Jessica Hunt - College of Arts, Humanities and Education - University of Derby

Jessica Hunt, Journalism, 2014

What are you doing now?

After finishing my course in the summer of 2013 I was lucky to start working as a freelance journalist for the BBC. This opportunity came about whilst I was in my last year of studying. All journalism students were given the chance to go on a visit to BBC Radio Derby, and to do so we had to submit a three-minute recording explaining why we deserved to go. I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen. Whilst I believed it was a simple day out, we were all given tasks to complete and were individually taken into a room for a chat with the News Editor. None of us were prepared, but about a week later I received an email offering me a casual contract with the BBC. If there was one lesson I learnt from this, it’s to grab every opportunity you’re given.

After working for just over a year as a freelancer doing many different roles (reporter, broadcast assistant, producer) a position as a weekend broadcast assistant finally came up and I got the job. As a broadcast assistant I set up show content and work alongside a presenter on air. After just a short time I took the next step in my career and got a job as a broadcast assistant on the Sally Pepper mid-morning show. It’s busy, fast paced, sometimes stressful but I absolutely love it.

What were the main reasons you took that course?

I’d been interested in journalism for a few years, had a big interest in current affairs and really wanted to go in to a job I knew I’d enjoy. I’d also looked at doing Law, but as the Journalism degree also included Media Law - for me it was a win-win.

Why did you choose to study the course at the University of Derby?  

I went to an Open Day and found the course offered the chance to learn about TV, radio, online and print journalism. This broad focus was really appealing to me.

What impact has studying this course at Derby had on your career?

Without having a degree in Journalism from Derby I believe I would have found it very tricky to get where I am today. It taught me so many skills that I use every day and gave me the confidence to be successful. The University of Derby always made me feel like I could achieve anything I wanted.

How did the lecturers inspire you?

The lecturers were incredible. Each and every one had the student’s best interest at heart and took whatever time was needed to make sure we could achieve to the best of our abilities. I was able to learn from their vast amount of industry experience and also learn about the new world of online journalism.

How do you feel the University has helped you in your career so far?

Whilst on the course I was introduced to many different ways of volunteering which in turn meant building my portfolio. I created podcasts for an online forum, I read the news for a community radio station, and most importantly of all I was able to visit BBC Radio Derby. Without the University having connections with the local media and allowing me to go on that visit I wouldn’t have the job I have today.

What are your future plans?

My current role means I work alongside the producer whilst setting up the show and on air, but in the future I would like to become a radio producer for the BBC.  I’m hoping to achieve this within the next year.

What would you say to anyone thinking of coming to study this course at the University of Derby?

I’d strongly recommend studying at the University of Derby as everyone is so friendly, down to earth and helpful. Journalism is a great course that will take you out on the streets and into the field. The course also offers you great opportunities to build your portfolio by offering lots of practical work. For someone like me who isn’t very good in exams this course was perfect. 

Who are you still in touch with from University of Derby?

I keep in touch with friends I met on the course and still hear from my lecturers and sometimes see them in the journalism world! 

"The lecturers were incredible. Each and every one had the student’s best interest at heart and took whatever time was needed to make sure we could achieve to the best of our abilities." Jessica Hunt