Edinburgh Napier University

"My course prepared me really well for this experience."

We caught up with Lewis Robertson as he talks about his journey from a small village on the west coast of Scotland to going on placement with STV in his third year of studying Journalism.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a third-year journalism student studying in Edinburgh. I’m originally from a small village on the west coast of Scotland called Strontian. So coming to Edinburgh was a bit of a culture shock. I’m hoping to work in broadcast news after university either in front of the camera or behind it. I’ll just have to wait and see!

What was your role at STV?

My role at STV was assisting in the news room with various tasks. When I was working on the show Scotland Tonight, my job was to find social media reactions to questions the show had posed to the public. I had to prepare these for the presenter to read live on air.

I also had to find interviewees for the show. This meant phoning, emailing, and messaging loads of places to find an interviewee. I worked closely with the producers and presenters on the show to discuss what we were going to broadcast and how we were going to do it.

I also worked on-site with journalists at the Glasgow woman’s equal pay march. I shadowed a reporter while they conducted interviewees and also shadowed a camera man. This was a really good first-hand experience of what a job outside the University would entail.

How was this experience for you?

I learned to be confident in my abilities. For me this meant how to control an interview, how to ask the right questions and how to properly conduct yourself.

I learned more about how dominant social media is becoming in the broadcast news landscape. And just how important it is becoming for news in general.

There are so many things I learned which are hard to explain. Watching people who have been doing this job for 20+ years was great and you pick up a lot. Everything from precise word choice to gain access to information you want, to how fast-paced a professional news room is when you have to get a story for broadcasting at six o’clock.

The biggest challenge was just learning to be confident in myself. My course prepared me really well for this experience. But it is still nerve-wracking when you are working with some of the biggest names in Scottish news. You just have to realise you have the skills and the ability to work at this level, and then you just have to implement them.

What’s next?

I want to finish my degree and then get as much work experience as possible to become a well-rounded journalist.

Would you recommend other students to go on placement at STV?

Yes I would. It’s a very supportive environment. This means you can learn a lot, but at the same time you don’t have the protection that you do in University. When you’re working in real time news, you have to get it right. That pressure is scary, but it’s so beneficial because when you get it right it’s an amazing feeling. It’s definitely a great place to learn for people interested in media.