LJMU Journalism graduate Catherine Madden believes it is all about hard work, determination and networking. Having found herself working at Channel 4 just weeks after leaving university, she is probably right.


“Don't be afraid to apply for things that you think you may not stand a chance in getting because loads of other people will be applying, if you're not in you can't win.”


Catherine applied for her job at Channel 4 before finishing her degree and she says that working hard is essential to make it in this industry.


“I think it’s important that students know they have to work hard. When you get in, work hard, make a good impression and Network.


“Networking is one of the most important things and I know the lecturers say that all the time, but you have to network and always keep a contacts book,” says the 22-year-old, originally from Downpatrick in County Down.


After earning her journalism degree last year she worked for three months at Channel 4’s little known Nations and Regions department in Glasgow, which is responsible for the station’s activities outside of London. From there she was given a Channel 4 sponsored bursary to work with True North Productions in Leeds, where she will be until September.


At True North, Catherine is a researcher, generating and developing ideas and chasing up contributors. Getting the job required some persistence: “I used to check all the broadcaster websites…all of them! I signed up for the e-mail alerts about new jobs.  

“It's a bit of a catch 22 situation when you come out of uni, because if you don't have experience no one will give you the job, but you can't get a job if you lack experience.”


This is the problem for many graduates, particularly in these difficult economic times, but for Catherine it underlines the importance of being determined: “Just be nice to people. Sometimes it's a pain in the ass having to make tea but do it with a smile on your face and they'll remember you as the pleasant one that didn't moan and had a bit of banter.”


Of her experiences studying at LJMU, Catherine has only good things to say despite her early doubts: “At the beginning I thought what have I signed myself up for here, but I learned so much in three years. There was nothing on the course that I thought was pointless and I'm not just saying that. I genuinely loved it.”


In her final year she specialised in television, acting on her interest in getting into production: “It was definitely the right choice for me. It was an awful lot of hard work. You were putting together your news packages or your final project documentary, and you were constantly chasing up stories, but it gave me a good taste of what it's supposed to be like.”


And it was that kind of experience which ultimately led to Catherine’s success in getting into Channel 4 and there’s no secret to her achievements so far. “Just be friendly, be willing to work hard, and get your name out there. Do things for free if you have to,” she adds.

Alumni: Channel 4 success for Catherine

By Hugh O’Connell

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Now and then: Channel 4 was just a dream for Catherine back in her Intro to Online class at JMU in 2006

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