Sunday Mail News Editor reflects on his time studying at UWS

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Sunday Mail News Editor and UWS alumnus Craig Robertson tells us about his time studying at the then Bell College (now UWS Lanarkshire Campus), his career in Journalism and recent appointment at one of Scotland’s biggest selling newspapers.

I joined what was then Bell College in Hamilton in 2002 for an HND in Journalism. The course always had a great reputation for success in getting students into jobs, for links with the industry and using real-world experience as part of the course.

In 2004 after completing the HND course – ahead of Bell’s eventual transformation into UWS – journalism turned into a degree course and I took up the option to do the third year of a BA Journalism before graduating in 2005.

“I’ve got a great respect for the journalism course at UWS which is one of the best in the country.

Craig Robertson

During my time at Bell I had always been told about the importance of doing work experience in a variety of newspapers and trying to come up with stories for them.

That I did and ended up with a decent portfolio of newspaper cuttings and a fair bit of work experience to put on my CV.

Towards the end of my third year I started applying for jobs and after a few knockbacks, I got a job as a junior reporter at the Dumfries and Galloway Standard.

I ended up spending seven years down there – moving from junior reporter to senior reporter then chief reporter.

I did lots of interesting stuff over the years including an award-winning campaign which saw the Scottish Government agree to build a multi-million pound road improvement scheme following the death of a child at an accident blackspot – after first refusing and telling the paper there was no money.

Towards the end of my time there I’d started doing a few Sunday shifts at the Daily Record and those shifts continued when I moved from the Dumfries Standard to become editor of one of its sister papers, the Kilmarnock Standard.

I spent a couple of great years there but eventually a job came up as assistant news editor on the newsdesk at the Daily Record in 2014.

I was seven years in that role and was at the forefront of some of the biggest stories in Scotland in recent memory as well as some of the major UK and international stories which have affected Scots.

Over my time at the Record I progressed to become deputy news editor for a couple of years before the opportunity came up at the Sunday Mail to be their news editor.

I lead a group of excellent journalists and work closely with a brilliant editor and production team.

Working at a Sunday paper gives you an opportunity to think a bit more about the kind of stories you want to tell, what the key issues of the week are and gives you a chance to set the news agenda for the week to come.

I’ve got a great respect for the journalism course at UWS which is one of the best in the country.

Whenever a graduate is coming to me for a job, if they have a UWS journalism qualification on their CV, it is always a guarantee that their application will go to the top of my pile as I know they will be properly trained and have a grounding in the industry.

I feel very lucky to be in the position I’m in and have a job that I love.

I put much of that down to the opportunities I’ve had over the years and the people who’ve given me them.

None less than the lecturers at Bell College – in particular Margaret Hughes and Amanda Geary – who allowed me into the course amid extremely tough competition for places.

Craig Robertson

Sunday Mail news editor

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