Q&A with Mahima Abedin, John Schofield Trust Fellow and CfJ student

Mahina Abedin profile picture

“I meet the best people, have the greatest support system around me and have endless opportunities to throw myself toward”

How did you become involved in the John Schofield Trust scheme?

I first heard about the scheme when a lecturer spoke to us about it. We then had a talk with representatives from the scheme where we learnt more about what they have to offer and how respected it is in the world of Journalism. After that talk I just knew I had to apply because I knew this was a rare opportunity that had so many benefits, so I took my chances and thankfully I got in.

What’s your mentor like?

My mentor is Merlyn Thomas – BBC’s climate change disinformation journalist. Firstly, to have a mentor that is already in the industry and can give me advise based on real life experiences she has had is a blessing. But to have someone that is understanding and takes the time out of her busy day is even better. I knew of Merlyn because she had come to the university to share what John Schofield Trust offered her as a young journalist that was trying to pave her path. When I heard she was my mentor I was over the moon.

Having Merlyn as my mentor has been amazing so far, she is kind, patient and willing to help and listen. Whenever I have a question or want to talk about something whether it’s related to journalism or not – although most of the time it is, she tries her best to fit me into her schedule and we have a call until we find a solution to the problem.

I haven’t actually been able to meet Merlyn in person yet but I’m hoping too soon. As an alternative is make sure we fit in a Facetime call every two or three weeks to have a catch up and they’re usually not shorter than half an hour because we’re chatting away. I drop Merlyn a quick message whenever I’m struggling or am interested in a topic that I know she will be able to give advice on. She’s also reassured me multiple times that I can give her a quick call if I ever need to.

Can you tell us what kind of things you’ve gained from being involved?

I have met amazing people such as Merlyn who has helped me grow in confidence and I have seen improvements made in my work already.

From practicing how to pitch and her giving me advice on how to project my voice as these were things I used to struggle with, I have been more conscious of it and have actively been working on it. Now I can happily say that I feel as if I am becoming more confident in doing both of those things.

Other benefits include being connected to other young people who are interested in journalism and seeing the work they produce as well as being able to connect with one another.

Has networking provided you with lots of journalist contacts? How will those contacts help in your chosen field/career?

The networking on the scheme has provided me with more contacts, however I have also managed to create a contact list through news stories that I have been working on. These contacts are so important in journalism because networking is essentially at the centre of the field I want to go into. You must communicate, listen, and respond to people and everyone you meet along the way has something to offer and can help you in a different way. Think of it as a chain, you meet one person, they have the key to connect you with ten more and those can connect you to many more and so on.

The scheme also hosts master classes which you can join online or in person. These are beneficial because its experts giving you advice so who would want to miss that? I’ll be attending one soon sometime in June where I’m sure I will make more contacts and meet some amazing people.

Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in journalism?

To anyone considering a career in journalism, I say go for it because I’m telling you, you won’t regret it. I’m in my second year now and I can honestly say there has never been a day where I have regretted picking this course as my degree and career path. I meet the best people, have the greatest support system around me and have endless opportunities to throw myself toward and there’s no doubt that anyone who is considering this career will have the same. That’s not to say that you won’t struggle, at times it can be hard, but the hard work really does pay off and once you see the results the happiness you feel cannot even be explained.