Careers in Journalism and Television

Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent for the Independent (graduated 1989)

I can't say that studying history and politics played a specific role in helping me to become a journalist. But it did encourage students to read deeply, and eclectically. I remember getting out books from the library on everything from the eroticism of Crusader-era literature to architecture of 19th-century churches. A crucial thing for any journalist is to be willing to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy, to challenge power. There were some staff within the department who were keen to encourage that; others less so. If I have one regret, it was that I probably stuck too much to some of the topics I knew something about: never be afraid to try something new.

Holly Ross, TV Researcher, ITV Border (graduated 2002)

Following my graduation, I trained as a journalist at my local newspaper, the Lancaster Guardian. During my traineeship, the research and writing skills I learnt while studying at Lancaster proved invaluable to the job, as I tracked down a good story and tried to write engaging copy. Sticking to deadlines is an absolute must in journalism and again, my time in the history department prepared me for producing work to set deadlines. However, I had my heart set on working in television and today I work as a researcher at ITV Border. I use the skills I learnt in the history department loads. In fact, we make quite a lot of historical documentaries, so my background in history has really stood me in good stead. I loved my time in Lancaster University's History Department and the skills I acquired during my study there, I feel, have been instrumental in securing the career that I work in today.

Liz Stanford, Production Secretary, Lion Television (graduated 2002)

I am now working as a Production Secretary/Coordinator on a daytime TV property show for Lion Television. I gained many useful skills whilst studying history at Lancaster and these help me now in my everyday work. I love my job as I work in a busy production office but as my work involves coordinating filming for up to around five teams each work and managing paperwork I'm very glad I learned how to manage my workload and work independently to meet deadlines whilst at Lancaster! TV is a very hard industry to break into but my history degree certainly helped me get my first break. My first job involved working on a range of history docudramas and the company involved told me they had specifically chosen me because of my history skills! The skills I gained will continue to help me progress through my career as I am now looking to move on and find work in TV research, so all of my research skills will come into use once again! History is a brilliant degree to do because it offers such a range of skills that are beneficial in so many areas of employment.

Nick Mulvenney, Chief Sports Correspondent, Asia, for Reuters (graduated 1988)

I have fond memories of my time studying history at Lancaster. Paths into journalism are many and varied but I am never surprised when I discover that my colleagues are also graduates in history. The skills of balancing sources and presenting a coherently argued piece of writing naturally lend themselves to reporting. Agency journalists don't have the same high profile as our bylined counterparts in newspapers but working for an international news organisation like Reuters does have its compensations. Last year, for example, I concluded a five-year assignment in Beijing before moving to my current post in Sydney. I also reported from the football World Cup in South Africa, the Commonwealth Games in India and on England's triumph in the Ashes. It is remarkable how nuggets of what I learned at university stay with me. I recall preparing to interview a Chinese official who had suffered in the Cultural Revolution and being transported back 20 years to a Ruth Henig seminar at Lancaster.