Confidence, communication and relationship skills

Journalism graduate Sarah Whittle in her job with the North West Ambulance Service
Sarah Whittle
Senior Communications Manager, NHS North West Ambulance Service
Journalism Studies BA
2010
After graduating from Sheffield, Sarah moved from journalism into PR. She's now using her skills to run the communications set-up at a busy NHS ambulance trust.

Please tell us about your career so far and the job you do now. How did your Sheffield journalism degree prepare you for it?

When I graduated from Sheffield University in 2010, I spent a year working as a trainee reporter at a local paper, before starting a job at a public relations (PR) agency.

Over the next couple of years I worked at two PR agencies, one in Sheffield and one in Manchester, with some interesting clients including charities, healthcare organisations, and large construction companies, before moving ‘in-house’ for the NHS in 2014 as a communications officer at a mental health trust.

My current job is Senior Communications Manager at North West Ambulance Service and I love it.

Our team is responsible for anything and everything communications-related, including: communications and engagement with our 6,000 staff, our patients and members of the public; managing social media channels and creating video content; organising events; working with production companies on television documentaries; crisis communication and reputation management; developing campaigns; and working with local and regional media to share positive stories and important public health messaging. 

Journalism graduate Sarah Whittle in her job with the North West Ambulance Service

If I could go back and do it all again, I would! This course does take hard work and dedication but it is definitely worth it. Sheffield University, and journalism studies in particular, has such a good reputation in the industry and the skills you learn will equip you

Sarah Whittle

Journalism Studies BA


Working for an emergency service can be demanding at times but I get to work with amazing people who save lives every day and I’m very proud to be part of the NHS.

My journalism degree prepared me for this, and every job I’ve had, in so many ways. The practical element of the course gave me confidence and skills in building relationships and taught me how to find and write a good news story, communicating complicated information in a clear, concise and relatable way. The course also gave me a good understanding of how a newsroom works and media law, which has been incredibly useful. As a reporter, shorthand was essential! I use this less now but it’s still handy to know from time to time.

Are you surprised to be working in a field that's not actually journalism, or were you always looking to other career options?

I’m not surprised as it was always something I’d had in my mind as a career path. I chose journalism because of my love of writing and all I knew at that point was I wanted to use my skills on something I considered worthwhile. I thought that might be as a journalist or in a PR/communications role for a charity or in the public sector, and here I am!

What was the single best thing about your degree at Sheffield?

For me, it was the hands-on, practical nature of the course. As well as the academic theory, you actually ‘do’ journalism and learn in a real-life setting, which is so valuable.

What advice would you give to someone who's now considering applying for a place on your degree course?

My advice would be to go for it – if I could go back and do it all again, I would! This course does take hard work and dedication but it is definitely worth it. Sheffield University, and journalism studies in particular, has such a good reputation in the industry and the skills you learn will equip you to go on to a career in journalism, public relations or communications, to name a few.

Students record in the radio suite

Our outstanding reputation for journalism

The Department of Journalism Studies ranks in the top 5 of all three of the UK's independent university league tables.

Explore the University

Discover what sets Sheffield apart at our next on-campus open day.