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Editor of the Strathclyde Telegraph Silja

How long has the Strathclyde Telegraph been on campus?

The Strathclyde Telegraph has been on campus since 1960. Since Strathclyde only received its Royal Charter in 1964, the paper is technically 4 years older than the University itself.

When/How did you get involved in the Telegraph?

I got involved with the Telegraph in 2011. I wish there was an exciting story I could tell here, but it was nothing exceptional. As an eager first year does, I went to Freshers’ Fair, saw an opportunity to do something co-curricular and signed my name up for Arts and Music.

How do you decide what you write about?

Well, the Telegraph operates on a ‘choose-what-you-like’ basis, so it wasn’t really decided for me. Me, and a bunch of other people signed up for the mailing lists, just received e-mails with article calls and picked what we were interested in covering, or in my case, reviewing. It’s a casual, dibs-based system and there are always calls for pitches, so you get quite a lot of creative control.

How did you work your way up to Editor-in-Chief?

The numbers in student media, despite the plethora of people studying towards a journalism degree, are dwindling. I did an interview with Nadia Ness, the Editor at the time for a course assignment and for some reason, she was impressed with my research and suggested I run for News Editor. I hadn’t really written for news before, but they had no prospective candidates, so I showed up on the day, gave a ridiculously awkward, strange humour laden speech and got elected. Being News Editor was quite challenging, but I learned so much, especially about the importance of communication and contacts, where and how to source stories from, and working quickly and responsively to deadlines. I was also nominated for NUS Student Journalist of the Year, and even though I didn’t actually win, it was nice to earn some recognition. After this, I could not resist putting myself forward for Editor in my hunger for further experience. I get overly engrossed in everything I decide to take up, so I was just always running around on Telegraph business, it would have been weird not to continue with the paper.

What is it like being Editor-in-Chief?

Rewarding is the word that comes to mind. A lot of it is coordinating decisions across the editorial board, communicating with press offices, maintaining social media, keeping up with what’s happening on in the higher education sector, and on campus, meetings and replying, or rather sorting through e-mails. Oh, there’s so many. There is the odd moral dilemma on whether an article is appropriate to print, but luckily it’s been pretty straightforward so far. Yet, there’s quite nothing like the feeling of sending a paper off to print and seeing the stands empty week by week, or someone reading a copy, deep in thought.

Do you still get much time to write?

My course is very much writing-based anyway, so I’ve never really get to take a break from writing. Having said that, I did produce significantly more articles as News Editor. I did have grand plans to focus more on writing investigative pieces as Editor, but the reality is that there’s more time for actual journalism as a section editor. I do have the privilege of writing editorials, so that obligates me to produce at least something by-line worthy for every edition.

How do you juggle Uni work with work for the Telegraph?

I haven’t found it that difficult to be honest. I think I’m used to always having quite a lot on my plate. I just do what needs to be done without giving too much thought to whether it’s a lot or a little, easy or difficult. I could not live without to-do lists and deadline calendars. Time-management and planning is quite important, but I think the ability to prioritise is crucial, as is attitude. Sometimes, things don’t go according to plan and when they don’t its essential to recognise what you can and what you can’t control, and not generate any extra stress.

Do you think journalism is something you would like to get into as a profession once you finish university?

Since I’m doing my degree in Politics and Journalism with Creative Writing, it does seem like the optimum career choice. I do very much enjoy what I’m doing and I can’t imagine a better profession to satiate my constant curiosity.

Have you done any internships to do with journalism? If so what was it like?

That’s still a work in progress. I did a few weeks of work experience in small local newspapers back home, in Estonia, but it was mainly menial tasks, entirely unrelated to news production or translations and small re-scoops for the online versions. It was great to be in the newsroom and see the entire process of putting together a publication from start to finish, even if I wasn’t yet, perhaps rightfully so, trusted to contribute too much.


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