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Evan Hall has moved swiftly from graduating with a BA in Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading in 2019, to holding the role of Production Journalist with ITV based in St Helier, Jersey in 2021.

“My job varies from day to day, which includes planning and setting up stories for the programme; producing bulletins, questioning interviewees as well as running ITV Channel’s website and social media accounts’

Evan describes what initially attracted him to study at Reading’s Department of Politics and International Relations:

“I chose to study at Reading due to the amount of practical elements included within modules, from ‘Politics and the Media’ where I was a part of a team running a weekly politics radio show to ‘Parliamentary Studies’ where we had various visits and talks with experts within the British Governmental system. A personal highlight was the ‘British Government’ module where I undertook a two week academic placement within the Houses of Commons which I combined with my interest in media to look at minorities’ parties’ use of the media.” 

Bring your studies to life

Evan goes on, what was excellent about Reading was the balance between practical and theory within the modules, so he was able to gain a greater and more in-depth knowledge during the practical side. This was exemplified during the Politics and Media module, which involved meeting experts from the field to back up and illustrate how the real working world operated.

One of the main highlights from Reading for Evan was being a part of a team producing and presenting the weekly politics radio show:

“It gave me the confidence, drive and passion to try new things and take risks. From this I was put forward for many other extra opportunities to enhance my media experience which included appearing as a regular guest contributor on BBC Radio Berkshire and being a part of the team hosting political events with names such as John Bercow and Alistair Campbell."

The course gave Evan the flexibility to study a wide range of theoretical and practical modules as well as the practical experience within each module which he still uses in his working job today.

“I always had an interest in UK Politics, so modules like ‘Parliamentary Studies’ allowed me to dive in deep about how our Government works, but at the same time the module ‘British Government’ allowed me to go on the ground, put my knowledge to the test and see what the outcomes would be like in the real world.
A real turning point in my career pathway was speaking to experienced academics in the Department who didn’t always discuss academia but were kind enough to talk about me and how they could maximise my potential to move onto the next step on my career pathway. This, alongside the day-to-day advice they gave me, helped clarify what I wanted to achieve, how they could help and what my goals were to succeed.”   

Learn to communicate like a pro

Another huge skill or advantage Evan gained whilst at Reading was the confidence and ability to speak his mind. This was especially prevalent in the second and third years of his degree where topics were discussed in small seminar groups. This promoted debate and discussion which made Evan realise that having a unique opinion doesn’t make it wrong - an essential tool to take forward in our polarised world.

In his job now, Evan has to critique programmes, think about treatments of items and how to balance bulletins out. On the news desk there is constant debate about these issues and Evan is glad he has the confidence to speak up and sometimes disagree with people far more experienced. All the University debates and seminars have bolstered him hugely in this arena.

“The seminar, debates and scenarios in Reading have given me the confidence to pitch ideas and treatments which have subsequently been used and adopted.”

What would Evan say now to someone considering studying Politics & International Relations at Reading?

“Don’t come with a fixed idea of what you want to achieve; instead be open and try things. I had never really thought how politics and the media linked, but Reading provided me with that gateway to try them and love them."