Tim Dowling, Columnist for The Guardian

Students told: “You have to be prepared”

Tim Dowling today told University College Falmouth journalism students how to succeed in a profession that is constantly changing.

Dowling, a novelist and columnist for The Guardian said: “I don’t know what journalism will become in two years. I don’t even think I’ll be ready for it, but there is always a place for a good writer. If you train yourself to write well enough journalism may find you as a career.” Dowling revealed a number of key elements to the students that he believed in to allow yourself to ‘fly high’ within the profession.

I was always a frightened little man when I started off. I was afraid to put myself out there and speak,” Dowling revealed. “Ambition is key to become a journalist. It’s not that I didn’t have this, I just didn’t have the drive to push me along,” he added.

Revealing more about his elements, the students were able to relate to Dowling in ways that would allow them to push their journalism degrees forward. Dowling reminded the students to think about the audience they were writing for making it easier to grab the concept of a piece of writing. “Aren’t you the only one who cares how good your work is, the one audience you really have is yourself,” Dowling said.

Informing students further, Dowling insisted that they need their own ‘style’ to get noticed as a contemporary journalist. He said: “Style for me is like an accent that everybody comments on and you want to get rid of.” To become a reliable journalist, Dowling told students that you need to be honest and objective throughout, “I’d like to insist that I stand by everything I write, but that’s not something I can do.”

Talking to students about his experiences within the journalism profession, Dowling admitted to not sticking with the desired topic, but instead would trail off onto something completely different. “I was once asked to write about myself but often found that I was writing about my family instead.”

Talking about the future of journalism, Dowling admitted not knowing what trainee students will face in the future, and that the challenges to become a journalist may change dramatically. “I don’t know what journalism will become in two years. I don’t even think I’ll be ready for it,” Dowling finished on.



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