Alex Rhodes was one of our class of 2014 Broadcast Journalism graduates. We recently got in touch with Alex to see how he was getting on, why he got more than a degree at Leeds Trinity and what his advice would be to recent Journalism graduates.
One of the hardest parts of working in the media is getting the opportunity to do so! So if you get offered work experience or a couple of shifts then grab it with both hands. Make every chance count, it could just amount to a few shifts or a week shadowing someone and then nothing else, but you never know.
Why do you feel you got more than a degree by studying at Leeds Trinity?I got much more than just a lot of theory and a new piece of paper to stick on my wall. All the tutoring was very much hands on, whether it was learning how to use the right equipment and software or the basics of writing a news story for online or for broadcast. Trinity has industry standard cameras and editing programmes so when you do find yourself in a real life newsroom you can hit the ground running right from the start.
Perhaps the most important part is the work experience. Thanks to the tutors contacts in the business our class got to work in places like Radio Leeds, Metro Radio, Look North, ITV Calendar, Five Live, Radio Four, Radio One the list goes on! As well as some of the ones I've just listed I spent three weeks at ITN, the organisation responsible for ITV national news and Channel Four news (among others). Whilst I was there I got to do all sorts of things including personally interviewing the FA Chairman, Greg Dyke following the release of the Garcia report. Work experience really lets you see what working in the media is all about and some of the contacts you make there may very well be invaluable when it comes to getting a job later on.
What made you choose to attend Leeds Trinity and what are your best/funniest memories from your time here?When I saw the description of the course and the emphasis on practical skills and work experience I knew that it was the right one for me. You also get trained up on media law which is essential, if you don't know your stuff you can end up on the wrong side of a libel lawsuit!
My best memory is probably going to Catterick Garrison with my course mates. The army asked us to come along to simulate the media during a large exercise they were doing with the reserves. We had to spend the night there and get up very early to take our position. It was stupidly fun and somewhat surreal, I absentmindedly ate a field ration only to learn it was about 5000 calories. It brought us all closer together.
What have you done since graduation and what is your current job?Since I graduated I did a bit of freelance work for BBC Radio Leeds... before one of my tutors told me that BBC Radio Lincolnshire needed someone to do some cover shifts. After a few weeks they decided to keep me on for three months, then they extended it to six months and now they've told me I'm going to be kept on until next March! I work as a Broadcast Journalist, I go out on stories, I do lives and I also read the news. I was lucky enough to cover a count at the General Election which was a great experience. Every day is something new, the hours can be long but enjoying your job is one of those things that not a lot of people can say.
What advice would you give to this year's graduates about to embark on their careers?Always be the person who says yes. One of the hardest parts of working in the media is getting the opportunity to do so! So if you get offered work experience or a couple of shifts then grab it with both hands. Make every chance count, it could just amount to a few shifts or a week shadowing someone and then nothing else, but you never know. Radio and TV are very small worlds and a good word or a recommendation can go really far. Stay in touch with people you meet whilst on work experience, don't constantly pester them but don't be afraid to remind them you're still out there and looking for something. People move around a lot so new people are always needed to fill spots.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?In five years I'd like to be working at a national level. I really enjoy working in radio but would love the chance to use some of the TV skills I learnt at Trinity again as well. Ultimately, who knows! I'm just going to keep my eyes and ears open and see where it takes me but I know wherever I end up it'll be because of the skills I learned at Leeds Trinity.