Rachael Fulton

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What made you choose GCU and your specific course? 

GCU is the best University to do the course in because of the NCTJ accredition which is the only NCTJ accredited University in Scotland. You’re at an immediate advantage if you study the course because you come out with the accreditation. Otherwise, a lot of employers would look down on that, they’d be expecting you to have the NCTJ diploma. 

The facilities are outstanding, the whole radio suite they’ve got there is amazing. Les the technician is an absolute legend; he knows everything there is to know about the equipment and everyone, like I said, is willing to help so a plethora of reasons. I definitely made the right choice and I must have made the University some money because I constantly sing the praises of that course and encouraging those who want to be journalists to go do it. 

What are your memories of University?  Were you involved in any clubs or societies? 

One really great thing from our year, we were a really tight-knit group. I was the class representative. We had great chat, lots of in-jokes and we were a very supportive year group and we all got on most of the time, depending on whether it was news days or not! That can be a bit tricky but we all got on so well which made a difference when it came to sitting exams, having to hand in essays or having to pull 24-hour shifts in what we affectionately termed ‘the bunker,’ which was the 24-hour GCU lab. 

We would stay in the bunker and drink energy drinks and keep each other going when it came to hitting those deadlines and getting all our essays in. That sense of support within the class also echoed in the teaching staff, we really felt like there wasn’t a huge gap between you and them as you might see, or some of us might have seen in our undergraduate degrees elsewhere. It wasn’t us and the teaching staff and the lectures. We were all together, it was a nice set up in the sense you could go to staff for help and you could have a laugh with them as well. 

Can you tell me more about your current role? 

It’s a bit of a surprise career change because I was at STV for a while and then decided to go freelance but just as I was about to start my freelance career, I got a call from Mark (Miller, comic book writer) to say did I want to come in for an interview to be his editor so obviously that was an offer I couldn’t refuse. 

I now oversee the publication of his comic books so we produce this month, we’ve got two books going away but it’s only two or three comics per month. They run in series of six or seven. It’s a constant publishing schedule throughout the year. 

When I’m not doing that I work in magazines, doing a freelance shift there and that sort of thing. Mark’s job is my main job. 

What is your greatest professional achievement? 

One of my favourite, favourite things I ever did was the New Year show. We did a New Year music show and I wrote it and picked the music and presented it and it went out on a loop. It was great because I got people to, like, the people whose music was played were so excited they were included in the show and they were messaging me online being like thank you. That was probably my favourite. 

What advice would you give to current students and new graduates? 

The way I got my first job, or at least a helping hand, was we had lots of visiting lecturers who’d give us lots of very sound advice throughout the course and one of them was Shaun Milne who was editor of a new STV project and I said to him during the lecture that he was giving, “Are there any work experience opportunities?” and he was very keen to get us involved so actually making that initial contact is huge because we could’ve sat and said nothing or not introduced ourselves when the reality is these could be your future employers. 

Having the initiative to introduce yourself, say what you want to do and to explain to them that you’re going to work hard is massive I think. I think people appreciate you taking that first step and you’ve got nothing to lose unless you mess up your introduction. I don’t know how easy that is to do. 

I would also say get a good LinkedIn profile, and stay aware of all the social media trends, the quality, frequency and content of online articles have changed so much in the last five years, even since I graduated. Don’t blank yourself of new technology; learn new ways of reporting, new ways to consume news, to share news and all that. I think that will help you stand out.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

I am a freelance employed by Mark and I write magazine features as well. I did help out at a film festival recently as well, helping with festival development. 

In my free time, unpaid, I do a lot of writing. I do a lot of fiction writing, I do a lot of few projects there. I like to sign up for volunteering as well; my colleague and I went to Calais last year to make a short film about the refugee situation there so that was a big project, off our own back obviously. We did some volunteering down there so I’m signing up to do some more volunteering here. I’d like to continue that with asylum seekers hopefully.