Student Journalist Gets National Press Attention
11 June 2019
When parliament voted for an extension to the Brexit process on 3 April, Kira Taylor, second-year BA(Hons) Journalism student and (at the time) political correspondent for Cornish Stuff, had her finger on the pulse. Her interview with local Conservative MP, Derek Thomas, went viral, resulting in attention from several journalists, Buzzfeed and the BBC.
In Kira’s exclusive interview with Derek Thomas, he admitted that he regretted his vote against the government, which resulted in 312 votes against 313. Had he not voted the way he did, the outcome would have gone the other way, favouring a no-deal Brexit.
In this interview, Kira tells us what it was like to get national press attention, why she’s so passionate about politics and what it’s like to interview politicians.
What was it like interviewing Derek Thomas, particularly in this political climate?
I still find interviewing politicians strange; being a political correspondent is my ambition, so to be doing it already is amazing, but very new to me.
It’s amazing interviewing MPs because you get an insight into Westminster and what might be about to happen. You see a different side to the politicians and normally have a conversation before and after the questions.
Interviews with politicians are crucial at the moment because politics is changing so quickly. It’s important for constituents to know what their MP is voting for and how it will affect them.
How did it feel to get national press attention for your story?
It was amazing. It happened quickly and travelled further on Twitter than I thought a story by a young journalist could. I was proud to see my work get so far, although it was strange!
Twitter is so important for modern political reporting and I’ve been trying to replicate the work of the national journalists, who ended up retweeting me, which was amazing. I couldn’t believe it when Alex Wickham, of Buzzfeed, retweeted my work.
Being called by the BBC and being asked to explain the story was surreal. I was in a state of shock for most of the rest of the day. It was really exciting.
Why political journalism?
Politics is fascinating at the moment because it’s shifting so rapidly. The old traditions and party lines are blurring and everyone is now watching to see what happens next.
I started looking into journalism because I wanted to give people a voice. Politics is an odd place to end up after entering journalism for that, but keeping the general public in your mind, rather than MPs and the Westminster bubble, whilst reporting is key.
Politics is so important to report on because it’s vital to people’s lives. It needs to be translated from the jargon heavy halls of Westminster to how it will affect people.
That’s a challenge I love.
Image: Kira Taylor interviewing Steve Double