Digital journalist makes a return to Different PR
After over two years of finishing his A-Levels, digital journalist Ben Outhwaite returns to the Different PR offices, albeit in a new location.
I’ve come a long way since my first placement with David Simister: I completed my A-Levels at school, joined university and most importantly, became a digital journalist. When I finished school, I don’t think I realised what big a part of my life it was; seeing my friends daily, revising for exams non-stop and hearing my teachers stress out about the importance of passing them. Although the latter isn’t missed that much, I assure you.
I already feel that I’ve learnt a plethora of new abilities as a second-year student in Leeds. I’m glad I chose to specialise in journalism as it has opened a whole world of opportunities for me. The subject itself is sought after everywhere in modern-day life: the media, ties with PR and especially communication.
The course itself is a coursework-based syllabus, meaning all the assessed work is completed to a deadline, so there are no exams. This is a huge benefit for me as it enables to me manage my time far more effectively and means I can live a much more relaxed life compared to other students who must rigorously revise for exams every semester. Every semester, or ‘term’, includes six pieces of coursework that are completed every January and May – which mark the half-way point and end of the academic year, ensuring an organised deadline system.
I have found that the skills I learnt after my first week of placement with David in June 2015 have been put to good measure. The knowledge of laying out press releases, along with the tone they should be written in, along with photography, communication and interviewing skills have paid off significantly – so much so, I feel as if I have the edge over other students when it comes to these subjects – a great asset to me.
But why did I return to Differentpr? Surely the skills I learnt in 2015 were enough to keep me going for more than a mere two years? The reality is, you can never learn enough. The more you know about your trade however, the more likely you’ll be successful. That’s what I liked the sound of, and that’s why I returned. Because there’s always something to learn at Differentpr.
It doesn’t feel like two and a half years since being introduced to the world of PR. It’s gone fast. I realise that time won’t slow down, and because of this, you need to make the most of your time in life and acknowledge the importance of making the most of opportunities, like both of my work placement weeks.
A question I get asked a lot nowadays is “What are your aspirations after university”? To which I always now reply by saying that I want to focus on my studies at the moment, as I’ve got enough on my plate for now. And that’s not a bad thing; I’m not referring to workload or stress, but my student life and the perks that come with it, those which I enjoy. When my peers get asked that question, I often hear them give their life story about how they’ve dreamt for a ‘long and torrid’ four years since starting their A-Levels how they are aspiring to be a celebrity photographer if they’re doing my course, or a professional gymnast after they finish their PE course.
The truth is, there’s far more out there than what you’ve been brainwashed into believing by yourself compared to what you want to do for a career after university. Most of the students who say these things are knee-deep in revision catch up, constantly falling out with housemates or haven’t washed their clothes in three weeks – that just isn’t an option for me. Why pretend to live in utopia with such high expectations of yourself when what really matters is how you feel and who your friends are?
Suffice to say, I hope a well-structured yet relaxed and hard-working week at Differentpr has been a great success, just like it was at the back end of 2015. As well as building on previous skills, I have learnt new ones as well, like the importance of supporting your local area and clients when spreading good news about them in press releases, or the golden rule of public relations: making people believe.