Why little Ed may make a big editor one day

He looked about 11 and he barely filled half the seat in front of me.

I have to admit my heart slightly sank.

Giving careers advice to year 10 pupils ain’t easy.

But the lad – whose name I have forgotten but will call Ed, because he looked like an Ed – had a surprise for me.

“Do you do any writing now apart from your schoolwork?” I asked him nervously.

“I do,” he said. “I’ve got a blog and I write about sport on it. I’ve written about my thoughts on the transfer market.”

Young Ed turned out to be a keen Swindon Town fan, and I encouraged him to try his hand at some match reports in the coming weeks, and compare those to the ones produced by the Swindon Advertiser and other media.

In the end, we had a good chat at the careers night at a Bath school last night.

I can see Ed getting into journalism.

In a few years’ time, he might be sitting down to take his NCTJ NQJ exam, as dozens of working journalists are today.

I nearly lost my voice dealing with a steady stream of youngsters ranging in age from year 10 to year 13, and did my best to enthuse and reality-check them in equal measure.

My main message was that they needed to be utterly convinced that journalism was the job for them.

And that if there was any doubt over the fire in their belly, the light in their eyes and their overwhelming desire to find, tell and sell stories, they should look elsewhere for a career.

Towards the end of the night, I had another lovely chat with a sixth form girl and her mum.

I mentioned that – as with all jobs – people needed to make the most of any family connections they have to get work experience or a foot in the door.

“Oh, we don’t have anything like that,” said the mum, shaking her head. “We do very boring jobs.”

Which was kind of nice.

I was talking to one of our company’s youngest reporters earlier this week and asked her what her friends thought of her job.

“They think it’s really cool,” she told me.

So I hope you all have a happy Friday in this non-boring, cool profession of ours.

And the very best of luck to Ed – whatever his real name is, and to everyone doing their NQJ today.


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