The Graduate Diaries: Callum Hodgson

Name: Callum Hodgson

Subject Studied: Journalism

University: Sunderland

Year Graduated: 2016
What is your current role?

Reporter

What does that mean exactly?

The role of reporter at my newspaper is quite varied. During the week, my main focus is on finding and writing news stories for our two weekly newspapers and on weekends the focus turns to sport That means going to football matches, interviewing the managers and writing reports for the paper and online. The job also involves attending events such as local council meetings after work to find original stories and to generally find out what people are talking about in the town.

How long did it take you to get a job ie Years/Months/Weeks from Graduating?

 I was very fortunate to have secured the job before I graduated. It did come as a bit of a shock because jobs in any field are hard to get. I am, however, grateful they decided to take a risk and pick me!

When you applied for the job, what was the application/interview process like? Again I was very lucky. It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere. More like a chat, which obviously helps. My interview took place on a Friday morning and I was offered the job on the following Wednesday, after other candidates were interviewed.
How long have you been working in your new job?

More than a year now, which is hard to believe. Thirteen months to be exact.
Did you think this is what you would be doing after you graduated?  It’s what I hoped I would be doing if I’m honest. When I was at University I wasn’t sure if I would get a job as you hear stories about it being so competitive.

What have you learnt about yourself since working in your new role?

I don’t like missing things! It’s important to try and get as many local stories as you can, but there’s nothing worse if your paper hasn’t got a decent story that your competitors have. It’s great if you manage to get a story ahead of everyone else, but I suppose it’s all just part and parcel of the game.

Have you used your skills or learnt new ones during your time at your new job?

 I think a good skill to have in terms of journalism is shorthand. It does come in handy. Even a little is better than none at all as it still speeds you up.

Have there been any challenges/surprises?

The biggest challenges are doing stories on subjects that you might not know too much about. In a small newsroom you sort of have to make yourself an expert in ten minutes as people expect you to know.
And last of all, what advice can you give for Graduates who are looking for a job in their chosen industry?:

Just go for it. Do as much work as you can and keep examples of it. I probably wouldn’t try to limit yourself to just one area of journalism when you’re starting off. Try a bit of everything and you’ll find out what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at. If you’ve got an interview make sure you prepare. Take and interest in the paper/website and I always think it’s a good idea to jot down a couple of story ideas.

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