Former SJR Student Shares Her Experience of Working in the Media
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By William Watts and Amy Lovelady (Future Journalists Elective Programme students)

From SJR to the bright lights of The X Factor, former student Francesca Eagleton dropped back into college to spill the beans about life behind the scenes of some of TV’s most iconic programmes.

She spent the day talking to A level Media Studies students about university life and what brilliant grounding SJR gave her for a career in journalism and the media.

Now a Broadcast Journalism degree student at the University of Salford, Francesca is taught by industry professionals who encouraged her to initially work for free to get a start in the business. Francesca worked on The X Factor greeting contestants and was Will.i.am’s runner on The Voice. She has gained many contacts through putting her name out there, and as a result of this, she now gets plenty of paid work opportunities in TV production.

“I basically just got stuck in,” she said, “doing unpaid work on the X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent.”

Because of this, Francesca gained BBC credits and was asked to work stage side with Graham Norton and others on an upcoming show starring Gary Barlow called Let it Shine. She now has gained plenty of experience behind the camera and feels this puts her ahead of others coming out of university into the highly competitive world of media careers.

“Also,” Francesca said, “with Salford uni being very near to Media City, it’s a perfect location for students to make contacts.”

She added, “I didn’t think college would come in handy for uni, but it did, especially my Media and English courses.”

At university she studies Broadcast Journalism, and claimed it is “completely different” to her college experience, even though SJR helped her a great deal.

She said: “You’re definitely more on your own at uni, whereas at college, the teachers gave a lot more individual help to everyone.”

Francesca admitted she is undecided what part of journalism to specialise in, but said she does enjoy working in TV.