UPDATED: Trinity graduates were reporting on deaths and murders within first week of work

Recent Trinity trainees Lauren Wafer-Kiddle and Felicity McNamara, reporters for the Halifax Courier Group.

Recent Trinity trainees Lauren Wafer-Kiddle and Felicity Macnamara, now Halifax Courier reporters.

Graduates Lauren Wafer-Kiddle and Felicity Macnamara returned to Leeds Trinity University today to describe the highs and lows of a career in print journalism to this year’s crop of aspiring reporters.

Lauren, 22, and Felicity, 23 both now work for the Halifax Courier.

Felicity said: “This time last year we were where you guys are now, panicking about shorthand!”

Lauren described her first day at work when she saw the body of a dead woman in the middle of the street.

She said: “I was a bit of a shaking mess. A woman had fallen from a tower block of flats in Boothtown. I had to compose myself, remember ethical and legal boundaries, get a photo and video of the scene.

“I had 20 minutes to file everything. I managed it with two minutes to spare. I got the front page. It’s good to be thrown in at the deep end.”

The women said the experience that that they got from the Leeds Trinity post-graduate course was invaluable when it came to securing jobs in the industry – particularly the Student Newsroom Project in partnership with the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Felicity told students how excited she was to start writing for the regional title: “Picking up a copy of the YEP with something you have written is such a great feeling.”

Lauren said: “We’d had no experience in print journalism, so our pages at the YEP became crucial when interviewing for jobs.

“We quickly learned the most critical thing is your contact book. The strangest people you meet can become the best contacts. My best contact was a vet, he told me everything as he was in the middle of the town.”

Felicity believes that it is important to be thrown into the deep-end: “”I can’t reiterate enough – put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone because that’s the best experience to learn from.”

Lauren added: “It doesn’t matter if it is news, fashion or sport. Just write about it.”

However, it has not all been plain sailing for the talented duo. Felicity shared one of her early experiences with the Halifax Courier: “I went to a story where a lorry had tipped over. Newsdesk asked me for video but my phone broke. I had to go back and say I didn’t get video. It’s embarrassing. They sent me out again with a borrowed phone.

“You need to cover all your bases, have an in-car charger. It’s the paper that’s losing out, it’s the web page that’s losing out, you have to be prepared.”

Despite this, she could not imagine working in another career: “You would simply not get the same adrenaline rush anywhere else.”

However, she stressed that journalism is not for everyone: “If you want 9-5, this isn’t for you. You need passion and a drive to succeed.”

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