Alumni Corner - Patrick Kelleher, Pretty in PinkNews

Former Deputy Editor Patrick Kelleher shares his University Observer experience and reflects on his career since then.I started writing for the University Observer as soon as I started studying at UCD, and when I was in my final year, I was appointed Arts and Literature Editor. The following year, I became Deputy Editor, where I learned the incredibly important skills of writing and editing far too many words in a night and surviving almost entirely on coffee.When I was appointed Deputy Editor of the University Observer in 2015, I felt a little out of my depth. I quickly realised that running a newspaper was going to be difficult and that I hadn’t a clue what I was doing.Thankfully, it all came together in the end. We were even named ‘Newspaper of the Year’ at that year’s SMEDIAS. It was one of the most rewarding things I had ever done, and it helped to give me my start in journalism.After meeting the Editor of the Irish Independent at that year’s SMEDIAS, I was offered an internship working in the newsroom at INM. It was a dream come true, and would never have happened without the Observer.The internship was both difficult and rewarding, but before long, I was writing news stories each day for the Irish Independent and the Evening Herald. I had stories on the front pages of both newspapers that summer and learned a huge amount about journalism.After my internship ended, I was kept on as a part-time news reporter for a few extra months, but that December I left due to illness. However, that wasn’t the end of my time in journalism, and I soon began writing for The Irish Times as a freelance features writer. I quickly realised that writing features was where my passion lay, and this is where I have focused my efforts ever since.I recently moved to the UK to take up a PR role, but ended up moving back to Ireland after eight months and going back to being a full-time freelance journalist. I thought I could turn my back on journalism easily enough, but it turned out that I missed it far too much. Going full-time freelance has been incredibly rewarding. I am now a regular freelance news reporter for LGBTQ+ news website PinkNews and still write features for The Irish Times.I am always grateful to the editors and friends I made at the Observer who gave me the chance to learn and thrive. It is still a brilliant newspaper and goes from strength to strength each year. Get involved – it will easily be the most rewarding thing you’ll do in college.