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It’s all about soaking up the journey. Brighton Journalist Works student, Lyndsey Cambridge, shares her voyage into the murky world of local news…

Someone once told me that it’s not arriving at your destination that is important, but the journey you have taken to get there.

I filed it under ‘ultimate cheese’ deciding that perhaps I will understand a little better ‘when I’m older’.

That day has finally come. And, I guess I am older. About ten years older in fact, (give or take five years…) than the majority of my classmates with whom I am sharing this road-to-journalist journey.

“I just want to improve my blog” I said.

“I just want to focus on writing mum stuff,” I said. Perhaps I’ll eventually have the courage to leave the confines of the Mumsnet Blogging network I have grown to be so comfortable with, I thought.

At no point in the lead up to starting my NCTJ Diploma at Brighton Journalist Works did I think I’d be saying: “I’ve got my first byline!” three weeks in. This was not on my radar. And in case you are wondering, I cried as I left the newsagent, paper in hand. We aren’t talking a delicate watery eye. Oh no. We are talking huge heaving ugly sobs of disbelief came crashing out of my eyes.

“But I’m just a mum” cruised through my head. “And this is not Mumsnet!”

Similarly, I didn’t anticipate for one moment that I’d develop an addiction to the unpredictable murky world of local news. And murky it is!

Since being on this course:

  • I have been to crown court more times than is socially acceptable to admit to. I’ve seen alleged rapists on trial. Several times. Sat and listened to heart breaking witness statements. Been addressed by a judge who uttered something about imposing a Contempt of Court thing and caused an adjournment to proceedings because the press (ah-hem, moi), was in the press box, text book and all. Smooth. Seen a man sent down for ten years. I was the only person there who wasn’t in robes and wig. That’s not quite true- the defendant was in Adidas.
  • Have a date to go with a real life journalist to the Royal Courts of Justice. Right where Gillian Taylforth had her melt down: stardom.
  • Interviewed a man at breaking point, who accused his landlord of money laundering.
  • Realised that my ‘news voice’ sounds a lot like the voice I might use for illicit calls. Hypothetically speaking. Must.Sound.More.Cross. – Invaluable advice given to me by Marcella at Heart FM, where I’ve been work experiencing.
  • Made reasonable acquaintance with the press officers at council, AND the police. “Call me Nige…” Ooookay.
  • Writing and uploading the news for Seahaven FM and being offered a regular hours slot for a news show “When you’re ready…”. Right-io.
  • About to begin work experience with the Sussex Express. I’ve just purchased trousers that aren’t denim for the first time in 7 years.

None of this was in my plan! I was aiming for ‘freelance’ and ‘glossy’, not gritty and full time.

This course has taken over my life, and I can honestly say it is the happiest, busiest and most excited I have ever been.

*Apart from having my two children, of course.

*And getting married.

*And apart from the time I almost cried in Essential Journalism a couple of weeks ago because I froze. Everyone else tapping away: me staring blankly into the Apple…

Apart from that.

To top all the grit and murk I have written about so far, I made front page news on Friday, November 11. (Sorry, the date thing is automatic now).

Actual frontage. Big BIG Byline time.

For a Mummy who has a zero amount of self belief, this is a whole lot of unimaginable.

I won’t go all oscars on you, but let’s just say I might end up doing something low key with the article.

Just a small frame…

***

So, it’s really all about soaking up the journey isn’t it. It’s about making the most of the opportunities given to you. And it’s about having lots and lots of love for the outlines:

“Read At 60 Words A Minute.”

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