As part of an ongoing series on recent graduates who have gone into online journalism, Guardian Beatblogger Hannah Waldram talks about her education and experience leading up to her job, and what it involves.
I graduated from the Centre for Journalism at the Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies with a diploma in newspaper journalism in June 2009. During the course, I followed developments in online journalism – spurred on by my tutor Glyn Mottershead – attended journalism and hyperlocal conferences across the UK, started a personal website to showcase my work (hrwaldram.co.uk), played around with new online tools and invested in some new tech (Flip cameras, netbooks), blogged a lot, as well as various bits of work experience including the technology desk at The Daily Telegraph and Media Guardian.
I also bought the domain name bournvillevillage.com and began brewing ideas for a hyperlocal website for my hometown area in Birmingham.
After completing the course and while sending off applications for trainee reporter jobs, I continued to set up Bournville Village. There’s a vibrant network of bloggers in Birmingham who gave me advice, support and ideas, and the blog launched just in time for some unusual gun shootings in the area.
Bournville is bursting with local news and history and is poorly covered by the regional press – so the blog was well-received by the community. It was also a great way for me to practise my skills as a journalist. Soon I was offered three jobs – two in traditional media and one in new media. I went for new media.
I started working as a social reporter for Podnosh and online editor of westmidlandsdance.com for Meshed Media – in these roles I learnt a lot about civic engagement, online communities and multimedia journalism.
I am now the Guardian Beatblogger in Cardiff. You can read more about the local project here and Local editor Sarah Hartley explains the role of a beatblogger here, I also recently published some tools I use on the job here.
I’ve since passed on bournvillevillage.com to Dave Harte who is a runner in Bournville and helped out from the outset. Under his editorship the site continues to thrive and unravel the hidden stories of the area.