For the writers!
When I first embarked on my degree I wanted to study History. People always think History is a drag – a study of ancient times that are nothing like the present day. To some extent that’s true, it is a study of the past. However, what people get so wrong, is that History has no connection to the present. Everything that happens today – in terms of tensions between countries and people, or the lack of – is dictated by what happened before.
This is why I love History! I get a deeper understanding of the present. I appreciate the freedom of the present because of History, and more importantly, I use History to give me ideas. You see times change, but in reality people don’t.
So anyway fast-forward to my first day at University. I was one of those students that did absolutely no research into the course I wanted to study or the University. In actual fact, I picked my University because it was far enough for me to move out and close enough for me to come home every weekend. Silly, I know! Thankfully, my University turned out to be not so bad – admittedly it could have been worse like the Universities where lectures don’t turn up.
I was a fresher, excited as hell and on my way to the introduction lectures. My first introduction lecture was packed, History fell under Humanities at my University and so all of the Humanities students had their introduction together. We were in this massive lecture theatre like the ones you see in American movies. I found a seat in the crowded room and the introduction began.
The Head of Humanities began speaking, she stated that my University’s Humanities department worked differently in the first year of University. I was told that I couldn’t study one subject. Basically I couldn’t do History alone in my first year. They wanted us to try different subjects, by force. Annoyed is an understatement, but who could I blame? Had I researched my University, I would have known this.
Lectures from various subjects like Journalism, English Language Teaching and Creative Writing all proceeded to give mini introduction talks into their subjects. I listened intensely. Some of the talks were interesting, others not so much. After the two hours had finished I was faced with the daunting task of picking subjects I’d never considered based on a 15-minute introduction and a module handbook.
I went back to my room in halls and dwelled on what to chose. I’ll be honest, I picked based on what sounded the best from the talks and the module guide. I picked History of course along with English Language Teaching and Journalism.
English Language Teaching was interesting, and piss easy. You basically learned things like the phonetic alphabet and considered arguments like are people born with the ability to learn languages or are some people just better at it. Sadly, I wasn’t challenged in this subject and I dropped it after my first year.
Journalism on the other hand, Journalism was great! I also wasn’t that good at it to begin with – it challenged me and I accepted the challenge. My second year of Journalism was the best year ever! I had this weirdo lecturer, who had been a journalist since like forever and he was bloody amazing. I began to understand Journalism, he was brutally honest, but that’s what I needed. I picked up on the different writing styles and I bought this grammar and punctuation book. I understood how to use things like colons, dashes and bracket commas. The game had changed: I was beating Journalism.
Before studying Journalism, I always thought of journalists as the people who write content for newspapers and magazines. I never appreciated the writing skills you get from Journalism and how employers crave these skills.
Think of any role where you need writing, the skills from studying Journalism will take you there. Think about it, with Journalism you learn how to use punctuation correctly; how to write objectively; how to research using the opinion of the general public; and how to write so the Professor English Language is amazed by your use of the English language whilst simultaneously making sure the average Joe understands your writing. If you don’t think this is a skill or if you think this is easy, think again!
The typical routes of a Journalist include: Advertising copywriter, Digital copywriter, Information officer, Market researcher, Multimedia specialist, Public relations officer and Writer. However, don’t let these limit or fool you, every business needs to write and produce documents to some effects and Journalism provides you with the tools you need.
A route that I have take using Journalism is YouTube. TV Journalism is a branch of Journalism and it is exactly what is says on the tin: you investigate stories and produce them using a video format. I coupled this with my skills as a Historian to produce #HistoryBeyondSchool. Here I showcase History as a short digestible way that engages the viewer – especially the viewers that don’t care about History.
If you’re ever considering studying Journalism, I want you to know that the choices are endless. You just need to get creative in your approach. A good writer is always in demand!