From education to employment

Journalist Isla Glen talks about her career journey from Borders College to DC Thomson

We recently caught up with former student Isla Glen to talk about her learner journey and how her time at college gave her the foundation to go on and study at university and start a promising career in journalism.

21-year-old Isla from Southdean, Scottish Borders, recently graduated from Stirling University and has taken up a post with DC Thomson at the Dundee Courier and Evening Telegraph as a print writer.

She attended Borders College in 2017, studying NPA Journalism while she was in S5 at Jedburgh Grammar School and credits the course with helping to kick-start her career:

The course gave me an insight into studying journalism. I decided that was the career path for me at seven years old and never wavered. However, this course reassured me that I wanted to continue my studies.

It also helped me progress to university, where I graduated with a first-class BA (Hons) degree in Film and Media and Journalism Studies in June this year. I left school in 2019 with six highers, two advanced highers and my NPA journalism.”

Throughout her studies, Isla has held roles such as Editor-in-Chief of Brig Newspaper (Stirling University’s student newspaper), Secretary and Head of Publicity of Air3 Radio (Stirling University’s student radio station). She also had an internship at The Courier and Press and Journal with the comment team.

Talking about her current role, Isla said:

“I love working in the journalism industry. I really enjoy learning about people and telling their stories. In this role, I cover a lot of charity events and fundraisers, so I talk to lots of inspiring and interesting people. Recently, I wrote about a Dundee woman who set up a charity which recycles uniforms for those in need. These kinds of stories are a privilege to tell.”

Asked what advice she would give to students looking at journalism as a career, Isla added:

“Involve yourself in student media as much as you can. Write for your student newspaper or go on air for your student radio station. Write a blog, take photographs and learn relevant skills and techniques, from search engine optimisation to a decent news intro.

“Experience and practice is everything in journalism, so doing it is the main way to learn. I’m still learning now. Being part of student media groups was the highlight of my studies, and I’ve made lifelong friends – one of which I currently work with. If there isn’t a student media outlet near you, start one!”

Isla’s story is a great example of how studying at college can be an important stepping-stone in progressing to university. We wish her all the very best in her journalism career.

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