Paper's university links lead to first jobs

Three journalism students have secured their first jobs on local papers as a result of a scheme linking the Sunderland Echo with the city’s university.

The Echo launched a student page On Campus in November so that postgraduate newspaper journalism students at the University of Sunderland could get their work regularly published and get their careers off to a head start. At the same time the newspaper offered students work experience one day a week.

Now, the students have found jobs within Northeast Press, the regional division of Johnston Press.

Lisa Hodge, 23, has been taken on as a trainee reporter for The Echo, Mieka Schmidt, 23, is a new trainee at sister paper The Hartlepool Mail and Marissa Carruthers, 23, will soon start as a trainee at another sister paper The Northumberland Gazette.

The Echo’s assistant editor Patrick Lavelle came up with the idea for the scheme to establish strong links between the university and paper.

He said: “We wanted to give journalism students an opportunity to see their work in print, to increase sales of The Echo among the student population – and we also wanted to talentspot.”

Marissa Carruthers said: “I think that combining the work experience with the skills I had learned on the course has given me the experience needed to get a job in journalism. I would recommend it to anyone.”

By Sarah Lagan

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