Victoria Quinn: BA (Hons) Journalism 2015-2018 Q Radio Presenter and Content Creator

22 Dec 20
A woman sitting at a radio desk

“Winchester was big enough for me to leave my Belfast bubble yet small enough to have amazing and unique experiences. London would have been too overwhelming for me. I made such good friends at Winchester and the Journalism lecturers teach from experience – they’ve been there and done it all.”

Victoria Quinn has gone from presenting a student radio show to hosting her own late night show at one of Northern Ireland’s top radio stations. Since graduating in 2018 with a First in BA (Hons) Journalism, Victoria has worked for organisations in Northern Ireland including Ulster Tatler and Q Radio where she currently presents her own show.

“I’m lucky I got a journo job straight out of university. Ulster Tatler, a glossy mag in Northern Ireland reached out to me after graduation and I did that for a year but I still felt presenting was what I wanted to do. I was always contacting radio and TV places asking for work experience. I had been in and out of Q radio doing work experience for a while and sending demos and making it known this is what I wanted to do career-wise.”

“When there was a station shake-up, I sent a demo and landed my own show. It’s on at 10pm-1am which is late but I love it and there’s never a quiet moment! I still get nervous sometimes so I just pretend I am chatting to one person. I would stutter if I thought about everyone listening.“

Victoria credits the course for giving her the experience needed to present and produce content; two skills she uses on a daily basis at work.

“The main thing that helped on the course was the Winchester News Online module, known as WINOL. You consistently have to produce content. It prepares you for the world of work when you’ve already been toughened by the module.“

“It gets you on screen which helps so much even with radio because there are a lot of social media videos and lives you need to present when working at a radio station. When doing the course, you are developing skills like presenting, being in the newsroom and working the gallery. I actually find my ‘real- life’ job less stressful! Doing a lot of vox pops prepared me when it comes to speaking to random listeners about anything and everything on a phone call. It is the practicality of the course that makes it such a useful experience.“

Victoria adds that going to Winchester to study Journalism gave her opportunities she may not have had if she chose to study at home.

“Specific experiences like my work experience at Loose Women and my road racing documentary about Guy Martin – I couldn’t have done those if I had stayed in Belfast.“

“I did some work experience at Loose Women. I went up to London for the day with my boyfriend and we bumped into a man who was also from Northern Ireland. He worked for Loose Women. I mentioned I studied Journalism at Winchester and managed to land work experience out of that encounter which led onto working as a paid runner on the show for a few days. If I hadn’t gone to Winchester this wouldn’t have happened.“

“Guy Martin could only give me one day to film for my documentary. It could have gone very wrong but my lecturers encouraged me to go for it because only having one take and working to tight deadlines are what working in the industry is really like. I was really worried but it actually turned out brilliantly. I was shortlisted for a Royal Television Society Award and came runner-up at the BJTC Awards for best original story at BBC MediaCity for creating that documentary.”

“Doing Winchester News Online has also given me skills to make YouTube videos. I see YouTube as a side job. I chat about mental health and the radio industry as I know how difficult it is to break into. People ask me on Instagram for advice about radio because there aren’t many examples of young female presenters in Northern Ireland and I hope that changes.”

Being a trainee journalist often meant Victoria’s schedule was busy, yet she still found time to take part in activities she loved doing, including additional radio opportunities. Throughout University, Victoria was a member of both the Cheerleading Society and Sound Radio. In her second year, she became Vice Chair of Sound Radio – this is something she made sure to mention when looking for work.

“I did cheerleading at uni for fun but it didn’t help me in my career.”

“However, I can’t put into words how much doing Sound Radio helped when reaching out to radio stations. I was Vice Chair in my second year of uni and it meant I could prove that I went out of my way to get extra experience.”

“I’ve had lots of people reach out that want to work in radio yet they’ve never been out and got the experience like student or community radio or even made a demo to back up what they’re saying. Radio is such a competitive field. It’s important to show how much you want to do it with actions not just words.”

Victoria has many happy memories from her time at Winchester but particularly remembers an experience reporting in London for Winchester News Online with a course mate.

“My friend and I did a live broadcast from Westminster during the Brexit Referendum in 2016 and we were so nervous that we got there early. However, this meant we got a prime spot to film outside. To the left of me there was the BBC and to the right ITV – we were in the middle of it all.”

Victoria loves her job and has worked hard to get into the radio industry. However, she is currently focused on changing her night shift to a day shift, hoping to work her way up and one day present breakfast radio.

“My goal is to go into presenting breakfast radio eventually and stay in the helm of the top stations like Q Radio. I also plan to grow my social media presence so people can get to know me on a more personal level. Someday it would be fun to be waking listeners up instead of wishing them goodnight!”

Now that Victoria has experience working for a top radio station, she has some great advice for students hoping to get into the industry.

“Make yourself and your career goals known to stations through constant work experience. This way, when there’s a station shake-up, you have a better chance of being in the right place at the right time.”

“Do anything you can to get your foot in the door for work experience. This could be anything from making cups of tea to operating the tech.  I’ve been into stations on news work experience in the past and managed to end up shadowing the show presenters.”

“Make strong connections. Keep checking in with companies you want to work for in case there are any shifts going and learn from your mistakes. I sent horrible demos and got feedback on them and then improved them.”

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