From Mentee to Mentor: ITV News Wales Journalist Paul Davies

Posted 21 September 2018

Twenty-seven-year-old ITV News Wales Journalist Paul Davies’ career is thriving. He has his dream job and recently scooped an ITV News newcomer award. But Paul’s route into journalism hasn’t been conventional. Unlike many of his colleagues in the industry, Paul didn’t study journalism. What makes Paul even more unique is when he isn’t in the newsroom working to deadline or covering breaking news stories, Paul is a carer.

Here he shares how applying for our Breaking into News programme run in partnership with ITV News helped him to take his first steps into this notoriously competitive industry and why he has now become a mentor on the very programme that opened the door to him.

When I applied for Breaking into News I had no idea how far it would take me. I was an unemployed, unqualified young carer with aspirations of being a journalist but lacking the means to make it a reality.

My responsibilities at home meant I couldn’t go back to university and, at the time, I couldn’t be out of the house long enough for work experience.

But Breaking into News came around and I decided to do my report on carers because it’s what I knew. I’d been a carer since I was 18 – I remain one to this day – and I knew there was a story there that only I could tell.

Breaking into News, a training programme and competition to find aspiring broadcast journalists, gave me the guidance, resources and platform to turn my rough, unformed idea into a fully-fledged TV news item.

Paul's 2015 Breaking into News report on carers.

It was an opportunity I never expected to have but ultimately my greatest take away from scheme was the realisation of what I had to offer. My life experience is unique, which means I bring something to the newsroom that no one else can. I learnt that what made me different also made me valuable.

My life experience is unique, which means I bring something to the newsroom that no one else can.

So when ITV Wales advertised a trainee journalist job I was able to walk into the interview confident in the knowledge that I had something to offer.

They still took a risk in offering me the job – they’d never hired someone from the scheme before- but I like to think it’s one that paid off.

Paul stands on stage with 3 other award winners holding their awards

Paul at the ITV News Awards in June having picked up a newcomer award.

Becoming a mentor

Two and half years later I was able to go full circle with Breaking into News and go from finalist to mentor.  I jumped at this because I wanted to make sure somebody else was given the opportunity I had.

From start to finish working with Ollie, my mentee, was a fantastic experience. He was eager to learn, enthusiastic and full of creative ideas. It made my job easy.

Together we worked around his visual impairment and he proved that it would be no barrier to a him having a career in broadcasting.

Diversity in the newsroom

People like Ollie bring something fresh and exciting to the industry. They bring with them new stories and engage with people others can’t.

A newsroom is strengthened by diversity. When people with different life experiences come together and collaborate the product is infinitely stronger.

As journalists we are privileged to get to do what we do. We all know the weight of responsibility it brings. But perhaps one that has been overlooked is the responsibility to reflect the people we serve, both in the journalism we produce and in the makeup of the workplace.

Read more blogs ...