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Turning your passion into a profession – “Don’t be a d***head”, “be bold” and “don’t give up”

By Will Ford

“Don’t be a d***head”, “be bold” and “don’t give up” – the sentiments of three journalists who turned their passion into their profession.

Tom Farmery, Katie Ridley and Monika Parnarauskaite spoke at Journalism and Media Week on how they turned their respective loves of football, crime and motorsports into a career.

Tom Farmery, a sports reporter at the Daily Mail, started as a general news reporter, before reverting to his true passion for football.

He believes that his unconventional route into football writing has benefitted him in the long run.

With a background in investigative journalism, he believes the skills he built up through his degrees have put him in an advantageous position.

He said: “I can now tailor what I learned [forensic accounting and data analysis] to suit what I need for my role in football.

“You have to be bold and confident to get what you want, and I was.”

Leeds Trinity alumna Katie Ridley originally worked for a news agency, providing stories for big national newspapers, before becoming a reporter for the Hunts Post, a local newspaper in Cambridge.

She spoke of the importance of sticking to your guns and not settling for any old job in the industry.

She said: “I was desperate to become a journalist, so I applied for everything.”

She worked initially for a news agency, covering a broad range of news stories.

She said: “I was basically stalking people, so I didn’t enjoy it.

“I remember¬†I had to go and doorknock a terrorist and at that point made the decision to leave.

“I didn’t want to be a d***head.

“I now work for a local paper focusing on crime, which I love.”

Monika Parnarauskaite, another Leeds Trinity graduate, decided very early on to follow her passion for motorsport.

She said: “After school, I thought what can I do to work in motocross?

“If I can get a job in something I love, then that’s what I want to do.

“So I actually applied to do journalism [at Brighton and then Leeds Trinity] as a way into the sport.”

All three spoke of the importance of their passion in driving them to reach the goals in their career, but also echoed the opinions of many of the speakers this week, that keeping your options open is often the best way in.


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