More about Abigail
Why did you decide to do postgraduate study?
“In the last year of my Media and Popular Culture degree I knew that I didn’t want my studies to come to an end and I was so unsure of what I wanted to do until I started my political communications module in third year. I became so immersed into what was happening in politics, culture and society that I realised writing about such topics was my goal.”
What made you choose NTU?
“I chose NTU for my BA back in 2015 and when applying for my MA, it didn’t even cross my mind to look at other universities. The facilities are excellent with more access to software than you would ever need, and the lecturers and teaching is nothing short of outstanding. If I choose to complete a PHD, there would also be no doubt that I would complete it at NTU.”
What do you enjoy most about your course at NTU?
“On my course there are only a small group of us, making it a very close-knit and personal group. This so essential with regards to fulfilling your potential but also, it means our course leader always has time for us. What I enjoy the most is having the freedom to work on stories that are of specific interest to me, and so there are minimal guidelines to follow giving you a lot of space to be creative. Additionally, contrary to popular opinion, I love doing shorthand. There is something so satisfying about knowing you were able to write something because of the time and stress put into learning it, and I think that it looks so good on paper and is such an essential skill. Even if you don’t end up using it after graduation, it really sets you out from others in terms of discipline – but sending coded notes to your mum is also fun.”
What do you think about the course staff – include lecturers, tutors, administrators and technical staff within this. How do they support your learning and University experience?
“I have only good things to say about our course staff. My course leader Jonny is fantastic through offering industry class knowledge to giving more personal advice. Having studied the course himself really conveys his love for journalism but also his want to make others love it as much as him. Our media law lecturer Mandy is second to none – I was quite worried about the law side of things before starting, but she articulates in a way that makes it incredibly interesting – ensuring you as a student can implement such knowledge within journalism. The only way to describe the tech staff is as a ‘blessing’, they are all friendly, helpful and highly intelligent and experienced people – who have not yet failed to provide me an answer to my silly tech questions. But what all our course staff have in common is that they will never not help you, and you can ask absolutely anything without judgment.”
What do you think about the facilities available to you?
“The journalism facilities are great, you will never fail to find a computer somewhere in CBJ or a calm and quiet place to get on with a story. The library is also literally across the road, which adds to the convenience if you need to grab a book in your lunch break. But really the place you want to be is in the newsroom – where the stories happen. There is always a computer, a lot of them with dual-screens so you can have several things going on at once – and the tech guys are less than 10 metres away which helps when you’re pulling your hair out over a failed file export.”
Why would you recommend your course / NTU to someone looking to study in that area?
“I’d recommend this course because it really is like nothing else. You gain the experience of being a journalist whilst learning simultaneously, which means you are going to be of far more importance to an employer than someone who has minimal practical skills and experience. The timetable is set out in such a way that sets you up for the real world, meaning you’re going to be clued up and in tune to the intense media environment that journalism is before applying for your first job. I would say also not to be put off by the intensity of the course but to let it push you to excel your capabilities.”
How do you think the course, and having a postgraduate qualification, will help you to progress your career?
“The MA gives you everything you need to become the best. Having an MA in my eyes is a way of showing your capabilities, skills and also discipline to potential employers who are looking for someone who genuinely stands out – and I think attaining one does just that. It was also pivotal for me to study an MA to learn shorthand, because the majority of news organisations will not even consider hiring you if you don’t have your 100 words per minute.”
Have you completed any work placements and if so can you tell me a little bit about them – where you went, what you did, and any skills you’ve gained that will help you when you graduate?
“At CBJ we have a very close relationship with the Nottingham Post and Nottinghamshire Live and the opportunity to go there for work experience is open all year. There’s a high chance you will get a few of your stories out with them. Going to the post kind of gives you a sense of the transition from student journalist to journalist in terms of the responsibility they give you – which is only ever going to benefit you in the future.”