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Out of 2,000 applicants, Brighton Journalist Works graduate, Nikki Morrison, is now working as a Documentary Researcher…

April 2017, I was drowning in the typical symptoms of a quarter-life crisis. Knowing I could write but not knowing how to make a career of it.

A friend suggested the NCTJ diploma in journalism. I was already writing content for art publications and had a novel under my belt (which will be published next year) so it made sense to streamline my skills, in hope of having a career at the end of it.

Well, I owe my friend pretty much everything because the NCTJ has changed my life forever. I can confidently say I am a qualified journo with shorthand at 100wpm, media law and all the bits in between.

Within a few months of starting the course, I was getting published regularly in local press. Learning and understanding the IPSO code, defamation defences, legal court reporting and Teeline’s special outlines and common words.

In January 2018 and with help from Caroline North, Director of Brighton Journalist Works, I landed an internship with Brighton Fringe assisting their press office. An invaluable experience which taught me how to confidently deal with people within a professional climate.

Media law has helped me understand the world better. Shorthand is one of my greatest asset’s. Public affairs has made me value council tax rather than complain about the bill and BJW is where I made friends for life.

By April 2018, I found a job opening for the Channel 4 Production Training Scheme. I applied with everything I knew how, wishing but not expecting a call back.

Astonishingly, I was invited to an assessment day with 200 others, out of 2000 applicants. Five months, and several interviews later I was awarded a place with 15 others across the UK.

I’m now contracted with an independent production company as a documentary researcher and will have my first credit on national TV from early next year.

I’ve met executive producer in Channel 4’s documentaries department, Rita Daniels. The production manager and cast of Channel 4’s ‘The Circle’ and series producer of BBC’s ‘Coast’, Steve Evanson.

As I write, I’m preparing to meet Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4 – and the first female CEO of a major UK broadcaster.

Next year, I will produce and direct my own documentary short which will be premiered at C4’s in-house cinema for an audience of industry professionals.

The NCTJ was vital to me being chosen for this scheme. Journalism skills are essential to working in documentaries, from looking after contributors to using shorthand notes during research calls.

I’m looking forward to my career ahead with eyes firmly on the prize. I’ve never been so determined and confident in my life and it was the NCTJ which helped me get here.

Top tip:

Start pushing your shorthand speed as soon as possible, writing lyrics to songs works best, and do it everyday. But if you miss a day, that’s okay too. The NCTJ is hard going and you’re allowed to have some flops along the way.

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