Alumni: (From left to right) Charlie Wainwright, Lauren Smith-Jones and Ben Ramsdale with host Mike Best.
By George Arkley
Young journalists have the chance to gain a wealth of experience in smaller production companies rather than on national training schemes, a recent graduate has said.
Charlie Wainwright, a Leeds Trinity University (LTU) journalism graduate, returned to her roots to tell current students about her flourishing career in television production.
She was on a panel at the university’s annual Journalism and Media Week, where she was joined by fellow alumni Lauren Smith-Jones and current final year sports journalism student Ben Ramsdale.
The panel praised the opportunities provided by smaller companies for offering quicker progression and more skills.
Charlie said she had worked a variety of areas while employed as a junior researcher by Leeds-based production company Air TV.
She said the company filmed daily with the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Charity to produce hard hitting documentaries.
She said with only 20 people on their team, Air TV provided a range of opportunities and roles to every employee.
Charlie said: “I get asked to do new things outside of my main role every day.
“I always take the opportunity so that I can get noticed within the company as a person who will go the extra mile.”
She added: “You can quickly progress to a respected and valued member of the team.
“There is so much to learn and always new skills to take on board.”
She said since leaving university she has gained many experiences to credit on her CV, adding: “By working in a smaller industry, I have already been credited on multiple shows.
“It’s so rewarding to see that my effort to work in all these different areas of the company has paid off.”
Lauren Smith-Jones, production secretary at Wise Owls Films, agreed journalists could establish an individual identity in a smaller company and build contacts far more easily.
She added: “There is not as much pressure in a smaller industry to be perfect and avoid mistakes.
“When I made my first mistake, I thought it was the end of the world. My boss said it was fine.”
The speakers agreed transitioning from a trainee to professional journalist is daunting for many young people.
Ben Ramsdale, who works as a broadcast assistant at BBC Derby, said: “Just remember to talk to people and ask them for opportunities.
“That’s how I got my job.”
Ben works within a smaller team at BBC Derby and values the personal relationships he forms through it.
However, he said he hoped one day he could work in a national capacity adding: “At the BBC, you feel like you’re a part of a bigger whole.
“You are part of the team.”