In a Special edition of Friend for Friday, I am featuring an interview which has recently been conducted by my former college online magazine, The Alternative. Alys Penfold - the editor of this fantastic magazine, and a personal friend of mine - interviewed me recently for the website, shortly after I received an award for Leadership from Alton College, for my work as the previous Editor.
So, in a special edition, the Jourknow would like to introduce this week's Friend for Friday: the jourknow himself, Kieran Watkins.*
Kieran Watkins was the 2010/2011 Chief Editor of our very own Alternative. He did a fantastic job while he was in charge, and got to take part in Any Questions? for BBC Radio 4 hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby when it was broadcast live, from here at college. Kieran also successfully organised the Alternative photo competition last year (winner Nicole Boulton) and has since had work experience at The Guardian and is now studying Journalism BA Hons at University of Kent. As my previous editor and a good friend, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kieran and finding out more about his passion for journalism...Friend for Friday: Kieran Watkins
(from the Alternative website)
What inspired your interest in journalism?
I think it was from watching memorable events on the TV when I was younger, like the 9/11 attacks and the death of Princess Diana. Watching memorable events unfold like that made me want a slice of the action - to be on the frontline reporting breaking news stories to the public, whether they be bad or good news stories. That’s what made me want to be a journalist.
What is university life like? Is there anything at home that you miss?
I miss my family, obviously and the comfort of being in a county and town which you’re familiar with. But in all honesty, I love it. I love the independence and the maturity of uni life. You’re an adult now, on the road to adult life. Yes, things are a lot harder and you have to start taking responsibility for money and your own personal welfare, but its not all doom and gloom. It’s the best time of your life! The going out and getting drunk bit is quite good fun too! (tut, tut Mr Watkins!)
What’s the highlight of your journalistic experience so far?
Well, obviously all the work I did for the Alternative was fantastic, and the opportunities were great. Particularly the interviews for Any Questions stood out as a highlight. Since I’ve been to university, the experiences have been great. I have so far interviewed local politicians and members of the public, as well as getting the opportunity to try out new media such as radio and television - stuff I had never tried before.
Who or what inspires you?
Bruce Forsyth has long been an inspiration of mine. The fact that at the grand old age of 80, he is still entertaining our screens on one of the best programmes in the UK is fantastic and inspiring. But the thing that inspires me the most is the BBC. It’s a British institution, the best broadcaster in the world and who I hope to work for in the future!
Tell us about your work experience at the Guardian…
My work experience at the Guardian was great, albeit for two days. It was exciting getting up early and travelling to London. The offices are brand spanking new, and they have all the latest technology. I learned a lot - mostly simple technical things, like how to use an Apple Mac and where to get pictures from off of the Internet. I also contacted agents for celebrities - was quite exciting to get an email from Kirsten Dunst’s agent!
What are your tips for surviving university?
I’m rubbish when it comes to tips. All I would say is shop around for food. Always buy from a supermarket, not a small convenience store - the food will be a lot more expensive. If you go out to a club, take how much money you’re going to spend with you. Don’t pay with card, you’ll end up spending lots more then you planned to. And try to share food with your friends, by taking it in turns to cook for each other.
What was your favourite part about being the chief editor of The Alternative?
Reading all the fantastic articles. I was really proud to read all of the work that was written, it’s incredibly rewarding for me to read work of such high quality from students.
An issue or news story I’m really interested in at the moment…
Well the phone hacking story is one that is forever changing, and producing new and interesting stories (or should that be scandalous stories!) Otherwise, the Thames Airport is something that I am really interested in - there are so many reasons for and against it, and I think it will be a big issue in the press in the next few months.
My dream job would be…
Presenting my own chat show on BBC1.
Something that I did to make me stand out in my university interviews…
Just being keen and polite makes all the difference- they like it if you just be yourself. I would look the part, make sure I looked them in the eye and was just calm and kept my cool. Be yourself!
If I wasn’t a journalist I would be…
I couldn’t live without…
The Alternative online magazine - run by students, for students - is an online publication written by students from Alton College. Launched in 2009 by Editor Gwen Hanueur, and co-edited by Kieran Watkins, the site focuses on a mix of articles, reviews on interviews; from subjects such as Film, Fashion, Public Affairs and Culture. In 2010, Kieranfundraising and publicising events, including competitions and high-profile interviews. In 2011, Alys Penfold, with help from Andrew Smith, took over as Editor.
The website address is: http://the-alternative.ning.com/
Both Kieran and Gwen have been awarded Leadership Awards from the college for their commitment to the magazine.
You can follow Kieran on Twitter: @kieranwatkins
You can also follow Alys on Twitter: @candyflosscurls
Interview courtesy of the Alternative website.
Thanks go to Alys Penfold for the intervew.
*I know it's shameless, but there is nothing like a little bit of self promotion now and then!