From conducting interviews as a magazine journalist to interviewing suspects as a police detective, Roy Kimber has used the skills developed at BU to lead a varied career.
Roy graduated from Bournemouth University with a BA (Hons) in Multimedia Journalism in 1996, having already started out on a similar course at another university, which he subsequently quit to move to Bournemouth. He said: “I began studying my degree elsewhere, but quickly came to realise that the course content was purely theoretical. I wanted to gain practical skills alongside the theory, and my course leader recommended Bournemouth. This gave me the variety I was looking for, with the opportunity to develop skills in camera work, radio production and print journalism.”
Having got his degree, Roy remained in Bournemouth and - while working three separate part-time jobs to pay the bills - began gaining work experience at a variety of media companies, including placements at BBC Radio Solent and the Southern Daily Echo. Like many graduates, Roy initially found it difficult to secure his first job in his chosen field, and after nearly a year of unsuccessful applications and interviews, he’d almost given up on getting into the career he was interested in. But just as he was about to throw in the towel, Roy spotted an advert at the local job centre for an opening with a company based in Bournemouth, that he’d previously sent two CVs to. Roy called them about an application and this time was successful, securing a role as a writer on a Nintendo magazine. Roy said: “It turned out that it wasn’t so much my lack of skills or experience which had made my previous applications to the company unsuccessful, but that the company didn’t really have a formal HR department at that time, so any unsolicited CVs they received tended to just go straight in the bin!”
Roy went on to build a career as a games journalist, progressing through various roles to become editor on a number of titles and enjoying a range of perks associated with the industry, including travel to Europe, the US and beyond. The work also involved taking part in some interesting ‘experiences', including racing (and winning) a real-life destruction derby, learning to scuba dive and training as both a bodyguard and a stunt man - the latter being for a feature on the latest James Bond release, where Roy got thrown off a three-story building and then set on fire! Eventually, as the magazine industry changed in line with the growth of online journalism, Roy decided on a complete change of career and left journalism to pursue another childhood aspiration to become a police officer.
In the 13 years that he has been with Hampshire Police, Roy has worked in many different roles, including eight years spent as a detective. He has worked in specialist departments investigating burglary, arson, cyber crime and even murder. He said: “I’ve found that many of my journalism skills have been useful in my career with the police. You need to be able to talk to people with a view to finding out key information, and being able to absorb a wealth of information from different sources and then use it to construct a clear and accurate narrative of what has occurred is vital when preparing cases for the Crown Prosecution Service to review. Having a background in journalism has also helped me to build good relationships with current journalists, which is important as the media are often a vital part of getting help from the public on a difficult case.”
Roy’s advice to others who might be just starting out on their career path is to be flexible. He said: “You never really know where your degree can take you unless you are open to all opportunities. The media industry can be disheartening at times, and I remember having my fair share of knock-backs in the first year or so. I would urge others not to be too set on a particular area of journalism to begin with and to take any openings when they come along. It all helps you to build up experience and contacts, and that job that perhaps wasn’t your ideal position at first, might well be the springboard to something much bigger. Whatever you do though, I wish you the best of luck, and hope that you end up with a career at least half as enjoyable and interesting as mine has been so far.”
Roy is interested in hearing from any former classmates and friends from his time in Bournemouth. He can be reached via the Alumni team.