On Wednesday 24 July, 29-year old Toby Winson, a builder from Kent, was announced as the winner of Media Trust's Breaking into News competition run in partnership with ITV News.
The competition gives 10 budding journalists from across the UK the chance to be mentored by an ITV News journalist to create their own news report. We spoke to Toby to find out how it feels to be crowned our 2019 winner.
What you were doing before you entered Breaking into News?
Before the competition started, I was and still am a builder and blogger. I blog about my recovery from alcoholism- I am three years sober.
Why did you decide to enter the competition?
I started writing a blog seven months ago. I started the blog two years after my recovery as before then I wasn’t mentally prepared for it. It takes a couple of years for your emotions to sink again after years of alcohol abuse.
The blog had a big response, I was in the local papers and it was helping people, which is what I wanted it to do. When my mum read my blog she realised I had a knack for writing. She saw the competition on TV and encouraged me to apply, so I did, and here I am.
I was a bit speechless when they said i'd won because someone pointed out to me that my dad was crying at the back of the room, which ultimately set me off a bit.
How does it feel to be crowned the winner of this year’s competition?
Absolutely unreal! I was a bit speechless when they said i’d won because someone pointed out to me that my dad was crying at the back of the room, which ultimately set me off a bit. I saw everyone’s reports and they were insanely good. I don’t know how they picked me but I can’t thank Media Trust and ITV enough. If you are thinking about applying, 100% do it!
What has been the highlight of the scheme for you?
Probably seeing the 200 hundred words I had written down as my idea for a news report turn into a proper TV worthy news story which was aired. The response it had was just unbelievable.
If you had to summarise your experience, how would you describe it?
Eye opening, extremely rewarding and challenging. Entering was the best thing I’ve ever done.
Why is important for a working-class man like yourself to have a voice in the media?
Who is to say that working class men don’t deserve has much of a say than every other class?
How often do you see and hear people that sound like yourself on national news shows?
What is next for you?
I’m going to do everything I can to make this my full-time job as this is what I want to do now. I’m getting great advice from my mentor, Chloe Oliver (a journalist at ITV Meridian) and everyone else at Meridian. I’d maybe like to do a training scheme or internship! I’m going to explore every avenue and do whatever it takes.
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