tim was a Liverpool-born photojournalist, filmmaker, human rights advocate, artist and a leading thinker in media innovation. He lost his life in Libya in 2011 following a mortar attack. The magnitude of his work is not lost on Josie, who said she is very proud to receive an award in his honour. “Tim’s work as a photojournalist is incredible, so I couldn’t have been happier to receive the award. I also got to meet his parents and they are both so lovely. There were lots of great journalists on my course so to win was an amazing feeling. I’d worked so hard throughout university and to be offered the award just showed that all my hard work paid off.” It was Josie’s passion for writing and news that led her to the LJMU Journalism course. She said: “I’ve always had an

interest in journalism and enjoyed writing, so I always knew I’d like to do something that involved that. I chose LJMU in particular because the course was one of the best I’d looked at.” Within her first couple of weeks at Index on Censorship Josie had the chance to interview film maker Johanna Schwartz, who made a film following the ban on music in Mali by Muslim extremists. This interview is one of Josie’s career highlights and helps to show the important work that Index on Censorship does in spotlighting issues that hinder free speech across the world. The opportunity at Index on Censorship has presented Josie with an invaluable chance for experience in really important journalism work and she hopes the experience will make her a bigger, better journalist in the future. “I’ve learnt so much already, so I hope to keep learning new things and building new skills. I just hope to enjoy my time working for such a great organisation.”


Exciting D

ubai is known for being the business hub of the Middle East, with its iconic skyscrapers and other landmarks, such as the world famous Burj Al Arab hotel. With such a fast-growing economy, the city has been rated as one of the best places to live in the Middle East – so it’s no wonder LJMU graduates have flown the nest and relocated there in

search of better weather and exciting careers. Lara Richards graduated from LJMU in 2009 and originally planned on working in print journalism, taking work experience placements at Now Magazine and The Independent whilst at university. However, Lara soon experienced the world of broadcast journalism during a fourweek placement at Sky Sports. “After four weeks of work placement, Sky

Lara Richards at the ICC Cricket World Cup Final in Melbourne ©ICC


Judy Cogan now works for Shortlist UAE offered me a job. I was really lucky I went into a job and I stayed there for two years.” Getting an initial taste for the world of sports at Sky set the ball rolling for Lara’s career as she now lives and works in Dubai for the International Cricket Council(ICC). Her job is to manage, service and deliver ICC obligations across all media rights and digital rights contracts. Working for the International Cricket Council has allowed Lara to travel the world, from the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, to

the ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. “Every day is different. So many parts of my job are money-can’t-buy experiences,” she said. For 2010 graduate Chanelle Tourish, her Journalism degree has also taken her further afield from her roots in Ireland and landed her a career working as an Arts and Culture editor for Time Out Dubai. Chanelle originally moved to Dubai in November 2011 to work for writing agency Whitefox Media, and worked her way across


Expats the company’s portfolio of magazines, including being promoted to Editor of the men’s title Virtuozity in 2012. During her career she has had the chance to meet many celebrities on the job – something which she still finds surreal - including having Michael Buble sing down the phone to her and having breakfast with Liam Neeson. Chanelle said of her experience there: “Sometimes I have to

pinch myself when I get the chance to interview Hollywood A-listers and chart-topping musicians. I have always wanted to cover music, movies, celebrities and showbiz and through my own efforts I have managed to make that dream a reality.” Living and working all over the world seemed to come naturally to avid traveller Judy Cogan since graduating from LJMU in 2008. She was bitten by the travel bug at the age of 19 and has Chanelle interviewing singer Katy Perry

Chanelle with David Beckham

been lucky enough to travel to a huge variety of places, including Panama, Lebanon, Miami and Jamaica. Following an internship at the Shanghai Star in China, Judy knew she wanted to take her journalism career abroad. Initially starting out in Dubai working at Gulf News Friday magazine Judy fell in love with the country and stayed there to find herself a

job as deputy editor for Shortlist UAE. Comparing how she finds life in Dubai different to the UK, Judy said: “It’s more cosmopolitan and there’s such a wide scope of nationalities living here. I’ve got colleagues from the UK, India, Africa, Canada and the Philippines. With that comes different ways to dress, to eat, and of course work ethics.”

10 ©LFC

Friendly It’s impossible to live in Liverpool and not hear and talk about the Reds and the Blues. People in this city take their football very seriously but this lucky handful of JMU Journalism graduates decided to take it a step further and go and work for their club.


oel Richards, Chris Shaw and Stephen Dickinson all work for their beloved Liverpool Football Club, after graduating from LJMU Journalism. “It feels like only yesterday when I graduated on a hot July morning in 2013,” said graduate Joel Richards, “but now I’m an Assistant Producer as part of the Live Football team at LFCTV, doing research for producers, interviewing players and floor managing academy games.” Joel has learned that

persistence is key in the industry. “You should never be afraid to pitch an idea. Even if it’s rejected. Always show a willingness to get involved and get your opinion across. ” For Chris Shaw, who graduated in 2010, it was ambition that drove him to work for his club: “I felt well prepared after my three years on the course. I spent some time at the Liverpool Echo on a placement after graduation and then started working for FIFA in September 2010.”

Chris wrote as a freelancer for LFC whilst working for FIFA, as he knew he would have to earn a job there. He said: “I’d always advise students to be as enthusiastic as possible in this industry. Have ideas, and be brave enough to share them.”

Stephen Dickinson also graduated in 2010 and started work for LFC TV the day after graduating. He said: “Having started on work experience I am now an assistant producer for the edit team at LFCTV. I will say as a Liverpool fan, it really is a

Above: Joel Richards with former players Robbie Fowler and Vladimir Smicer. Below: Chris Shaw at Anfield. Right: Matthew Gamble and Helen Mayo at Goodison.

11 ©Gareth Jones


dream job! “I have to come up with ideas for shoots and features, direct cameramen at a location, conduct interviews and edit the footage for the final edit. The shows I predominantly work on are the magazine show LFCWORLD and Kop Kids, both of which have

been really successful.” Over at Goodison Park, Helen Mayo and Matthew Gamble now work for Everton FC, having also first gained industry experience at LJMU Journalism. Helen, who graduated in 2008, is the Media and Player Appearance Manager at Everton FC. She said: “Primarily, I’m responsible for looking after all requests for player appearances – so this could be a player visiting a local school, or taking part in one of the sessions delivered by our wonderful charity Everton in the Community.” Helen said the skills learned on the course have helped her succeed. “It’s not just about the academic skills of writing, shorthand and understanding media law, but the skills you need in a workplace such

as working as a team, learning from others, being confident enough to share your opinions and so on.” Matt Gamble graduated in 2005 and is the Digital Manager at Everton FC, following the team up and down the country and across the world to report on matches and tours. He said: “I have worked at Everton for over 10 years after joining pretty much straight out of

university. Fundamental things like writing – be it scripts, articles, features – still play a part in my dayto-day responsibilities.” Matthew said innovation is the key to success and being open to change in line with current media trends. He said: “Look at what all other areas of the media are doing, take note of what impresses you or is popular or effective and try to replicate it and improve on it.”


News from


orway has always been a country with close links to Liverpool – even the name of Liverpool’s favourite dish Scouse is derived from a Norwegian word – and each year thousands of Norwegian visitors arrive here to study, take in the sights or watch football. LJMU’s Journalism course is popular with Scandinavian students and here we look at the career paths and achievements of some of our graduates from the Land of the Midnight

Sun. Vegard Grott began studying at LJMU in 2009 and now works as a freelance photojournalist across Norway and Europe, photographing everything from royal families to pop stars to international football matches. After spending time working on his local newspaper in his spare time leading up to his move to the UK and spending time as a journalist in The Royal Norwegian Army for his compulsory year in the military, he completed his undergraduate

Ida Husøy with the famous photograph


degree in 2012 with first class honours. He then went on to work at Scandinavia’s biggest photo agency Scanpix, also gaining experience at the largest newspaper Aftenposten in Norway. He said: “What worked for me was to try and trust my gut feeling. Also, it’s important to try and take opportunities and make good contacts while you can. Do the best you can and listen to advice, but sometimes it’s good to think for yourself and always trust your instincts.” For 2004 graduate Ida Sem Fossvik freelancing after university eventually led to her becoming the Communications Advisor for the Norwegian Refugee Council, a role which she describes as “challenging and demanding”. Her job took her to Greece recently to work with the many new arrivals escaping from their own countries. “It was obviously a very

Vegard Grott at the Norwegian Cup final 2012 for Scanpix traumatic experience for them but they were all very grateful that they had survived and they are very hopeful that they will get a warm welcome in Europe,” she said. “Doing this job, it feels very easy for me to work with people from all different kinds of backgrounds. “Studying journalism definitely helped. I can use those skills and I get to help people. We


orway Ida Sem Fossvik helping refugees in Greece are getting people and the Government to sit up and listen.” Ida Husøy gained viral fame during her time at LJMU when a photo she had taken of the Royal Liver Building shrouded in fog spread around the world. The photo, which she took on her iPhone from her bedroom window, was shared thousands of times in just a few days and it appeared in the national media both here and in Norway.

After graduation in 2014 she was offered a job by one of Norway’s leading national newspapers VG, where she has stayed while simultaneously starting up her own media company, Mathilde Media, with a fellow journalist. She said: “Nothing beats a hard worker. You need to give everything in this industry. Be the first one at work in the morning and that last one to leave.“ Hege Tollerud worked

as a journalist in Norway after graduating in 2004 before deciding to pack up and gain a different perspective in the UK. Her experience helped her balance the workload and long hours and she went on to work as a Media and Communications Executive for VisitLiverpool. She then went on to a similar position for a regional economic developmont agency in Oslo, OsloTeknopol, before returning to the UK to complete her first masters

in Global Media and Communications and then travelling on to Shanghai, China, for a second masters in a similar field. She is now CEO of EdTech Cluster, a business network that helps educational technology start-ups and growth companies. She said: “I really enjoy working with a lot of different people, making a difference in making connections between them, within the cluster and with potential partners.”

Hege Tollerud CEO of EdTech Cluster


Life in the Gemma Sherlock: Newspaper

Gemma in the office

Gemma Sherlock always knew she wanted to be a reporter. Which is why she was so happy when she landed a job at the Lancaster Guardian and Morecambe Visitor just before graduating in 2014. So what does a typical day look like for Gemma? “First thing, I go through all my emails and I’m mostly at my desk a lot, just working through what I’ve got. People call us up, drop us an email or we see something on Facebook and contact them. “I’ll also be arranging interviews


with people to go on later in the day.” When Lancaster was hit by flooding it certainly affected Gemma’s average news day. “It was horrible; the power went off in the whole of the area. Everywhere was flooded and we almost didn’t get the paper out on the Monday! “It was bad, but good as well, because we had a lot of stuff to write about. I did a little piece about a baby who was christened by candlelight in a church during the flood.”

Chris Cunningham: Television

Chris at work in front of the camera

Having already succeeded in a career as a pro-snowboarder, Chris Cunningham set his sights on fulfilling his other dream – to become a journalist. Born in England and raised in the French Alps, Chris graduated in 2014 with a first class degree. After working in ITV’s newsroom for only 14 months, Chris secured himself a job as a sports reporter for ITV’s Channel TV in Jersey. Chris said it wasn’t easy to choose what the best thing he had done in his career so far was, but in the end said: “It doesn’t matter if it’s a super ‘newsy’ story or something that’s

bottom of the programme. Seeing something through from beginning to end is so satisfying. Giving yourself a daunting task and meeting it, well that’s a very nice feeling when you get home.” When asked what advice he had for current and future LJMU students, Chris had this to say: “You’re in the right place at the right time and if you’ve got the initiative, it’s there for the taking. You’re in a city that’s full of life and full of stories – take advantage of it! There is no reason why LJMU students can’t go on to be some of the best journalists in the world.”


ewsroom Ngunan Adamu: Radio Perseverance paid off for Ngunan Adamu, who is the host of her own BBC radio show, Upfront. As a student her work experience included a placement at the Nigerian TV Association then after several attempts she landed a job at the BBC. She said: “A typical day for me is going through my emails first of all and making a list of interview requests and possible stories and going through the papers, but as my show is a black specialist magazine programme a lot of my research is online.

“A lot of my research will come from international and national websites like BBC Africa page, Voice and Al Jazeera. “I’ll make a list of the stories I’m interested in and talk it through with my studio producer and also check if any of the other shows are covering it and what angle they are following. “Then I’ll start making the phone calls and booking in interviews.” Her advice is simple: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, be resilient, find what makes you different and be honest and true to yourself.”

Ngunan with singer Ella Eyre

Hayley Minn: Magazine Hayley Minn always knew she wanted to be a journalist and so managing to get a job as an online showbiz reporter for OK magazine was a dream come true for her. “It is like I’ve got my dream job – although the hours are not what I thought they would be in my dream job, but it’s a start!” Hayley’s first job was at a tech news website called ShinyShiny. While there, she was given the opportunity to do red carpet interviews at the Jingle Bell Ball for the Daily Star. “Obviously I said yes to the offer and that was my first paid celebrity

news experience.” At the beginning of a typical shift, Hayley checks the internet to keep up to date with celebrity goings-on such as births, deaths, marriages. Those types of stories will go out first, and throughout the day Hayley will write between eight to ten stories, as well as interviewing people over the phone. Hayley sometimes watches TV programmes at work whilst taking notes to write about them later and tweeting her reactions throughout. She also gets to mingle with the stars, carrying out interviews at red carpet events.

Hayley with Tom Fletcher from the band McFly


A day at the

©Chester Zoo


We all love to visit the zoo, but how about spending every day there? We talk to Will Condliffe about what it’s like having a zoo as his office. A zoo is a pretty unusual place to work, what’s it like being surrounded by animals all day? Being part of the media team at the zoo is certainly no ordinary role. I doubt many people in PR have views of gibbons and orangutans from their office window! Tell us a bit about your average day There really is no such thing as an average day – the job is incredibly

varied. One minute I can be breaking news of the latest Eastern black rhino birth, the next I can be out and about in the zoo co-ordinating filming with Newsround or working on a story about the zoo’s plans to conserve criticallyendangered Javan green magpies with BBC Science. No two days are ever the same. Chester Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world, how do

Will on duty with Sir David Attenborough

you manage all the media interest? There’s probably a 50/50 split between opportunities we create for ourselves and media opportunities that come to us. My journalism background helps as I know what to look for in a story and what’s going to entice journalists to cover it. Picture and news desks receive dozens of animal stories each and every day all competing for the same column inches. It’s vital a story has the best possible chance of being picked up. What would you say has been the best experience has been in your career so far?

I’m very fortunate to say I have lots to pick from. Spending a day with Sir David Attenborough, talking about places we’d both been to was a real pinch-myself moment. But it would have to be reporting and filming a zoo expedition to search for an endangered species of parrot known as the Ecuador Amazon. Spending time with people who are committed and passionate about conserving wildlife was incredibly humbling. And to be there, in amongst it, seeing for myself what the zoo is doing to protect species in the wild, was genuinely exhilarating.


‘We didn’t speak at uni, now we’re inseparable’


hannyn Quinn and Jack Maguire hardly spoke while at university but after both landing jobs at the Jersey Evening Post, the graduates have now become the best of friends. Shannyn said: “At the time, although I knew Jack was on our course, I’d never spoken to him. Then I turned up to start work and there’s Jack, I think he was a bit shocked to see me.” Jack, a Jersey native, was offered the job by the news editor in January 2014. He said: “I had been doing some work expe-

rience for the paper, for quite a while. He gave me a ring and said there was a job on offer if I wanted it. “So I said yes, they tried to get me to start in July or June but I quite cheekily asked for the summer off. “I also had some work experience at the BBC to do the World Cup as well so I did that. Then I started at the Jersey Post in August.” When Shannyn left LJMU she wasn’t sure she could become a reporter. “I always wanted to be a newspaper journalist but I think it felt like one of those jobs where you say you

always wanted to be an actress but it just never happens.” After she graduated she got a communications job in Manchester then decided to try and make her dream of becoming a newspaper journalist come true. “I was applying to everything, every single job I saw, I applied to. Then I got an interview at the Jersey Evening Post.” She got the job and moved five weeks later. Now Jack and Shannyn are good friends. They sit together in the newsroom and are even asked to take on projects together. When asked what ad-

vice they’d give to students wanting to follow in their footsteps Jack said: “Get shorthand. Get as much experience as you can. I got the job at the Jersey Post purely because I had done lots of work experience for them. You can have all the qualifications but if you haven’t proven it by working at a newspaper then you’re hard to employ.” Shannyn said: “Don’t be knocked down by the fact that you might not find a job straight away. It’s not easy at all but it’s also not impossible. Even if you have to work for free, if you show enough passion you will get a job.”


Once in a lifetime


hen you think of a once in a lifetime experience, what comes to mind? For eight Liverpool John Moores students, it was a month-long journalism and film expedition to China to visit one of the leading universities in media, Zhejiang University of Media and Communication, ZUMC. From the get-go, they were immersed in Chinese culture. Learning Mandarin, taking Chinese calligraphy classes, attempting to sing

Chinese opera, visiting ancient temples, pagodas, and UNESCO World Heritage sites. One thing that was apparent was a love of everything Western. Every day hundreds of pictures were taken of them, some with their permission, some without. Gangs and swarms of the young and old screaming “selfie” at them, and especially at the four, tall male students. Matthew Crosby said: “It is crazy how obsessed they are with the Western world. I felt like a celebrity.”

The students go live in the studio

Trying their hand at Chinese Calligraphy Like at LJMU, the facilities at ZUMC were state of the art. News studios, a 40-foot satellite broadcasting truck, television stations, and a campus radio station, Future Star, which has over 7.2 million listeners per year, all run by the students, for the ZUMC and East China. Laura Gilchrist said: “I was really surprised at how good ZUMC was. The facilities they had were of such good quality and it was a real insight into what it would be like to work professionally”

The group agreed that the most surreal part of the trip was visiting The Great Wall. The smell of fresh air in the hills above smoggy Beijing, the midday scorch of the sun, and a sea of thousands of people walking together on the ancient, concave stone steps; old, young, Eastern, Western, blended together. Their tans have now faded and the photographs have been filed away, but reminding them of their monthlong adventure is the friendship they grew.


The last word

We give our alumni the final say on being a student, life after uni and beyond.

Ellen Kelly, founder of Avant PR, 2009 graduate “I was the first in my family to go to University. I think the biggest obstacle for me was doing the groundwork before knowing what I actually wanted to do. When you go on work experience take away contacts from it, chat to people, don’t just sit in the corner. Try and write as much as you can, just get on people’s radars.”

“I went straight into PR, starting at a well-known agency in Manchester then I launched Avant PR in 2013. The feeling of excitement you get when seeing your client on the pages of the bestread magazines in the country never gets old!”

Amy Rowland, Deputy Features Editor at Bella, 2007 graduate

“I do feel truly blessed to be doing this now. When I get the magazines back from the printer I feel like a kid at Christmas, it’s so exciting every time.” Angie Brooks, Owner and Editor of Life with Pets magazine, 2011 graduate

“I relished the chance to study in Liverpool. It was a city I had never been to before and in the end it was the right decision for me. Contacts are important right from the beginning as you never know when you will need them. Pick up business cards wherever you go.”

Sam Fleet, BBC Radio presenter, 2010 graduate

“Journalism has definitely lived up to what I expected, although honestly I never expected to have so much fun whilst working! Journalism really is what you make it and if you have the passion for it you won’t mind what hours you work!”

Ollie Barstow, Editor of Crash.net, 2008 graduate

“Being friendly and approachable and being able to be amiable in a strange situation means you have the tools that make people more likely to talk to you and give you the story. I wouldn’t have got anywhere without being polite. It’s the simplest thing, but also one of the most powerful things.”

Sheen McStravick, Belfast Live reporter 2011 graduate