Student Re-Union with Dan Bichener

If you studied at CCCU between 2018 and 2023, chances are you’ll recognise Dan (BA (Hons) Multimedia Journalism, 2021), who served as Christ Church Students’ Union President for two years during that time. Today, Dan works in radio, and has got in touch to share where his journey has taken him since.

Tell us about your new role

I work as a journalist and newsreader for Radio Essex. My main responsibilities include writing news bulletins and reading them live on air, as well as sourcing original audio through interviews. I work the breakfast shift, so I read the news on the hour, every hour, from 6am until 12pm. This can sometimes include chatting to the presenters on air after I finish my bulletin.

What made you want to choose a career as a broadcast journalist?

The Multimedia Journalism degree at CCCU gave me so much insight into different areas of journalism, and during my time on the course I particularly enjoyed radio. What drew me to it most is that a typical news bulletin could be between 2-3 minutes long, and in that time you are trying to inform people, so your writing has to be concise while still including the important information.

What is your favourite thing about what you’re doing now?

Reading the news live on air is exciting and the thrill I get each hour means I look forward to work every day. I also enjoy and appreciate the responsibility of being able to inform people of what is going on in the world and what is going on that could matter to them. For example, if someone is waking up in the morning or in the car on their way to work and have the radio on – I could be informing them of a big news story for the first time.

What are your goals for the future?

I want to continue in this industry and most importantly continue to enjoy what I currently do. I’m very lucky to have a job that I enjoy.

“CCCU was the best place to study and it always felt as though you were part of a community. What’s great is that even after you leave that doesn’t change. I’m very proud to be an alumnus and I always enjoy talking to people about my time there.”

If anyone reading is thinking of working in radio, what advice would you give them?

Before starting my current job, I wrote to lots of different radio stations and took any work experience I could get. Without reaching out I wouldn’t currently be working in radio, so my advice would be to message different stations to ask for work experience or to see if there are any opportunities to shadow a journalist.

Why did you come to study at CCCU?

As I was finishing my A-Levels I knew I wanted to study journalism at university and, after going to lots of open days, CCCU was the one that stood out. That was because everyone was so friendly when I first visited the campus, the course seemed fun and included everything that I wanted to learn about, and I liked the idea of being at a campus right in the heart of a city.

How does what you do now compare or differ to your time as CCSU President?

The roles are very different but I think one thing they share is a certain level of responsibility and trust. I felt that during my time as CCSU President there were things we implemented as a team that are still benefitting students now. I feel the same in my current job, as I have a role where I’m delivering the news to an audience and have to ensure they trust me and trust what I am telling them.

What is your fondest memory of your time at CCCU/Canterbury?

Despite it being a difficult time during the pandemic, and not how I expected my final year at university to be, the way my lecturers responded and kept the course going was incredible. Our final year was very different, but I have fond memories of the whole course coming together to make a TV news programme whilst we were all stuck at home. Aside from my studies, I was very fortunate to be CCSU President for two years, a role which I loved, a role which let me work closely with students, helped me gain so many different skills and introduced me to so many amazing people.

How did your time at university impact on your life and career post-education?

My course and my time in the Students’ Union have both given me many skills that I have taken with me into my current role. I have only been a journalist for 6 months but I’m really enjoying it and that’s only possible because of everything I gained from CCCU and CCSU.

What does being a CCCU alumnus mean to you?

CCCU was the best place to study and it always felt as though you were part of a community. What’s great is that even after you leave that doesn’t change. I’m very proud to be an alumnus and I always enjoy talking to people about my time there.