It’s a Wonderful Life


I nearly didn’t go to my interview for my first ever position in Palatinate. As a fresher who applied to the paper mostly out of  the need to get involved in everything Durham had to offer,  I didn’t expect for my application to even get me to interview, never mind the role. 

The only reason I walked into that interview that day, and the one who inspires me every day is my Grandma. 

My Grandma was from Consett, just down the road from Durham. Despite never going to University her contribution to student journalism is hard to quantify, working for 40 years in the role of secretary of Newcastle University’s student newspaper, Courier

During her time at the Courier, she inspired so many young journalists finding their feet. She nurtured young talents, helping them grow and even taking them to her home in Wallsend if she felt they needed the extra support. Many journalists have credited her support for being able to make it in such a cutthroat industry. 

Her impact is still felt: she was recently honoured in a list of influential people in media at Newcastle and an award is given every year to an aspiring student journalist in her name. 

Despite being a secretary, her work at The Courier went far beyond that. However, the support my Grandma gave The Courier no longer exists, even at Newcastle University. While Newcastle has more support than most institutions now,  the loss of people like my Grandma has been devastating. When many student publications are losing funding and publications like The Gaudie and Brig are fighting to survive, the importance of advocates like my Grandma cannot be understated or ignored. 

The importance of advocates like my Grandma cannot be understated or ignored

One of the hardest things about my time at Palatinate is the fact my Grandma never got to see my work. She passed away when I was 13 before I truly got to understand the work she had done with The Courier. I wish every day I sit in the Palatinate office that she was here to see me, so I could ask her questions about how she did what she did – how did she get all the tickets, how did she make money for papers and how did she make sure the writing of her students were always to her high standards.

I wish she got to read even just one of my articles, so I could say that my writing had been looked over by the amazing Monica Doughty. My Grandma would have been an incredible journalist, likely having edited a student paper for herself if she had been born only a couple of decades later. As one of her former student journalists once wrote “Fleet Street’s loss was Newcastle’s gain”. 

The title of my editorial pays ode to Its a Wonderful Life.  It is not hard to think about all the people my Grandma stopped from having a similar story, and the story they would have had if, like George, in the movie she had not gone down that path. The world certainly would have had fewer good journalists. 

Since this is our last edition of Palatinate before the holidays it is defacto our Christmas edition. So from all of us at Palatinate, we wish you an enjoyable holiday and for all those who celebrate a very merry Christmas.  

I wish she got to read even just one of my articles, so I could say that my writing had been looked over by the amazing Monica Doughty

This is my final edition as Editor-in-Chief so I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who have made this time what it has been. 

To my family: my Mum, my Dad, Libby, and my Aunt and Uncle for being constantly supportive and for making sure I have done some of my degree over the last 10 months. 

To my housemates both past and present – Luci, Rosa, Nicki, and Carrie for putting up with far more than I ever could have asked for, your patience was never-ending. 

To PalTV, especially Dylan and Lucy.

To Newcastle United (and Erling Haaland) for making the process sometimes better and Mercedes F1 Team for making this process harder. 

The entire Ed Board – your creativity never fails to astonish me, you are all truly the best that Durham has to offer. I would especially like to thank Elle and Cameron for being the best deputy Editor and Indigo Editor I could have asked for. Best of wives and best of women. 

I would like to also thank the Editors-in-Chief that I have worked under: Toby, Max, Poppy, Joe, and Nicole. To Dan who started this journey with me and whom I am endlessly grateful for all I learned from, and with, him. And to Joe, who I have enjoyed spending this term with and who I leave the paper in safe hands with. 

And finally, to my Grandma, I hope one day I will be half the journalist you would have been.

Image: The Courier

One thought on “It’s a Wonderful Life

  • Thanks a lot for your great work for Palatinate Emily, I’m sure you would have done your grandma proud and will continue to do so!


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