Daily Telegraph Digital News Producer and Brighton Journalist Works alumni, Gareth Davies, takes a trip down memory lane to where his love for journalism flourished…
It’s five years since I graduated from Brighton Journalist Works.
Last week I started my new job on the newsdesk at the Daily Telegraph.
It’s an unbelievable place to work and the responsibility of editing, commissioning and writing for such an iconic publication is a genuine privilege.
Unlike many other nationals, there is no divide between the paper and online – it’s all one team.
So my title of Digital News Producer is a bit false.
Day-to-day, I look after breaking news for the paper and the website – like Donald Trump, Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron effectively declaring war on Syria.
Not a bad first week.
We’ll have an idea of what to expect in terms of big court cases and summits which our reporters will have built beforehand.
But what I live for as a journalist are those news stories that spring from nowhere.
It’s then my responsibility to piece the story together with reporters, correspondents and – ever more – social media.
Some might turn their noses up at a story which started on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.
They’re entitled to their opinions, but it’s an ignorant point of view.
It’s the way people communicate in 2018.
A hack who spent nights on end down the pub in the 80s and 90s talking to the good, bad and ugly for a tale carries a mystique and commands respect.
But today’s journalists do that without leaving their computer screens.
People are finding love on Tinder, not down the dance halls.
People sell their leftovers on eBay, not at car boot sales.
People sort their finances online, not down the bank.
And, likewise, people share their news on social media – the very place the President of the United States will choose to announce World War Three if the time comes.
Of course, a Facebook post or a Tweet is only a start.
What I’m learning daily is how to turn these droplets into the ocean that is a Telegraph story.
Sending reporters or correspondents to the scene, filling in the gaps with context, videos and pictures, some analysis by our experts.
By the time we’re done with a story – it’s unrivalled and I can sit back with the paper or the website and be proud of what’s been produced.
I can’t say that about every story I wrote at MailOnline as US/Foreign Reporter – the job I was at for 18 months until the start of April.
It’s never been cooler to hate The Mail’s brand, but the people on the inside are the most talented, most committed and just the best people I’ve ever worked with.
My exclusives on the Westminster, Manchester and Borough Market terror attacks as well as the Grenfell Tower tragedy are examples of what MailOnline does really well and stories I’m proud of.
In spite of its critics, it is the greatest and most all-encompassing news machine in the world and it was a pleasure to work there.
Before my time with the nationals I was at The Argus in Brighton – first as a part-time junior, then full-time reporter, then Senior Reporter, then Education Correspondent.
I returned there recently as assistant news editor and they still churn out some amazing journalism in a local news industry obsessed with cuts and outsourcing.
The reason all of it has been possible is BJW.
I got my job offer from The Argus before I’d even completed my fast-track Newspaper Journalism course.
The team organised work experience for me and at the end of my week I was offered my first role in journalism.
It was down to the expert teaching and the commitment of the staff at BJW.
I arrived for my first day on the course in a full-arm cast having shattered both bones in my forearm playing rugby.
I was in it for most of the course, but the team ensured I was equipped to reach my potential.
They organised extra time for me to complete my exams – which proved quite a challenge at first typing with just one hand – and could not do enough for me.
The tutorship at BJW is simply stunning.
Those who taught me everything there is to know about journalism are true masters of their trade and I’d recommend them to anyone.
And anyone doubting whether they’ve got what it takes – you might surprise yourself.
Coming from a Welsh-speaking home and attending a Welsh-speaking school, I didn’t speak English until I was eight.
So chances are you’re already one step ahead.