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Life of a lobby reporter: the challenges of being young and a woman

Noa Hoffman speaking at Leeds Trinity University’s Journalism and Media Week

Being a young woman reporting in Westminster still brings its own unique challenges, says Noa Hoffman, a political reporter at The Sun.

Speaking about a woman’s experience in the lobby at Westminster, Hoffman said: “They have to deal with things like people assuming just because you’re a woman, because you’re young, you’re just incompetent or maybe just a bit stupid”.

Hoffman told students at Leeds Trinity University it is usually the politicians or those within the wider Westminster eco system who behave like this.

Whilst she hoped this would be something that improved, she said unfortunately, it is something women put up with every day and this is “frustrating and sad”.

This year Hoffman had been responsible for exposing the allegations of sexual harassment against former Conservative MP Chris Pincher.

Hoffman described her involvement in the scandal and the subsequent resignation of Boris Johnson as a surreal experience that shows “the huge impact that journalists and journalism has on politics and the country as a whole”.

Yet whilst proud of her achievements, she also discussed the pressures which accompany the persistent need to keep up with her colleagues and the 24-hour news cycle.

“Trying to get the best tips and the biggest stories out there and do it frequently and be constant and consistent, that is difficult and it takes a lot of work and it doesn’t always happen as well…

“That constant need to get ahead is a lot of pressure and it is very stressful.”

Hoffman also discussed the challenges which occur outside of Westminster, within the world of social media, describing it as “a bit of a nightmare”.

She spoke of the trolls who bombard her if she makes a mistake or has an opinion that they don’t like.

She said whilst it is obviously not fun, unlike at the start of her career she does not let the trolls get to her but simply blocks them instead.

Despite the challenges Hoffman remained passionate about her work as she said: “It’s a real privilege to be a part of it, it’s a big responsibility because we have to work really hard to get great stories to report to the world and hold politicians to account, but it’s a lot of fun.”

As a recent Leeds Trinity graduate, this was amongst the numerous pieces of advice Hoffman was able to provide for the students at Journalism and Media Week, which continues throughout the week.

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