"It was intellectually stimulating"

"It was intellectually stimulating"

Hortense Chauvin, graduate from the Joint Master Journalism and International Affairs
  • Hortense ChauvinHortense Chauvin

Pouvez-vous décrire votre parcours académique et professionnel? May you describe your academic and professional background? 

I did a bachelor in History and Literature at McGill University, followed by a joint master in journalism and environmental policy at Sciences Po. During my last year at Sciences Po, I had the opportunity to co-write an book on peak oil with Matthieu Auzanneau, a leading expert on the topic. When I graduated, in 2021, I was hired by Reporterre, an independent French media specialized in ecological issues, where I had done an internship during my master.

Quel poste occupez-vous aujourd'hui? A quoi ressemble votre travail au quotidien? What is your job title today? How is your daily routine?

I am still working for Reporterre, with a team of 14 journalists. My main focus is science, energy, and biodiversity, but I always have the opportunity to cover stories that are not directly related to my specialties if I want to. I am lucky to do a lot of reporting, inside and outside of Paris. I also write a lot of analytical stories. I feel very privileged, because even though I sometimes have to respond quickly to breaking news, I have the time to write in-depth articles. And, last but not least, the atmosphere in our newsroom is great !

Quelles ont été les contributions de votre formation à la fonction que vous occupez aujourd'hui? What were the main takeaways from your degree?

I definitely gained a lot from my degree. After my bachelor, I was very interested in environmental issues, but lacked scientific knowledge about them. I had taken courses on environmental literature, environmental anthropology and ecological philosophy, but I did not have an in-depth understanding of how climate change and biodiversity concretely work. My courses at PSIA allowed me to familiarize myself with the concepts that I now manipulate daily. My teachers were all leading experts on climate change, ocean, biodiversity etc. They provided me with the basics that I needed to cover environmental stories. Some of my courses even gave me ideas for future stories, and I sometimes interview former professors. During my degree, I also loved combining hands-on journalism with a more reflexive training at PSIA. It was intellectually stimulating, and suited my need to keep on learning new concepts during my master.

Quels souvenirs gardez-vous de votre école, de votre promotion, de vos enseignants? What memories did you keep from your school, your cohort, your teachers?

The Joint Master was intense in terms of workload, but I keep good memories of this experience. It was very enriching to be a small cohort of international students, with very different backgrounds. I have excellent memories of most of my teachers at the Journalism Cchool. Some of them really changed the way that I approach writing and journalism. They all gave us valuable insights on how the media industry works, and were always willing to help us in our job search. A lot of the teachers at the Journalism school were not French. As a French student, it was very interesting to discover how professional journalists work and perceive journalism in an international perspective. It was also great to discover so many different journalistic formats. Even though I decided to focus on writing, I gained a lot from my photography, radio and documentary classes.

Quels conseils donneriez-vous à un étudiant qui souhaiterait devenir journaliste aujourd'hui? What advice could you give to a student who would like to become a journalist?

Follow your guts ! I sometimes felt out of place during my master, because I was not interested in doing TV or joining big international newsrooms, as a lot of the other students were. I should not have felt that way : as journalists, I think it is very important to follow your own specific interests, rather than trying to fit the mould. The best stories will be the ones that you are truly passionate about. Develop your specificities, and believe in the way that you want to practice journalism. Retrospectively, I am very happy that I decided to focus on ecological issues early on in my master, even though a few people told me that I was a little bit too monomaniac. Luckily, we had a lot of teachers, with very different types of experiences. Speaking with them taught me that there are as many ways to practice journalism as there are journalists.

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