Bournemouth felt like home very early on. My flat mates, course mates and lecturers made me feel settled and inspired me to have a go at anything that came along. I felt as though I belonged.
Many BU graduates go into careers which put them in studio and live television environments, like BBC journalist, Sarah Farmer, who graduated in 2002 with a BA (Hons) degree in Multimedia Journalism.
Remembering her time as a student in Bournemouth, where she now lives, Sarah says: “I remember Bournemouth feeling like home very early on in my time at the university. My flat mates, course mates, and lecturers, made me feel settled and inspired me to have a go at anything that came along. I felt as though I belonged.
“For me, my course was the right mix of lectures and practical learning. I loved the hands-on assignments and team assessments. The thrill of coming off-air on time for a radio news day, with a bulletin bursting with content, still lives with me.”
Many students take on a work placement during their time at Bournemouth, Sarah worked at Top of the Pops magazine, ITV Meridian, BBC Radio Gloucester, and Gloucester Echo: “I was lucky enough to secure a number of brilliant work placements during my time at Uni, I had a glimpse at the world of print journalism at the Echo in Cheltenham and learnt from decades of experience at BBC Radio Gloucestershire. I also spent 6 weeks at ITV Meridian, very much hitting the ground running.
“I shadowed reporters on location and producers in the gallery. I wrote material which was broadcast and conducted interviews and vox-pops. I can still remember bursting with pride as I watched a snippet of my work feature within a bulletin!”
Sarah went on to graduate BU and head to work at Star 107.5 FM in Cheltenham, before being promoted to a reporter and newsreader in Bristol, hosting a half-hour news programme and weekend show.
“I'd kept in touch with contacts at Meridian, and in 2005 I landed a trainee journalist role. It wasn't my first interview there. I had applied for a number of jobs, each time getting a knock back and some valuable feedback to build on. In my five years there, I moved up the ladder to become an Assistant Programme Editor and tried my hand at most things: I produced flagship programmes, presented news bulletins, reported on location. I even filled in presenting the weather forecasts. This opportunity opened up a new pathway for me.”
Sarah then joined BBC South Today in 2010 as a weather presenter: “With training from the Met Office, I deliver radio and television forecasts. On top of this, my role includes a number of reporting shifts and outside broadcasts. I've been involved in some amazing programmes; including a live broadcast from the top of the Needles lighthouse and BBC Children in Need appeal night.
Sarah now comes back to BU to teach on the BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism course: “I work with the broadcast lecturers to get students' TV and radio skill together, offering some voice coaching and presentation training too. I couldn't have imagined sitting on the other side of the university newsrooms when I first started on the course. I'm hoping to share some of my experiences with the next generation of journalists. I hope I can encourage, reassure and inspire them as they begin their careers!”
Sarah puts some of her success down to being in the right place at the right time, but also taking up new opportunities when they arise: “For luck to be on your side you have to be ready for it. If you hang around, those chances will be snapped up by someone else. I'm BU proud to be working in such an exciting industry.
“I face a range of challenges every day, from speaking to people who have lost their loved ones, to skydiving during the Bournemouth Air Festival. I'm glad that I worked hard, responded to feedback and bounced back from rejections. It's certainly made me a stronger, more confident person. When you love the job you do, it doesn't feel like work.”