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Editors give tips on how to land dream job

Editors gave their tips on how to land the dream job as would-be journalists took part in the NCTJ’s first in-person student council since the Covid pandemic.

Around 40 journalism students, elected by their peers at colleges around the country, came together at the Financial Times offices in London for the all-day event on Friday.

As part of the day, the students had the chance to quiz working journalists on a panel chaired by Rukasana Bhaijee, global head of diversity, equity and inclusion at the FT.

The panel also included Newsquest football editor Paddy Davitt, National World publishing editor Mark Waldron, BBC journalism trainee Jay Gardner and Luke Jacobs, homepages/digital editor at The Guardian.

Mark Waldron (foreground) answers a question at the NCTJ student council. Picture: Dave Bird

Asked how students can land their dream job after achieving their NCTJ qualification, Jay advised the audience to “say yes to everything”, while Paddy added: “The opportunities are limitless now.”

On the question of whether local knowledge is an employment advantage, Mark said: “It does add a lot – but it’s not the be all and end all so don’t feel like you have to work in the area you grew up in.

“But if you have someone who knows the area, they grew up there, they know what makes the area tick, it definitely helps.”

And asked about building trust in audiences, Luke said transparency around how journalists get information is important, as well as accuracy.

Luke added: “Be accurate. It sounds obvious, but you make one mistake and that can ruin what you have done before.

“People look to you as a journalist to give them pure, accurate information.”

Earlier NCTJ chief executive Joanne Forbes opened the event by inviting the students to air their views on journalism training.

Said Joanne: “We need to hear your views. The diploma is exacting, it’s challenging, but we don’t pretend everything is perfect.”

The Student Council is an annual event but Friday’s was the first to be held in-person since the Covid pandemic.

Added Joanne: “Nothing compares to meeting together, chatting, and that’s the really important thing coming into journalism – it’s networking, talking to people and forming relationships.”