The Breaking into News finalist using his own experience of addiction to raise awareness

Posted 23 July 2019

After his addiction to alcohol nearly killed him, Breaking into News ITV Meridian finalist, Toby Winson shares why he’s using his report as an opportunity to highlight the dangers of alcohol and addiction.

Before Breaking into News came into my life I worked in construction, wrote for a local magazine and blogged about my recovery from alcoholism. I am now three years into my recovery after my addiction to alcohol almost killed me and robbed me of my early twenties.

An issue close to my heart

Breaking into News came along at exactly the right time for me; a time when I was ready to chase my dream career in journalism. But not only that, it has also given me the chance to gain access to an incredible platform to report on an issue that is very close to my heart.

Breaking into News came along at exactly the right time for me; a time when I was ready to chase my dream career in journalism.

Alcohol is legal and the most accessible drug out there. It also kills so many and destroys countless lives in this country. So, for my news piece, I wanted to report on the level of education that is given to school students on the dangers of alcohol and addiction.

I am not saying that better education would have stopped me going down the path I did, it might have done, or it might not. What I am saying is, if we are in a position to better prepare future generations about something as addictive and dangerous as alcohol, then shouldn’t we be doing it?

Becoming a finalist

That is a brief version of my initial pitch for the competition. I never dreamed that I would receive an email saying I was the Meridian finalist a few weeks later! Since then, I have learnt so much and gained so much priceless experience from the scheme. It has also completely cemented what I want to pursue as a career.

My mentor, Chloe Oliver, has been brilliant. Chloe has guided me through the process and helped me structure and develop my initial idea. She has also had amazing advice to share with me and, along with everyone else at Meridian, could not have been nicer and more welcoming. Sarah Saunders is another journalist I must mention swell,  as Sarah helped me film and edit my news piece. Again, she could not have been more helpful and taught me so much over the two days I spent with her.

So finally, a huge thank you to everyone at ITV and Media Trust. This has been an opportunity of a lifetime and I will never forget it.

About Breaking into News: Media Trust’s Annual Breaking into News competition and mentoring programme, run in partnership with ITV News, gives 10 aspiring journalists from across the UK the chance to create their own news report with the support of their very own ITV regional news team.

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