The buzz of the byline – it never goes away! Writes our head of journalism Andrew Greaves.
I think every journalist remembers the first time they saw their name in print next to a story they’d written. I certainly do.
It was during a stint on work experience at the Accrington Observer as a 15-year-old and it concerned a music shop – Mary’s Music – which was closing after serving music lovers for decades.
It was a shop I knew quite well having taken the bus to Accy (as we call it) from Burnley on a semi-regular basis to get my hands on special editions of REM singles (don’t judge!).
I spotted the fact it was closing on my lunch break and remember how impressed the editor was that this uber-keen teen had bothered to keep his eyes open for a story.
In the end it made a decent-sized piece on page three and made me even more determined to become a journalist.
Fast-forward a couple of years and that long-held dream had turned into a reality and bylines came thick and fast.
The thing that attracted me to journalism – after abruptly abandoning my dream of playing for Burnley as an 11-year-old – was the fact that no two days ever seemed the same.
And it’s fair to say that my first year on the Burnley Express, which started just a couple of days after my 17th birthday, was a baptism of fire.
The first time the editor saw fit to print my byline in my local paper was for a story about a girl who’d won a cookery competition at her school.
Within that first 12 months, I’d covered the aftermath of the Burnley race riots (I was on holiday in Tenerife at the time of the actual disturbances), helped put together a special edition on local people affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and covered my first council election count in which three members of the British National Party were elected.
In and among all those ‘blockbuster’ stories were dozens of others that perhaps I couldn’t instantly recall but all of which had my name next to them and, for years, were kept in volumes of scrapbooks meticulously put together by my proud gran.
Twenty one years after that first byline in the Accrington Observer and the scrapbooks may have been confined to the recycling bin some time ago but the buzz of the byline still remains.
I don’t think you ever lose the joy of being able to show off to the world the fruits of your labour or maybe that’s just me…
On our NCTJ-accredited BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism degree all trainees are given an iPad on their first day and up to £1,000 each summer of their degree for work experience or a journalism project to ensure they build up an unrivalled portfolio ready to walk into a job as soon as they graduate.
Harry spent his journalism bursary covering Cannes and Venice film festivals: https://schoolofjournalism.co.uk/blog/new-releases-red-carpets-and-reviews-how-i-spent-my-summer-bursary-covering-cannes-and-venice-film-festivals/
Jake spent his bursary covering the Copa America in Brazil: https://schoolofjournalism.co.uk/blog/flights-football-and-favelas-how-i-spent-my-summer-bursary-covering-the-copa-america-in-brazil/
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