I had sorted out an internship, this summer after being awarded an internship bursary from my university, with the journalists and editors Clare Sambrook and Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi. Rebecca and Clare’s work is reporting, in depth, on gross social injustices that most mainstream media outlets do not have the time or resources to cover.
Under these two brilliant editors, I’d have a chance to work alongside Rebecca reporting on an inquest in London, for the first half. Then doing research, writing and editing with Clare in Cumbria for the latter half.
I was so excited.
They were the catalyst for my ‘journalism bug’, prior to being accepted onto this internship I had absolutely no interest in journalism. No way would I voluntarily lead this life of destitution. But I really got the journalism bug, when I arrived at university and decided to engage with my student newspaper, The Falmouth Anchor.
After being elected News Editor and recently Co-Editor-in-Chief, my eyes have been opened to this whole new world and I’ve fallen in love. The pressure of news cycles and breaking a story, was too invigorating of a feeling to ignore. Hence why I’ve now resigned myself to the fact that, I would voluntarily lead this life of destitution.
But where to stay in London? It is so ridiculously expensive and I had no friends or family in London that I could stay with. Commuting from my home in Birmingham was out of the question, given the fact that I would already spend most my day travelling. Whilst we were all working out trying to work out my accommodation problem, something amazing happened.
The pressure of news cycles and breaking a story, was too invigorating of a feeling to ignore.
PressPad had seemingly went on a follow spree and started following me on Twitter, I edit my student newspaper, so I figured that’s how they found out about me. After I checked out PressPad, I was astounded, it was truly a godsend.
I applied as soon as possible and hearing back from PressPad to say I had been accepted was a fabulous feeling. Awash with gratitude and an overwhelming feeling of relief, everything was fitting into place quite nicely.
What PressPad had done was remove the obstacles I routinely faced when partaking in such opportunities. A simple but profound solution- for those who do not have access to a great disposable income- was free accommodation. With the added bonus of exceptional and transformative mentoring.
My host-mentors Kate Middleton and Meirion Jones could not have been kinder. They are extremely talented and seasoned journalists. Kate having been stellar producer on Dispatches and This World and Meiron now Investigations Editor at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Simply chatting with them over dinner was an education.
However, to be perfectly candid, throughout this experience there has also been this gnawing and persistent feeling of guilt. A sort of masochistic guilt, that I did not struggle enough for this opportunity.
The people behind PressPad, my university and Rebecca and Clare had all together made my internship process seamless. Usually, I would go without, food or any other expense that could be expendable. But this time round, for me, the experience was breezy which did not sit well with me, for some reason. And for me that speaks volumes. I was so accustomed for any experience being such a pain to undertake, that it took me aback that there were so many people offering their help.
Actually, early on in my PressPad process, I was so overwhelmed with all this kindness that I could not help but cry. I could not fathom why there was so much support available and what had I done to deserve it. Kate and Meirion, my hosts, were unrelenting with their kindness, constantly offering their sage advice and were endlessly patient with my daily torrent of questions.
I was so accustomed for any experience being such a pain to undertake, that it took me aback that there were so many people offering their help.
So here I am, returning to my ‘PressPad’, wading through the streets of London on the classic double decker bus, reflecting on what an experience this had been and how utterly grateful I am to PressPad for existing.