Learning the Ropes at Shooting Star

Budding journalist Jo Tolley is the latest student to get some work experience at Shooting Star. In her blog post she explains how she decided to pursue a career in journalism and how Shooting Star is helping her follow her dreams.

My name is Jo, and I’m lucky enough to have been offered work experience with the Shooting Star team over the summer before I start my MA in magazine journalism at Nottingham Trent University in September.

What’s my background in the industry? I hear you ask. Well, the truth is, I don’t really have one. I have always been a nosy person who wants to know what makes people tick and then write about them. I’m enthusiastic about using my writing to give other people a platform and a voice to tell their story. You’d have thought that this passion would have led to me going into journalism straight from school.

Unfortunately however, in a moment of madness, I found myself doing a theology degree at Bishop Grosseteste University instead. After a five-year detour I graduated with the knowledge that I didn’t want to ‘do’ religion for the rest of my life, and ultimately I was no further on with my career plan.

After almost a year of floating through life, not knowing what to do, I stumbled across journalism and realised that it had been staring me in the face all along. Because I had already completed an undergraduate degree, I knew that getting into the industry at MA level was going to be a little harder – but it wouldn’t be impossible.

Always up for a challenge, I applied for the MA in magazine journalism at Nottingham Trent, in the hope that my utter lack of experience would be overlooked. To my surprise, my ability to string a sentence together on paper paid off and I was offered a place on the course. But when they asked me what experience I had, the term ‘winging it’ sprang to mind. It suddenly dawned on me that I knew nothing, theoretically or practically, about the subject I’d applied for, and in order to get onto a level playing field this had to change.

I’m now part of the way through an NCTJ foundation course to gain some basic knowledge of how the world of journalism works, and the team at Shooting Star have kindly taken me under their wing and will show me the ropes. As far as I’m concerned that’s a great start.

During my time at Shooting Star, and throughout my future career, I aim to learn my craft and be the best I can possibly be within it. I will continue to be the curious curtain-twitcher that I always have been, and I hope to tell extraordinary stories of ordinary people.

Thanks for reading my blog post, and thanks to Shooting Star for this fantastic opportunity. I’m excited to get started! JT