Jessica Thompson

Hi, I’m Jess

When I was a kid, I used to get in trouble in school because I had no pages left in my copy books. Why? Because I used to tear the middle pages out to make newspapers for my parents every Sunday. I was the editor, my siblings were the journalists and front page stories would include the cat’s latest adventures, or the unveiling of the cookie thief (who – spoiler alert – always turned out to be my sister).

I lost sight of that for a number of years as I pursued my dream of becoming a teacher, but when it came down to it, the career I went with was journalism.

I’m a strong believer in making my own way up the career ladder. My motto is “Build the steps to your own stairs”, and that’s what I’ve been doing since the day I accepted a place on the MA Journalism in NUI Galway.

Since I abandoned my dream of being a teacher, I have learned the ins and outs of journalism, blogging, radio and television. I spent my MA year learning about online journalism, becoming the web editor of Sin Newspaper, the editor of Studenty Galway, and a presenter and producer on Flirt FM – while also getting a 2.1 in my MA.

After college I had the skills to start my own website, The Daily Shift – an important step to the next rung of the career ladder which led me to become Editor in Chief of Sin Newspaper.

But while working with Sin, I kept building my skills, learning more about radio, working for the Connacht Tribune Group, building up a profile for myself in Galway. I did a lot of freelance work and got my byline into various publications, interviewing the most interesting people and constantly improving my skills and building my portfolio.

I took on the role of Editor at Go Wild Food Magazine, which was nominated for – and won – a Gourmand Best in the World Cook Book Award, giving me the opportunity to travel to China for a prestigious awards ceremony.

I even went back to my original dream of teaching and do some part-time lecturing in NUI Galway, passing my knowledge of journalism and multimedia on to aspiring journalists.

In 2017, I took a huge step in my career and left Galway to return to my home county, Longford, where I started working full time with the Longford Leader. For five years, I covered all the local news from entertainment and events, to council meetings and elections, to courts and crime and everything in between (except sport… sport is not my forté).

During those five years, I learned a lot, made valuable contacts, became part of the local community and even branched out a bit with some freelance work for the likes of RTE, The Irish Independent, and a range of other national newspapers.

In June 2022, I decided to leave the Longford Leader and go out on my own again. I have plans to travel and have even set up a travel blog, Travel Polar, which I hope to update with all my regular travel adventures. I’m also working on a fantasy novel, based on local folklore, while working on my second children’s book – a follow-up to Operation Blue Santa last year – which will raise funds for various charities in Longford, plus the Garda charity, Little Blue Heroes.

If you’d like to get in touch with a story or a freelance opportunity, feel free to get in touch.

Thanks for reading,

Jess

Education and Qualifications

Sept 2011 – Aug 2012: NUI Galway – MA Journalism (Qualification: 2.1)

Sept 2008 – May 2011: University College Dublin – BA in Music and English (Qualification: 2.1)

Employment History

June 2022 – Present: Freelance Journalist and Editor

Feb 2017 – June 2022: Senior Journalist at the Longford Leader

May 2014 – Feb 2017: Freelance Journalist/Editor

Sept 2014 – May 2015: Lecturer of Journalism, NUI Galway

June 2013 – March 2014: Editorial Projects Co-ordinator and Journalist at The Connacht Tribune Group

Sept 2012 – April 2015: Editor of Sin Newspaper, NUI Galway’s only student newspaper.

July 2012 – May 2015: Founder of The Daily Shift

April 2012 – May 2012: Intern at 3e’s fyi

Dec 2011 – July 2012: Editor of Studenty.me

Oct 2011 – April 2013: Presenter and Producer on Flirt FM, NUI Galway

Sept 2011 – May 2012: Journalist and Web-editor for Sin Newspaper