When I had my first article published for Young Shots this time last year, I couldn’t have imagined the opportunities that awaited me.
I was no stranger to journalism before BASC. I’d written for many local and even some national publications, but nothing very regular. My next challenge was a monthly column where I could have a consistent voice. My Young Shots column was thus a dream come true for an 18-year-old journalism student.
My first article, “A gun is a tool, not a weapon,” provoked a large and overwhelmingly positive response from the Shooting and Conservation magazine readership. This was a huge confidence boost which encouraged me to write a series of articles on shooting and wider rural issues which I hoped were thought-provoking and, at times, controversial. Not all these were well received by all, which was a really important learning curve for me. It helped me refine how I provoke debate through my writing but also allowed me to become a more assertive and defined writer.
A year on, a lot has changed. Through Young Shots, I had the opportunity to visit the Holland and Holland gun factory as well as their private shooting grounds for a feature which appeared in Shooting and Conservation magazine. I was also able to use my Young Shots credentials to persuade the Devon Wildlife Trust to show me round their two beaver reintroduction trial sites. A feature on this will be coming out in the next issue of the magazine. Aside from journalism, I’ve done my A-Levels and am now at Warwick University studying history and politics.
Looking forward to this year, I have a variety of things planned to further diversify my journalistic skills, which are only possible through Young Shots. I’m hoping to experiment with broadcast journalism, so being allowed to make some documentaries for BASC couldn’t have been a better opportunity to try this. This year also has a variety of opportunities for everyone writing for Young Shots, the visit to the Game Fair being one of which I’m really looking forward to.
My progress through Young Shots has also given me the skills to advance onto paid journalistic work with publications like the Western Morning News as well as BASC’s Shooting and Conservation magazine to name just a couple. I’ve also had interest from other well-known shooting and wildlife publications. This has led to me being appointed the Deputy Feature Editor at the Boar, my university’s award-winning student newspaper.
When I started writing articles at 16, as part of my Sixth-Form College’s journalism academy (Pearson JAx Academy), I couldn’t have imagined it’d have led to where I am now. With journalism, you rarely see or expect the opportunities that come your way, but it only takes one to give you your breakthrough. To anyone considering applying to Young Shots, I urge you to go for it. This could well be your break too.