Journalism Student Uses Writing To Overcome Life-long Disorder

In Adults, Employers, In the Press, News, School Leavers, University Level, on the 11th, December 2014

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Student Michael Hoyle, who is training to be a journalist

Darlington College student Michael Hoyle was one of 12 to graduate with a BA Hons degree in Journalism from Teesside University.

Northallerton-born, the 21-year-old, now of Barnard Castle, has stayed on at Darlington College to study the National Council for the Training of Journalists diploma.

But his achievements are all the more impressive as he was diagnosed at 14 with Asperger Syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum characterised by difficulties with social interaction.

“I was very withdrawn when I was at school and anxious around people,” said Michael.

“When I was diagnosed at 14 I think it helped me and my parents come to terms with why. But my studies have really helped me come out of my shell. In fact I now absolutely love getting out and talking to people. There is nothing like it in the world.”

Michael left Teesdale School in Barnard Castle after his GCSEs and enrolled at Darlington College on the Btec National Certificate in media, film and television.

After completing the course he took a Foundation Degree in Journalism, which he topped up to a BA Hons with a third year of study.

The course, which places a heavy emphasis on vocational studies, covers a variety of writing platforms, photography, broadcast, video and audio journalism, media law and ethics.

He is now on the multi-media NCTJ diploma, an essential qualification with which to secure employment in the communications industry.

“I remember being 13 and reading a Nintendo magazine which followed the day in the life of a reporter,” he said. “The idea I could have a career writing about something I enjoyed really appealed to me.

“I have secured some work experience on a local paper and just completed a feature on the history of the Teesdale Union Workhouse.

“I would love to secure a job as a local reporter and eventually specialise in writing about computer games.”

Michael’s NCTJ journalism tutor Sue Calvert said: “Michael is a great example of the successful progression students can make after school through the further and higher education system.

“When he finally leaves us he will be fully equipped for a career in the communications industry and his skills cannot fail to stand out to any prospective employer.”

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