(By Emily Blanchard, Anna Croft and Kai Platt – Future Journalists Elective students)
Former SJR student Francesca Eagleton visited Future Journalist students to talk about her experiences on the Broadcast Journalism course at Salford University.
Currently in her third year at Salford, Francesca has already crossed paths with the likes of Olly Murs, Jess Glynne and The Kaiser Chiefs, and is scheduled to interview singer Katy Perry within the next few weeks. During her time on the course, Francesca has worked behind the scenes on The X Factor, The Voice, Britain’s Got Talent and The One Show to name just a few! Apparently, she says, “Everyone thinks of Simon Cowell as the big baddie on TV, but now he’s one of my favourite people! He always makes time for everyone, and has a chat”. Francesca also gets invited to attend occasions like charity parties or sporting events, and even live gigs, all for free! While she doesn’t get paid, she explained, “The experience is invaluable, and they are really fun. I used to pay to see Katie Perry, and now I get asked to come for free.”
Francesca told the students that she owes her success to the experience gained from her university course: “In my first year at university, I was encouraged to try all types of journalism to see which suited me and this really helped me realise what sort of journalist I wanted to be. I found out that I really enjoy TV, radio and entertainment based journalism, but stuff like politics isn’t for me!”
She stressed that interest was everything and that showing a desire to work in the industry was as important as getting the grades.
“It’s all about what makes you stand out. I was lucky enough to get the grades I needed at St John Rigby, but what I found they valued just as much was my work experience in PR and contributing to the college newspaper.”
Francesca praised the University for its great location in the heart of Media City which helped her branch out into professional work with the BBC and ITV.
“The studios we have access to are of such a high standard, it made my decision to go there really easy,” she recalled, “and also having lecturers who still work within journalism makes the course really up-to-date for us, so we know exactly what we need to do to be successful.”
The Future Journalists were eager to find out Francesca’s top tips for a great application to university.
“Stand out!” she exclaimed, “Any extracurricular work you can do to get your name out there will be beneficial for university and beyond. Things like blogs, work experience and writing your own stories will build up your CV. Any experience is better than none, so take every opportunity given to you!”
When asked what can the journalism students take away that will help them succeed, Francesca stressed “Don’t take things personally - journalism is ruthless! Just find what you enjoy and you’re bound to do well.”