News days are an integral part of the journalism course at UWS, set up to give students a glimpse into what it’s like to be a working journalist.
“It’s also about beginning to build up contacts,” Isla said. “We had two or three journalists come in – I think it was from BBC and Bauer Media. They spoke to me about what their jobs were like, and then I’ve ended up working alongside all of them.”
After graduating with a BA degree in 2014, Isla decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Broadcast Journalism at UWS in 2015.
As part of the degree, Isla was able to undertake work experience at Radio Clyde and STV. But she believes it was the work she put in in her spare time that really gave her an advantage after graduation.
“It was just building that portfolio before it was necessary, covering stuff that I wanted to cover,” she said. “I’m a bit of a feminist, so I always covered the Reclaim the Night marches. I’d go out, get a camera, get some interviews, come back the next day, edit it all together, and put it out on my YouTube channel.
“I still have them, and do you know what? They’re terrible! But I was getting the process done, I was getting into the routine of it. And every time I did one of those stories I’d get faster and I’d get better.”
Isla graduated in 2016 with a MA in Broadcast Journalism, and it wasn’t long before she was working as a freelance journalist for radio stations across the country, including Tay FM, Kingdom FM and Moray Firth Radio.
Since 2019, Isla has been the Inverness reporter for BBC Scotland’s The Nine. She says it’s ideal for her. She is back home in the Highlands and working for one of the biggest news broadcasters in the world. She may have fallen into journalism “accidentally” – but she turned it into a passion, and subsequently, an impressive and inspirational career.