Alumni interview: Hannah Scarbrough12 July 2014
“Take the time to explore different options and don’t obsess too much about picking making the ‘right choice’”
Hannah is a graduate of the MA in Journalism Studies here at Cardiff University, and she now works in the Centre for Community Journalism.
Hi Hannah, you’re a fellow JOMEC graduate! Why did you choose to study at this renowned institution?
I left university in 2009, with a BA in English Literature and a desire to work in Communications, but I was unsure which path to take next. I started working in Marketing for a software company in Cardiff Bay, but quickly realised I needed to learn more about the ways in which Journalism and PR/Marketing intersect, to broaden my knowledge of the industry. The Journalism Studies MA course offered by JOMEC (now Journalism, Media and Communications) seemed like a perfect place to start. Also, I was aware of the reputation of the School and had spoken to friends who had studied there – needless to say they all had wonderful things to say about their time at JOMEC and that swung it for me.
What exactly do you do now?
I am Communications and Administrative Officer for the Centre for Community Journalism, one of the Vice-Chancellor’s Engagement Projects, based in JOMEC.
Can you describe your experience from a postgraduate perspective?
I felt really well supported by the academics who taught on my course, and I loved the facilities – especially the Postgraduate Centre which became my second home! I also valued the chance to get to know other postgraduate students from around the world and I was lucky to develop a close group of friends, many of whom I still keep in touch with now.
What did you most enjoy about your time in Cardiff?
I most enjoyed the subject area – learning about everything from media law to political spin was incredibly absorbing. The experience gave me a holistic view of PR, Marketing and Journalism, and inspired a lifelong interest in the evolution of news.
Do you remember facing any particular challenges?
I think even when you have been out of higher education for a year, as I had been, there is a bit of ‘rustiness’ when returning to formal study. Referencing, essay structure – all of these recede into the distance when you’ve thrown your mortarboard in the air! But I’m happy to say they do return quite quickly. I also worked part-time in Marketing alongside my MA, so I had to be quite disciplined in terms of my time, but I found the combination of study and practical application ultimately really rewarding.
On the flip side, what made great memories?
Definitely Gregynog, a 3-day residential trip in which you decide on your thesis proposal. The opportunity to discuss ideas in an informal and encouraging setting was fundamental to the success of my thesis. It also allows you to get to know your course mates much better, which was so important as we supported each other throughout the year. It also takes place in beautiful Mid-Wales so the scenery was stunning!
Has anything noticeably changed within the university?
Bute Building has had a real facelift, which is great, if slightly disorientating at first! It’s fantastic to see all the new campus buildings sprouting up – my favourite is the very colourful Hadyn Ellis building – it gives a very tangible sense of the direction of Cardiff University. It feels wonderful to be back, especially back in JOMEC amongst many of the staff members who taught and supported me.
What advice would you give to graduates who are leaving Cardiff this July?
Take the time to explore different options and don’t obsess too much about picking making the ‘right choice’ – you never know which opportunities may arise from an unusual or less obvious career path.
And what about those looking for a career in journalism and its surrounding fields?
If you are interested in PR / Marketing / Communications I would definitely recommend postgraduate study at JOMEC (of course!), but also get yourself a Twitter list or RSS feed of industry contacts or organisations to keep abreast of the latest developments, tools and tips.