In a special edition of ’10 minutes with’, Emily Dalton sits down with Newsworks to talk about making the switch from hospitality to journalism, her dream of being a foreign correspondent and her flamboyant choice of fantasy dinner party guest…
First off, congrats on your award. How does it feel?
I’m over the moon about it! I was ecstatic to even be short-listed so it feels great that people like my work.
How did you get into student journalism?
I’ve been interested in journalism and current affairs for a long time but never felt confident or qualified to do. My family and I would often talk what was happening in the news and politics at the end of the day.
It was only after doing my undergrad when I realised — why am I denying myself something I want to do? So I applied for a Journalism MA. I was working in hospitality at the time and just loved talking to people and hearing their stories. Journalism gives me the opportunity to write about human experience and speak truth to power.
What makes student journalism important to university life?
It’s a really good way for students to try out new things, see what works and what doesn’t in a relatively risk-free way. Students can be an elusive presence in cities — seen but never heard. Student publications can really empower students to raise their voice and talk about what matters to them and hold people to account.
What’s been the highlight of your student journalism career so far?
Other than winning an award? I’ll never get tired of how much people genuinely want to talk to journalists and share their experience. You feel really valued and like you can make a difference.
Best scoop (yours or someone else’s)?
I’m in awe of investigative journalism. Partygate, the Windrush scandal, MPs’ expenses — they’re all brilliant work that has profoundly shaped politics, the way we hold power to account and how society acts today.
Why does journalism matter to wider society?
There’s a famous George Orwell quote about journalism is printing something that someone else doesn’t want printed. It’s about holding power to account for their actions or inactions and platforming human experiences. Speaking truth to power is essential but it’s the storytelling that readers connect to, not a list of statements.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently applying for political reporting roles and would love to be placed in a national paper. My dream is to be a foreign correspondent reporting on politics and society in another country. I’d love to branch out into broadcast and podcasting more — you get to have conversations with super interesting people and share them with the world.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I struggle with favourites, so have two.
1. Fake it until you make it. No one knows what they’re doing so pretend you have the confidence and go for it.
2. Approach everything with intention. It seems obvious but often we just go through the motions with things that seem familiar. Intention allows you feel a lot more connected with what you produce.
Who or what inspires you most?
I think inspiration comes in the everyday. We pick up little habits and characteristics from people around us, whether they are friends, family or people we’ve worked with. But I think a healthy amount of northern grit also goes a long way.
Who would be your fantasy dinner party guests and why?
I’m a bit of a literature geek so I would love to have Oscar Wilde. I just adore his witticisms and flamboyance.
Gym or gin?
I’m a bit of a gym gal but I struggle to say no to a drink if I’m in good company.