I could have been an accountant. Or a civil servant. That’s what my university careers service thought I should have done. Truth be told, I’d have probably been far richer!
Getting into journalism was impossible, that’s what they said. But I was determined. I wanted to become a journalist. Why?
I blame it all on m old friend Dominic Pride, who now runs digital marketing consultancy, the Sound Horizon. He was news editor of my university newspaper, and suggested I write some articles.
My first couple of efforts were undistinguished to say the least. A ‘court’ report about another friend who had been caught mooning at a police car; an investigation into the phenomenon of knicker snatching at the all-girl’s hall of residence.
But then the students were electing a new rector, I did the story and it all changed. I had discovered my perfect job.
It was a job where I could go out and about, meet lots of people, had the perfect excuse to ask some nosy and often downright intrusive questions, plus it offered continual variety, and a chance to exercise a bit of creativity.
That’s exactly what my career in newspapers and television has provided.
But first there was a paper to get out. I followed in Dom’s footsteps as news editor, with him as editor. And we had a great time.
We fulfilled every cliché. To get that paper on the streets, we worked into the night over light boxes with strips of copy, razor blades and wax (without revealing my age, it was well before the days of computers). We sat in the bar with the made up pages safely in a box by the table, and then once it came out, we’d sell it outside the union. We were so proud of our first few editions.
Of course, when I look back at it now I cringe. It was over pretentious and over written, but after all, that’s what student newspapers are meant to be like.
And it was the first step on the path to two local newspapers, two trade papers, two news agencies, one national newspaper, several years of TV news, getting on for 25 BBC documentaries and countless live events ranging from One Man and his Dog to the Prince of Wales’ wedding via Live 8 and the celebrations when England won the Ashes.
So thank you, St Andrews Chronicle!