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Isabelle Barker


United Kingdom
A great part of the course is that you have to complete three weeks of work experience in your second year. This may seem daunting but my work placements have taught me so much and have massively contributed to me landing my graduate job!

More about Isabelle

Isabelle graduated from NTU in 2019 and was then awarded the Vikki Orvice sports reporting scholarship at The Sun newspaper.

What made you choose to study at NTU?  

"I fell in love with the university when I visited on the open day. The city campus is really modern and Nottingham is such a busy, vibrant place which is great for students. I have always wanted to be a sports reporter and after looking around the Centre for Broadcasting and Journalism, NTU became a clear first choice as the teachers were really welcoming and the facilities amazing!"

What were the key features that attracted you to your course? 

"The news room on the city campus is really modern and has great, specialist facilities, including radio suites and a TV studio. It’s a proper, busy, working news room and makes you feel so professional. Also, the course is NCTJ accredited which is incredibly important when applying for jobs after university. The course teaches you a diverse range of skills like shorthand, filming video and media law which are vital to shaping you into the best possible journalist."

What did you enjoy most about your course?

"The course is so diverse and you learn new things every day. One lesson you will be recording a podcast with your friends and the next you’ll be visiting Crown Court to report on a high profile court case. The tutors make the course so realistic to the working world and provide loads of great opportunities to experience the working life of a journalist. For instance, one day the tutors arranged for a police officer to come in and practise a police press conference with us which was so exciting."

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?

"The staff share so much valuable knowledge from their time in industry which is what makes the course so great. You are being taught by real life journalists who will teach you everything you need to know to shape you into the best possible journalist. The staff will always there to support you, particularly during the stresses of third year!

What did you like about studying and living in Nottingham?

"Nottingham is hands down the best city in the UK to be a student. It’s such a vibrant city with a buzzing atmosphere. There is so much to do in the day time as well as a great night life with loads of different bars and clubs! Moving from my home town Brighton to Nottingham was great as the city is so affordable and really easy to get around making it ideal for students."

What work placements did you complete during your degree and can you tell me a little bit about them – where you went and what you did?

"A great part of the course is that you have to complete three weeks of work experience in your second year. This may seem daunting but my work placements have taught me so much and have massively contributed to me landing my graduate job! For two weeks I worked at the Sussex Express (my local paper). I was writing articles for online and print as part of a team in a busy news room environment. I made sure I was reliable, professional and always had a smile on my face and the placement went so well that I was asked to come back one day a week during summer. Placements are a great opportunity to build contacts in the industry and during my time at the Sussex Express I got to know the sports editor. I’ve always been interested in sports journalism and through building that contact I was able to help out at big events, like the Nature Valley Tennis Tournament where I interviewed Jo Konta and Andy Murray! If I hadn’t gotten out my comfort zone and made the most of my work placements, I wouldn’t be where I am now."

What was the process for getting your graduate job? How does it feel to have achieved this?  

"The Sun advertised a vacancy for a sports reporting scholarship which I applied for following a handful of rejections from other papers. I sent my CV, cover letter and an example of my work. I made sure my CV was neat, professional and concise, my cover letter expressed my passion for the role and the newspaper, and I used a piece of work I was really proud of. I was interviewed by the sports editor of The Sun and the sports editor of The Times which was terrifying but such a valuable experience. I gave the interview my all, asked lots of questions and expressed my personality because I knew six other excellent applicants were being interviewed after me! I am so proud to have received the scholarship. In my first week I featured on Talk Sport to chat about the scholarship and I’m still pinching myself now when I see my name in the byline."

What advice would you give to students thinking of studying at CBJ?

"I know starting at university can be really scary, meeting new friends, leaving home and living in a new city. But embrace each day, it may be intimidating at first but studying at NTU will be the best three years of your life and I could not recommend the course enough. CBJ will shape you into the best possible journalist and the tutors will gear you up for life in the working world. Make the most of the amazing teachers and facilities the course offers and have a positive mind set about each day!"

Start you journalism career with NTU

We’ll turn your passion and talent into something that audiences can connect with. Whether you want to work in radio, TV, newsrooms, factual programming, events or PR, we’ll help you take your ability to a professional level.

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