How did you get that job? – Hannah Lomas

As part of the Trovit UK blog we will be talking to people who are working in different industries across the UK to ask them ‘how did you get that job?’

To kick things off we’re going to look at getting into the media industry and, more specifically, how to get yourself on TV (legally). The media industry is a notoriously tough nut to crack with competition high and desirable jobs low. What’s more, we often hear stories about having to make tea until the year of retirement just to get your foot in the door. Although you may be happy to make some tea to kick start your career we thought it would be useful to speak to someone who knows the industry and, who is in the industry. 

For this first installment of ‘How did you get that job?’ we’ve been having a chat with ITV Border‘s Hannah Lomas, who often makes appearances on our screens reporting the news:

How would you describe your job? I’m a reporter for ITV Tyne Tees and Border, a regional television channel covering the North East, Cumbria and Southern Scotland. I work for the nightly half hourly news and sport programme. I report on a variety of different news stories, anything from court cases to a murder right through to the “lighter” news items. I either set up the job myself or the story is given to me by my news desk. I do the interviews, either film myself or with a cameraman, then edit the piece for that night.

When you were younger did you have a good idea of what you wanted to do? I always wanted to be a journalist. When I was much younger  I used to get told off by my parents because I would always read their newspaper, usually before them, and at 7 years old, it wasn’t always suitable reading material! I read bulletins and reported for radio for a couple of years then by a bit of a fluke, started doing some television news shifts and never really stopped!

Did you go to University? I did a three year undergraduate degree, worked for a year at a radio station and then did a one year postgraduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire.

If you hadn’t gone to university do you think there would have been other ways in to the industry? Possibly, but I wouldn’t have fancied my chances trying it without. Traditionally, journalists left school at 16 and learnt their craft on a local newspaper. Now, most places, whether it’s papers, radio or TV tend to want you to have some journalism qualification and when you’re up against people that do, I wouldn’t like to be without one.

What was your first job? Ever? Paper round when I was 13. It was the free paper for the village I lived in and I delivered over 400 a week. I was the strongest 13 year old in the village after lifting all those.

What was your worst job? The above one was pretty bad in the winter, especially as the houses were spaced really far apart. I once fell down a flight of concrete steps in the dark and the weight of the papers meant I couldn’t get up again!

What was the first thing that put you on your professional ladder (selecting your uni course, your first job, work experience etc)? After my A levels, I wanted a year out for various reasons so decided not to do the English degree I was supposed to do. I worked in a supermarket for a year. It was a great thing to do because it showed me what I didn’t want to do. There’s nothing wrong with shop work but after 12 months there, I knew I wanted to push myself hard to achieve my goal of becoming a journalist. So I guess it was working on the till that got me where I am!

What’s the best thing about your job? The variety. This month I worked in Japan for a week doing a series about their links with our region, which was fascinating. I’m very privileged to be able to meet a lot of very interesting people and hear their stories. The fact they have chosen to share their stories with us (I’m going to use that word again) is a privilege. But as well as the best of people, you also see the very worst. This year I have reported on the shootings in West Cumbria which killed 12 people and the manhunt for Raoul Moat, who shot 3 people, including a police officer.

What advice would you give for people wanting to get into the same industry? Work hard!! First, before you start any University course, go and do a few weeks work experience somewhere. It shouldn’t be the biggest radio station or TV station either, the smaller ones do great work and let’s face it, your first job isn’t going to be presenting the national news! That way you’ll know whether it’s the sort of job you want to do before the end of your course – I’ve seen people spend thousands doing courses. It’s not glamorous; the hours are long and you’ll be expected to work for free.

What’s the best bit of advice you’ve picked up along the way? I don’t know if it’s the best advice, but just before my first ever bulletin, the Head of News at the radio station told me “If you don’t know how to pronounce a word, just say it quickly.” That always makes me smile when I think of it.

In the past what are the different job searching methods you’ve used? Dedicated websites that advertise specific jobs. It’s usually the big newspapers who advertise media jobs or the actual media outlet itself, advertising on its own website.

Had you heard of Trovit before this interview? Yes, a friend of mine found a job on it when she left uni!

Try some of these searches on Trovit to find your next media job: tv presenter, radio producer, journalist, cameraman, film runner, editor.