Profile picture of Charley Bergman.

Production Journalist, ITV Calendar

In March 2023 I won the Student of the Year Award at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2022.

Why I chose to attend Leeds Trinity

I first decided to study at LTU because of the dual accreditation by both the NCTJ and BJTC. Being an accredited journalist opens so many doors because you have proof that you are qualified to the standard any employer would look for. Even if you want to work in TV like I do, having the NCTJ qualification gives you such a good grounding in journalism and prepares you for all aspects of the industry.

Charley Bergman lights.

What I enjoyed most about Leeds Trinity

I honestly had the best year studying at Leeds Trinity University. I made friends for life with people on my course and formed really close relationships with all my lecturers who I still speak to regularly. The University is small which means there’s such a genuine community feel, and you get a lot of one-on-one support throughout your degree. On top of this, your lecturers all really want you to succeed and go above and beyond what you’d expect. From the moment I had my interview for the course, I knew I would study here and not at any of the other universities I’d applied for because of how warm and welcoming all the staff are. 

What I loved most about the course

I loved every aspect of the course, but the news days were the best part for me – especially the TV news days because my goal was to work in TV journalism. Now that I work for ITV, I realise even more how helpful those news days were. Honestly, the facilities, equipment and training we received in TV news days were of the same standard as what I now use every day at ITV.

We had to find stories on the day, film and edit packages to a tight deadline, and we learnt to produce and PA – all of which I do daily now. Another great thing about the course is the mentorship programme; you choose what area of journalism you are interested in and get paired up with someone working in that sector who can help give you advice, check your work, and even get you work experience or potentially help you find a job. 

Charley Bergman TV Studio.

Great career prospects

I know for definite that having a basis in writing stood me apart from a lot of other interviewees for my job at ITV and is a big reason why I got the job. On top of this, every employer will want you to have strong media law knowledge which the NCTJ and BJTC both give you. 

Amazing experience in the industry

While I was studying, my lecturers helped me to get work experience at The Sun as a digital writer and this led to a few freelance shifts. It was really useful having some real experience, especially at a national paper, before I graduated as having something on your CV helps you find so many more opportunities.

Once teaching finished on the course, I got a full-time job as a digital writer for a Newsquest paper in London. I started this job while completing my coursework and final project, which was a bit of a juggle but definitely worth it. I wouldn’t have got this job without the experience the MA gave me – I had an entire portfolio that I could show in my interview, and I demonstrated lots of skills that the course taught me. Having experience as a digital writer is definitely what secured me the job at ITV Calendar – which is my absolute dream job. 

A typical day at ITV Calendar

It’s hard to describe an average day at ITV Calendar as every day is so different – which is what makes it so fun and exciting. As a production journalist, you cover a range of shifts from writing articles for the website to producing the Good Morning Britain, lunch and late programmes. You also do planning shifts, which means setting up stories for the next day, and assistant produce for the main programme – which often means being sent out to get interviews for big stories.

The best part of the job is the range of shifts, so you can see what you enjoy the most and get a chance to do everything.

Charley Bergman graduating.

Career highlights so far

In my short time at Calendar so far, I’ve already achieved so much that I’m proud of. I secured an exclusive interview with the family of Abi Fisher, a woman who was sadly killed by her husband. I went and spoke to her parents and I was so honoured to be trusted to tell their story. I also filmed my first package that went out on the main programme. I spoke to a 13-year-old girl who has an incurable degenerative disease and her family, who were helping her to achieve her lifelong dream of learning to ride a horse. I feel so lucky to have already had my own report go out on TV just a month after I graduated, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the MA or the support of my colleagues. I started on a six month contract which was quickly extended and I have learnt so much since working at Calendar. 

In March 2023 I won the Student of the Year Award at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2022.

My advice to anyone considering this course

To anyone thinking about enrolling onto the MA Journalism degree, I would say absolutely do it. It was the best decision I ever made. I had absolutely no experience prior to the degree; I’d never written for a student paper, or done any work experience at all, but the course gave me all the experience I needed to apply for any entry level journalism job and now I am already working in my dream career.