Employers and Universities: Work with us?

60 Second Interview: Journalism Student

In our first student 60 sec interview we catch up with Katie Palmer (@katieeepalmer) studying at the University of Kent. Here's what she had to say:


What course are you studying: BA Journalism and the News Industry with NCTJ diploma

What did you study at school/college: At college I studied Communication and Culture, English Language and Literature, and Sociology

Why did you choose this course: I have always had a passion for writing, and the level of professionalism coming from my lecturers proves that they feel the same. I have total confidence in them and trust their judgement. They have fascinating backgrounds in the journalism industry and have all been such an inspiration. I value their advice and encouragement and feel in safe hands.

Why did you choose this uni?

The NCTJ diploma is a vital qualification in the world of journalism, and so I wanted to attend a university that ran the diploma alongside the course. This is a rare thing, as usually one would have to take a year after graduating to complete the diploma, so it is a privilege to be able to come out of university with two qualifications.

What are the facilities like?

Our library, the Drill Hall, is the longest in Europe (by an inch), which suggests it should have everything I would need and more. We have access to laptops, iPads, DVDs, books from a number of campuses including Canterbury and Greenwich – everything I could need. In terms of activities, I have recently joined Let’s Play – a club that allows me to use the Medway Park gym for free on Wednesdays and attend other sports classes for just £1 each time. It’s a fantastic way for me to stay in shape at university and have fun at the same time.

What's the student experience like?

Medway is a quiet town in terms of nightlife for students – we have to make our own fun, but we have no problem with that. Our favourite club in Rochester, The Casino Rooms, is a hotspot for students and we definitely make the most of it on a Thursday night. I have lived in student accommodation, Liberty Quays, for the full three years at university and have grown comfortable living in large groups. I have made the best friends there, and we have had some great experiences together. I wouldn’t change those times for the world.

Best thing about studying at your uni?

Feeling prepared for the working world. Throughout all three years at the University of Kent my lecturers have helped me find work experience, with a mandatory two-week placement at the Kent Messenger in the first year. Since then they have opened up various doors for me, including helping me to find a placement within the BBC.

Have you done any work-experience?

I have worked as a reporter for a number of local publications including the Kent Messenger, Brentwood Gazette and Thurrock Gazette. I have also been a writer for various online news organisations, music and fashion websites.

What are your future career plans?

I hope to go into either feature writing or broadcast journalism. I have a passion for feature writing, so working my way up to become a features editor for a magazine or newspaper would be a dream. Similarly, I have a passion for making documentaries and have recently finished making an observational documentary for my final project. I would love to work for a production company or for Channel 4, and eventually become a Commissioning Editor or Executive Producer making documentaries.

Any tips for students thinking about going to uni?

Grab every opportunity and never look back. I was terrified about moving away to Kent from my home in Essex, but it was the best decision I have ever made. I have grown up so much from the experience and I wouldn’t change a thing. Also, show your passion and dedication from the outset – if you struggle under entry exam conditions but prove in your interview that you have a true passion for the industry, it may be the key that gets you onto the course. Every lecturer admires a student who shows a genuine love for what they are studying, so believe in yourself, enjoy yourself and make the most of the opportunity and you will achieve your dream.

For more information about journalism as a career, check out our Publishing and Media Career Zone.