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Catherine Norris Trent (BA French and Politics 2003)


After graduating, I did a Masters in International Relations and a journalism qualification. I went on to a career in TV journalism, working for BBC Newsnight and ITV before moving to Paris and working for the French international news channel France 24. I've been there several years and I am now a senior reporter. I travel around the world to film stories and cover breaking news. Highlights include interviewing Gaddafi and covering the revolution in Libya. I also present the English-language news bulletins at times.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I was actually first attracted by the Fine Arts department but decided to change to modern languages and politics in my first year! I decided to stay on at Reading because I really enjoyed the university and the beautiful campus. I appreciated the flexibility it gave to someone like me who clearly needed to change her mind!

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

So many good memories! I loved the variety of the courses and modules on offer and the excellent teaching. I worked in the Student Union and made lots of friends there.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Keep an open mind and try courses and activities you may never have thought of before.

If applicable, how did you benefit from spending a year abroad?

My year abroad in Montpellier in the south of France was an invaluable experience. It boosted my confidence and language skills enormously and opened my mind to another culture. It's a large part of the reason I have decided to return to live and work abroad. I'll always look back on my year abroad as one of the best times in my life.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in your sector?

Persevere, even though people will tell you journalism is a very competitive field. Work experience is key - volunteer at the newspaper and radio station and anywhere else you can find. Read a lot about the world around you, be prepared to work very hard.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

The careers centre advised me to do a post-graduate qualification in journalism - this is a good idea for those like me who had no family or personal contacts in the media to get a first foot in the door. It also gives you the practical skills employers are looking for.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Contact everyone you can to get some work experience or freelance work - that can often lead to a job offer in media. Turn up on time with lots of ideas and be well informed about the world around you.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

Reading University is where I became an adult and learned so many things. I can't imagine my life if I'd never been there! Favourite memories include picnics on the beautiful lawns and the legendary balls at Wells Hall.

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