“Journalists are entrepreneurs”: Ed Walker from Reach gives graduates advice on how to enter the workplace

  • Dan Pye 

Reach PLC is in the process of hiring for 500 jobs, in an industry that is often seen as a “closed-shop”.

Ed Walker, audience and content director for regional news in Reach, said: “The organisation is second only to the BBC in terms of boots on the ground journalists. It’s a competitive jobs market for the employers rather than the employees.”

Reach PLC is the largest national and regional news publisher in the UK.

“We have found a regional digital business model that is successful. This has allowed Reach to take on more workers than five years ago.”

Glyn Middleton from Screen Yorkshire (centre) with Katherine Blair of Leeds Trinity University. Daniel Levitt appears on-screen (right) and Ed Walker (centre).

Mr Walker said that Reach promotes talented graduates to positions of managerial power: “Our editor of Norfolk Live and Suffolk Live is only 23, it’s not one of those places where you come to work, you look upwards, and it’s a whole load of 50 odd-year-old men.”

Reach owns regional news publications such as The Manchester Evening News. Even though the website is focused on issues related to Manchester, the website is the 11th biggest news website in the UK according to the Press Gazette.  

However, despite the new opportunities that have opened within Reach, Mr Walker said graduates still needed to make themselves stand out at interview.

“I’m receiving hundreds of applications for each job…my record for one day was fifteen separate interviews.”

Mr Walker suggested that student journalists should view themselves as entrepreneurs. He said that students should create a portfolio outside of their degree that shows their commitment to doing the work, and tailor it to the specific needs of the organisation they are applying for.

“Just doing a journalism degree probably won’t get you across the line.”

Mr. Walker spoke as part of a panel interview at Leeds Trinity University giving advice to future journalists about how to make themselves stand out within the field.

“I’m receiving hundreds of applications for each job…my record for one day was fifteen separate interviews.”

Ed Walker

Reach rebranded from Trinity Mirror Group in 2018 after actor Hugh Grant sued the company over phone hacking. Reach’s biggest national newspapers include The Daily Express and The Daily Mirror. These papers have the fourth and sixth largest online publications in the UK respectively.

Since March 2020 Reach’s stock has increased by 2,176 points in the FTSE 100, and has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels.

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