This blog post has been written by MA Broadcast Journalism student Meg Montague, who recently had the opportunity to interview Vicky Murray, a UWS alum who is now an Assistant Producer in Newsgathering at STV.
It’s a difficult time to be a student. The isolation of remote learning, the struggle to stay motivated, and a lack of work placement opportunities. And for journalism students, who are already facing a highly competitive industry, the future can be a little daunting.
So getting the opportunity to speak to, and learn from, UWS Journalism alumni is always a great experience. It can give us a glimpse of what’s possible for us.
Journalism was always something Vicky Murray had “fancied doing.”
In 2003, as a mature student, she started studying a BA (Hons) degree in Media at UWS and graduated in 2007. She then moved onto achieve a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism. Now, she is working as an Assistant Producer in Newsgathering at STV.
“It was excellent training to be schooled by industry professionals,” said Vicky about her time at UWS, both as an undergraduate and postgraduate student. “There were a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds, particularly in radio and television, and that was really important for me. It definitely gave me a good grounding.”
While she was studying, Vicky undertook a two week placement with local radio stations Westsound and West FM. Just one week later, she was working for both stations on a freelance basis.
This opened up a road into full-time employment: “A few months after that, a journalist left, I interviewed for the position and I got it. It was great working for the station that I’d grown up with.”
Vicky worked as a broadcast journalist at the stations, for four years. This experience would lead to her working as a bulletin editor and a senior news desk editor at Bauer Media. The position offered her the opportunity to interview people like tennis player Jamie Murray, the cast of Burniston and the Welsh actor Michael Sheen.
“It was an interview about poverty,” said Vicky, detailing her interview with the actor, “But I had to ask at the end if he preferred being a werewolf or a vampire!”
In 2017, Vicky won the runner-up prize for interview of the year at the IRN News Awards. Her interview was with a mother who had lost her son to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The toddler was only 22 months old when he died, although it is quite rare to die from SIDS at that age. It’s a moment Vicky thinks of as the highlight of her career so far. She was also nominated for Newsreader of the Year at the same ceremony.
She said: “I’ve gone to interview people when they’re in the depths of despair, and I’ve walked away with new friends from that.
“I’m very much a people person and I’m a storyteller. I like to tell peoples’ stories whether they’re looking for justice, or answers, or just to tell their story.”
And when it comes to any advice she would give to aspiring journalists, Vicky said: “Whenever you’re asked to do something, just say ‘yes’. Be really, really, really keen. Don’t refuse to do anything.”