Skip to main content

Neil Meldrum

Bournemouth University students are graduating with skills which not only further their own careers, but with so many staying in Dorset they boost the local economy too."

Heading into my undergraduate course I had experience of writing but not in terms of a realistic newsroom experience. The course teaches not only the core skills required for the newspaper industry, but also tests your ability to stay calm under pressure and work quickly to deadlines through its ‘live’ newsroom days. That was the key thing for me walking into a real newsroom for the first time after I graduated – I kind of felt like I had experienced it already, even though I actually hadn’t!

The course was exactly what I expected and more. I did several placements as part of it, including two weeks here at the Echo. I also did a six-week placement at Meridian TV where I worked covering the Sarah Payne murder inquiry in Sussex – one of the biggest national stories of the past 15 years.

I remember the people, more than anything, and how inspired I was by lecturers like Dan Hogan and Karen Fowler-Watt. They had been there and done it in the media and we were like sponges, soaking up their experience and knowledge. As well as that, they made it fun and encouraged us to express ourselves and that breeds confidence, which is a big reason why I am where I am now.

I think BU brings even more to the community now than it did when I was there, particularly the Faculty of Media & Communication which is leading the digital revolution in higher education. Journalists graduating from the university are leaving with skills not only to further their own careers, but to boost the local economy with so many opting to stay in Dorset after their degrees. It’s an exciting time to be a BU student.

I made so many friends while I was in Bournemouth and loved the area so much, I stayed – I have had several opportunities to leave, including one at a national newspaper in London, but I have always found it very difficult to walk away.

When I look at the people who have graduated from the Media School and what they have gone on to achieve, it makes me proud to be able to stand alongside them. If it weren’t for Bournemouth University, I wouldn’t be within touching distance of fulfilling an ambition I have had since childhood, which is to edit a regional daily newspaper. I’ve climbed a lot of rungs on the journalism ladder thanks to the university and, only 14 years since I graduated, I’ve only got about one-and-a-half rungs to go!