Fab four latest to join Newsquest as Facebook community reporters

Newsquest has recruited four more reporters so local communities will now have the chance to shout even louder — thanks to the Community News Project with Facebook and the NCTJ.

The two-year project involves regional publishers and aims to bring more diversity into newsrooms around the UK.

The latest cohort includes Elly Roberts, who started her role as community reporter at Swindon on April 8.

Elly Roberts

“I’m so excited to be joining the Swindon Advertiser,” said Elly, 26. “It’s wonderful to be able to contribute to high-quality journalism, which is really needed in an era of fake news and information overload.

“It’s really important to me that the different communities in Swindon are listened to and represented in the newsroom, particularly those who don’t feel their voices are currently listened to. I can’t wait to get stuck in!”

“I couldn’t believe it when I was offered the job, I was so thrilled.”

Elly is studying for an NCTJ diploma in journalism by distance learning and is due to complete the course this summer.

“Anyone who has studied the NCTJ diploma knows it’s intense, and doing it by distance learning whilst also working part-time was tough,” she said.

“There were definitely times when I thought it would never come together and happen for me, so I’m chuffed to have this opportunity.”

The Evening Times has welcomed one of the new reporters to cover the East End of Glasgow — and she is determined to make their reader’s voices heard.

Cat Cochrane, 42, is East End born and raised and lives in the area she will be covering.

Cat Cochrane

Cat believes this gives her a real advantage when it comes to making sure her patch of the city is fully represented.

She said: “The East End has a very particular character. It has a rich history and is a very proud place. I want to write about people from the East End that other people can really relate to.”

Cat had a real love of English literature and writing when she was at school but didn’t carry on to university. Instead, she says, she gained many qualifications from “the university of life”, travelling extensively and working in a variety of different jobs.

Cat said: “I ended up working in City of Glasgow College and when I was there my passion for writing was still with me so I did a creative writing course with the Open University.

“I realised that my passion for writing was still strong but that creative writing was never going to pay the mortgage or even one bill so I turned to journalism and realised I had found my true vocation.”

Elizabeth Birt has been appointed the community reporter at the South Wales Argus.

The 25-year-old began her new job on Monday, March 25.

Elizabeth Birt

Elizabeth, who previously wrote for a music website on a voluntary basis — eventually becoming deputy editor, said: “I’ve always really enjoyed writing and spent a lot of time writing for a music website.

“However, without the NCTJ qualifications, I knew I wouldn’t get anywhere in it professionally. That was until I saw the job for the Community Reporter advertised.”

Toby Emes has been appointed to cover specific parts of the vibrant Essex news patch, namely Billericay and Rochford.

The 19-year-old started his role in the south Essex Basildon office earlier this month.

Toby Emes

Toby comes into the role straight from education, having achieved three A-levels in English Language, history and sociology and will initially be an apprentice until he achieves his NCTJ qualifications.

He said: “I’m ready and up for this exciting new challenge. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me and one I intend to thrive within. I’m really looking forward to getting out there, getting the news and making my mark.”