We’re training the journalists of the future...

Highbury College students, from left, Elley Brand, Elora Burrell, Tim Birkbeck, Megan Thomas, Jo Symes, Will Rimell, Sam Poole and Craig Tilley at The News offices at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142950-328)
Highbury College students, from left, Elley Brand, Elora Burrell, Tim Birkbeck, Megan Thomas, Jo Symes, Will Rimell, Sam Poole and Craig Tilley at The News offices at 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour. Picture: Allan Hutchings (142950-328)
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For a second year, The News and Highbury College have joined forces to offer young people a unique way into journalism. Community editor Paul Foster, who runs the classroom, explains all about it

Meet the class of 2014. These eight young people are the second batch of aspiring journalists aiming to make it in the industry.

And what better way to do so than learning on the south’s biggest daily newspaper.

For the second year, The News has joined forces with Highbury College to offer a one-year diploma course in journalism.

We are the only newspaper in the land to have a classroom based in its newsroom, with the aim of training the reporters of the future.

It’s a pioneering project. Alongside their studies, these eight students from the Cosham college are learning the ropes on a fast-paced regional daily newspaper.

Each of them has been given a patch to cover across our four editions – Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport, and Havant and Waterlooville.

The students contribute towards our community pages, which are filled with news and comment from your neighbourhood.

Since it began last September, the course has been named as the ‘best community initiative’ in the annual awards night held by our parent company Johnston Press.

And it has been shortlisted in the best student publication category at the National Council for Training of Journalists Awards for Excellence.

Mark Waldron, editor of The News, said: ‘This is a truly ground-breaking scheme.

‘To get a year’s experience on a busy regional daily newspaper is invaluable for these students.

‘It will give them a head start when the time comes to start looking for a job in the industry.

‘And, of course, The News will be getting even more stories from your communities.’

Here, the students give a brief description of who they are, and what they want to achieve from spending a year training at The News.

Elora Burrell

I am 19 years old. I’m originally from Epsom in Surrey, but moved to West Sussex at the age of 17 with my family after living in Spain for several years.

I love to read and write and have a huge passion for creative writing and music.

I have always written stories throughout primary and secondary school as well as college. With a flair for writing, journalism seemed like an obvious career path for me to follow, though before choosing to study journalism I studied music performance for two years.

One of my favourite parts of the course is learning shorthand as it’s almost like learning a new language and I think it’s a great skill to have.

My ultimate goal is to become a travel journalist and a successful author as I am very keen on sharing my creativity with the world.

Craig Tilley

I came on to this course having studied creative media production at Highbury College for three years.

I recently looked back at my English teachers’ comments on my school reports, and they made me realise that I could be really good at creative writing and to pursue a career in journalism.

Becoming a broadcast journalist is my goal as I’ve always watched the news on TV. This would allow me to incorporate both my writing and video editing skills that I’ve developed over the past few years.

I am on this course to build up my portfolio and to develop my skills even further to make me an employable journalist in the future.

Outside of this course I have a background in gymnastics and dance, and I would love to travel the world and experience places I’ve never seen before.

Elley Brand

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, whether it was journalism, playwriting, or becoming a novelist – I just love telling stories, and with this course, it gives me one of the best chances to pursue my dream.

Previously, I studied creative media at Highbury College, where I first heard about the course and what it could offer. Keeping up with current affairs is an essential thing for me, so to be able to report to the public through the pages of The News is an amazing opportunity I thought I’d never get.

Everything about the course has had me in awe, from working with industry professionals in the classroom, to having my stories in the newspaper - it really is the course for me.

After the course I hope to travel around the world as a freelance journalist, but the biggest dream is to end up in a screenwriting career. I believe the world needs to hear our stories.

Will Rimell

I am 20 years old, originally from Essex and for the last five years I have been living in Romsey.

Sport has always been a passion of mine and something that I always wanted to get into. However, as I was not good enough to take up a sport as a career I thought writing about it instead would be the answer. Gaining experience with Hampshire Cricket Club as a part-time match reporter really hooked me into the world of writing, and I haven’t looked back.

Now, I am a voluntary press officer for one of the biggest and oldest club cricket teams in the county, St Cross Symondians, which is a fantastic job and a privilege to do.

It is an amazing course to be a part of as you spend most of your week in the newsroom and it has made me look forward to Monday mornings – which is a strange thing to enjoy.

Jo Symes

From a young age I have always been a very inquisitive person and regularly took an interest in what was going on around me. Due to my colourful personality I was told I would be great on TV.

I went on to work for my local community radio station for seven months but I knew I wanted to take broadcasting to another level, that’s when I was recommended to get an NCTJ qualification.

During this course I would love to learn how to write in shorthand to a gold standard, be an expert at broadcasting for TV and radio and have a reasonable understanding of public affairs and media law. I hope at the end of this course to be able to apply for TV and radio broadcasting jobs and ultimately become an entertainment presenter.

Tim Birkbeck

I am from Fareham, with a passion for sport and music. I am a Pompey fan and used to be a season ticket holder. I am also a very active member of the local music scene, putting on gigs in Southsea.

I studied journalism at Roehampton University and carried out a work placement at The News, giving me the lightbulb moment that this is the career I wanted to pursue.

For the last year-and-a-half I have been working closely with the sports desk here at The News on their Saturday paper The Sports Mail covering the local non-league football scene.

Since starting the NCTJ course it has opened my eyes to all different outlets of news. I am hoping this will shape me into a more well-rounded journalist. At the end of the course I am hoping the skills I have learnt will enable me to step into any newsroom and be a vital asset.

Sam Poole

Training to be a journalist in the city where I grew up is great. To build my foundation as a reporter in the area is exhilarating. To me, journalism is one of the most exciting of careers.

Not only is every day different, you meet interesting people from across the area.

I have been a weekly columnist at this paper for more than two years, after being offered the chance to give youngsters a broader voice.

I achieved three A-levels this summer at South Downs College in English language, media studies and communication and culture. Then an opportunity at BBC Radio 4 arose, however, I wasn’t successful in the final interview process up in London. Coincidently, the week I was unsuccessful there, I was offered a position on this course.

I love anything outdoors, from cycling to hiking, chilling with family and friends, cooking, live music and volunteering for the community.

Megan Thomas

I am an 18-year-old who lives in Whiteley. I studied print-based journalism at Southampton City College 2012-2014, where I achieved a distinction.

I want to be a journalist because I love to write. Even from a young age, it was clear that English was my strongest subject at school and also my favourite.

At first, I wanted to go to university, but when I was told about the Highbury course it made a lot more sense to come here. University would have been a great experience, but unlike this course, it doesn’t offer as much work experience and it would have left me in a lot of debt.

I can gain knowledge and experience in the newsroom and I can build up my bylines whilst learning how to write shorthand and all the theory behind journalism. I would love to be a news reporter on the TV one day.