What’s it like balancing your A-Levels with reporting for ITV News?

Posted 24 July 2019

That’s exactly what Hannah Bridgeman, our ITV Granada Breaking into News finalist, has been doing over the past six weeks. Hannah shares her experience of the competition.

Before entering and during the Breaking into News competition, I was sitting my A-levels at college, in fact my first exam was just three days after the immersion day in Leeds! The competition couldn’t have come at a better (or worse) time for me. On one hand it has been a distraction from studying for my exams as I’ve wanted to perfect my news piece, however it’s also refocused my aspirations and made me want to do even better in my exams as now I know a career in journalism is for me.

I applied to Breaking into News because I was at a crossroads of a tough decision about my future, unsure if I wanted to go to university in September. I thought the competition would help me decide if the career I will need to work so hard to progress into, was truly what I wanted. I was extremely lucky that I discovered the competition when I did, as it was literally the day before the deadline.

I was absolutely ecstatic, and the buzzing feeling has remained throughout the whole process! 

Focus on crime rates

On my application, the idea I decided to focus on was the high levels crime in my home town of Preston. I wanted to take a deeper look into why the crime rates were so high and why reoffending rates were rising. The subject came of interest to me as recent events led to three individuals who I went to school with being incarcerated for various crimes. I struggled to understand how people I used to be in the same classes with, could fall into such a different lifestyle and make such different choices to me. I wanted to look into the reasons people turn to criminality.

Although I was hugely passionate about the subject matter, I really doubted I would progress any further. When I received the email to say my application had won overall for the ITV Granada region, I was absolutely ecstatic, and the buzzing feeling has remained throughout the whole process!

A snapshot of my future

Meeting all the inspiring and talented people at ITV at Media City still feels so surreal and I feel so lucky to have been given the opportunity.  It was a snapshot as to what my future could look like if I put the hard work in now. Media Trust has given me the chance to experience life as a journalist prior to my upcoming degree and I am so glad I bit the bullet and applied. Although juggling research with my revision was hardly stress free, seeing the whole thing come together has given me a huge feeling of self-satisfaction and pride. I finally feel like I’m ready to go on to university and study my hardest to make sure I get into the industry I have enjoyed working within so much.

Hannah at the ITV studios on a monitor infant of green screen

At ITV Studios

My ITV News Mentor

I have never had the chance to meet anyone like my mentor, ITV News Journalist, Sarah Rogers and she has taught me a lot in such a minimal amount of time. The way she directed me to create a start, middle and end with my report was just the beginning. As with many things – I had a lot I wanted to talk about, but not very much time to do so. Sarah was a huge help with condensing my ideas into one storyline. I gained confidence talking to people in senior positions over the phone and email, something I used to really hate doing. Throughout creating my report, one of the struggles I faced was disregarding my own opinions during interview, as remaining unbiased is essential, however Sarah helped me to overcome this and it really shows in the final piece.

I hope to carry the skills I have learnt through the Breaking into News programme into my degree and one day progress into the industry I have enjoyed being a part of over the past six weeks.

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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