Media Student Spotlight: Sam Shedden, University of Strathclyde

LAST week, Sam Shedden was named Scottish Student Journalist of the Year 2014.

Here, he answers the questions…

What course are you studying?

I’m doing a Digital Journalism postgrad (MLitt) at the University of Strathclyde.

What inspired you to choose this course ahead of all the others on offer?

Easy. The focus on digital journalism.

I thought, with the growing trend towards online news, it would be important to really get to grips with online journalism. I also really like the content of the course. In particular, I liked that as part of the course we needed to set up our own publication, promote it and run it. We created The Wee G which won Multimedia Publication of the Year at the Scottish Student Journalism Awards.

Strathclyde has a really good reputation for proactively helping their students with placements and work opportunities so that was definitely a big factor when it came to choosing a course.

At what stage are you at?

It’s an one-year Masters course and I’m now at the ‘business end’ of things. I’m writing my dissertation and I’ll graduate in September.

What have you most enjoyed about the course so far?

The practical aspects of learning how to create and run a publication have proven really useful. It was great being able to find our own stories and get out and about amongst it. I’ve also really enjoyed the more theory-based topics like Journalism and Society and Media Ethics; they always got a good debate going in class.

What lies ahead and how are you preparing yourself for it?

Good question, I don’t know. Hopefully, a full-time job! I’d love to get work as journalist and write news or features. I’m really open to anything that may come my way. My particular interest are travel, current affairs and politics.

I’ve done a lot of work placements here and there to try and bolster my CV. The odd days for the likes of STV, The Big Issue and, latterly, the Daily Record.

Are you currently using any of your new-found skills in actual ‘media work’?

Yes. I work on a casual part-time basis for the Daily Record on their digital newsdesk. I also write for WOW247 and have a few placements in the pipeline.

What next, after you have no doubt successfully completed your course?

I’ll be covering aquatics at this year’s Commonwealth Games as reporter for the Games News Service, so I’m really excited to be involved with that. I’m currently trying to get work in relation to the independence referendum. It’s such a big thing and I want to be involved with it in some way.

Any single piece of media studies advice you want to share?

Dive in. I come from a marketing and sales background (my undergrad was Bsc Marketing) and I was anxious, when starting the course, about the gap in my knowledge compared with other students from media backgrounds. The best way around it is just to throw yourself into as much things that come your way as possible. I’ve got lots to learn still and the more practical experience I can get the better I will become.