My journey into journalism, via Media Trust

Posted 20 February 2019

After completing Media Trust’s Creativity Works Multimedia Genius Training programme, 25-year-old Londoner, Stephanie Harris was offered a place at the UK’s leading NCTJ journalism school courtesy of Yahoo! News. She tells us how she got there.

This time last year I was making myself mentally and physically sick in a job that was unfulfilling, monotonous and uncreative. I was waking up on Monday dreaming of Friday and going to sleep on Sunday dreading my 6:45am alarm clock.

I had picked it as out of the 10 interviews I had done, this was the first place to say yes to me. From the minute I stepped into that office building I knew that it wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I needed to earn money and my parents were so happy that I finally got myself a job.

It is a common theme in Asian households that your social standing is judged by your education and income

It is a common theme in Asian households that your social standing is judged by your education and income, and my mother being Japanese, fell squarely into that mould.

Eventually though, everything took too much of a toll on me and so at the end of January last year I handed in my resignation.

However, now I was in a conundrum. I had rid myself of the leech that was sucking my life and energy away, but at the same time I was jobless, penniless and aimless.

My turning point

This all changed when about two months later I happened across a completely innocuous Facebook post about Media Trust’s Creativity Works programme. Seeing that it was an advertisement I almost scrolled past it, but as I brought my thumb closer to the screen, something made me pause. Perhaps it was the promise of a beginning to your media career or the promise of free lunches, but uncharacteristically I clicked on it, filled out the form and sent it off.

It turned out to be one of the best things that I decided to do on a whim.

 

Perhaps it was the promise of a beginning to your media career or the promise of free lunches

Media Trust was undoubtedly a pivotal turning point for me. Each week was jam-packed with masterclasses dealing with different sectors of the media industry. We learnt about photography, film-making, journalism, PR and marketing and much more.

Mentoring

Alongside the masterclasses, we had lessons in finance, employability, CV writing, everything to guarantee that we were fully prepared. And not only that, but they ensured that we’d be well looked after in the outside world by pairing us with a mentor who gave us invaluable wisdom with the knowledge they had already gained from their experience.

What really stood out to me was how determined all the staff were to see us succeed. Every one of our accomplishments were met with cheers and genuine joy.

The only criticism I have of Creativity Works Multimedia Genius Training is that I felt it was too damn short!

I am now the first person to be sponsored by Yahoo! to do an NCTJ qualification.

I can understand why there are not many East Asians in the industry. I too could feel the worry from my mum, the concerns she had about whether or not this would be a viable career option for me. But as she saw the life return to my eyes and begin to look forward to each new day, her fears quietened and she even began to show interest in what I was learning.

I am now the first person to be sponsored by Yahoo! to do an NCTJ qualification, a training course in journalism, and on the condition I pass all of my exams (fingers crossed) I will receive a six-month contract with them.

Ultimately, taking that sales job was both the best and worst thing that could have happened to me; the worst because I was killing myself purely for the sake of earning money. The best because I learnt what happens when you aren’t true to yourself and I have vowed never to put myself in that position again.

Creativity Works: Multimedia Genius Training, supported by Mayor’s Fund for London, Berkeley Foundation and Citi Foundation, is a free, intensive 10-week crash-course of high-impact media masterclasses and employment skills training for media-focused young Londoners who are not in employment, education or training.

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