In the past I’ve sometimes felt uncomfortable seeking advice – worried that I’d appear bothersome, clueless, or, even worse, desperate for a job (which I often was!).
It’s that unease, which I’m sure a lot of young journalists feel, which this scheme has done so much to alleviate.
Meeting up with someone who you know is willing to impart their wisdom immediately sets you at ease.
Because you know the initial meeting is the first of many, you feel far less conscious of the need to bombard your mentor with every question you can think of in the first five minutes.
But the most satisfying part of it all is being able to bounce ideas off someone who knows how the industry works, can steer you away from potential pitfalls, and put you in touch with others who can provide advice.
On my first meeting with Jonathan, he showed me around the C4 newsroom, introduced me to the team and let me watch the programme go out live from the gallery. We sloped off to the pub afterwards, where I got to meet some of the younger producers who work on the programme. I even had the chance to introduce myself to Mani, a French photojournalist working with C4, whose reporting from Syria I’ve long admired.
About a month later Jonathan and I met up for a second time, again at a pub, but this time just the two of us. I was keen to discuss my career plans with him, some ideas which have been taking shape over the past few months. I’d never laid them in out so explicitly and in such detail to anyone before, so it was fantastic to talk them over with someone so experienced and feel so encouraged by his advice.
As a result, I’m more confident in the direction my career is headed and more determined than ever to attain the additional skills I need to make it all happen. It’s been an absolute pleasure being one of the scheme’s first mentees and having the opportunity to meet Jonathan. I’m looking forward to our upcoming meetings, as well as supporting the Trust’s work in the years to come.