The Opportunity: A conversation with Penny Smith

‘At 17 I was living and travelling around Europe and was working as an au pair in Belgium when a letter arrived from Dad. He’d been in the local and heard a couple of blokes talking about a newspaper publishing group, EMAP, who were looking for a couple of cub reporters. So I wrote to EMAP and told them how I’d always wanted to be a journalist and was invited for an interview — I had to leave Belgium. I think I just talked nonsense at the editor but he gave me the job (on the Peterborough Evening Telegraph). It was only later that I discovered I’d been one of hundreds of applicants for two jobs.’

‘I still worry about being rubbish and thrown off a show or whatever. We all do in this business. But I am healthily competitive and that realism I mentioned earlier also extends to knowing what it is that I am good at. And we don’t stop learning and evolving.’

‘Take risks and don’t be afraid to fail. And do something you love, too. You never know where it might lead, nor, importantly, who you might meet along the way.’

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Nova

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Welcome to Nova. We are a small diverse charity with a big reach and novel approach to social change.

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