Chief Reporter, Bauer Group (Yorkshire)
During Journalism Week in November 2015 Leeds Trinity welcomed back Laura Pennington one of our many successful Broadcast Journalism graduates. Laura is currently Bauer's Chief Reporter for Yorkshire with Hallam FM. Her role involves overseeing the reporters at its sister stations Radio Aire and Viking FM.
Fresh from winning a National IRN Journalism Award for her Prostitution Uncovered Radio Documentary for Hallam FM Laura enthusiastically shared her career journey with the audience.
Why did you choose to attend Leeds Trinity?
Although I had experience of working with Sky News, CBBC, Calendar and Look North I realised I needed more experience to progress in the field so I decided to re-enter higher education. I needed to make sure I had all the necessary skills and experience to get the "best job in the world".
The post graduate Broadcast Journalism course at Leeds Trinity was recommended to me by many people.
How has your career developed since graduating and what have been your highlights to date?
I had worked at High Peak Radio for eighteen months. I was News Editor during the last six months when I got noticed by Hallam FM. Because I was in the right place at the right time I was able to grasp the opportunity I was offered, this was a really good move for me as I am originally from Sheffield. I have worked at Hallam FM since 2012, I am currently the Chief Reporter for Yorkshire.
My biggest achievement to date was winning an IRN National Journalism Award for the radio documentary Prostitution Uncovered, a ten minute mini radio documentary based in Doncaster. I became aware of the rise in the level of sex workers in the area and knew I had to follow this up with a story. This was a hard subject, especially for a commercial radio station with a family audience so it was aired late on a Sunday evening. To capture the full picture and to interview as many people as possible, not just sex workers but members of the public who were also affected by the rise, I went out many times late at night to experience what was going on first hand.
What career advice would you give to current students?
To get your foot in the door sometimes you have to do a lot of free work first.
If you get the feeling for a strong story make sure you go for it. When I realised the potential of putting together the documentary in Doncaster I acted fast before someone else could get in ahead of me!
My advice to current students on getting in to radio broadcasting would be:
- Believe in yourself – it's a very competitive industry
- Know your strengths and convince your editor about them
- Know how to effectively sell yourself and volunteer to work in the first instance
- Go the extra mile all the time, do as many work placements as possible
- All the advice centres around getting your face and work known