Dear reader,

I am a digital reporter for Newsquest, covering sister sites across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. I have had the pleasure of meeting many people across the patch, albeit virtually, but for those I am yet to meet, here is a bit about me.

I am Hampshire born and bred having lived in a small village on the edge of the New Forest my whole life.

I cannot profess to be one of those people who knew from a young age exactly who and what I wanted to be when I grew up, in fact journalism seemed out of my reach for many years.

It was evident from an early age that my literary ability lacked far behind my peers, despite loving books I never could quite form words on a page much to my frustration.

The trials and tribulations I experienced whilst learning to read and write taught me perseverance and against all odds I fell in love with the English language.

Basingstoke Gazette: Behind the scenes at ITV Meridian Behind the scenes at ITV Meridian

Whilst studying English at college I was taken on a day trip to the local ITV Meridian studio, it sparked my interest in the journalism world and I set about applying for university.

During my time at college I also began to work with several charities and media outlets to raise awareness of child sexual abuse, online safeguarding and violence against women and girls.

At age 18 I was finally diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia and secured the support I needed to complete my degree in multimedia journalism and my NCTJ Dilpoma at Bournemouth University.

Basingstoke Gazette: My favourite place at Bournemouth University, the radio studio My favourite place at Bournemouth University, the radio studio

During my three years at university, I learnt from highly skilled and talented lecturers who sculpted me into the journalist I am today.

From creating a radio documentary on child sexual abuse to filming a TV piece on baby loss in the local community, my passion for journalism flourished.

Basingstoke Gazette: University awards evening where I won 'Best Video Journalist' and 'Highest Attainment' for my NCTJ diplomaUniversity awards evening where I won 'Best Video Journalist' and 'Highest Attainment' for my NCTJ diploma

Alongside my studies I undertook several work placements which included covering Donald Trump’s visit to Portsmouth with the BBC, reporting on the 2019 election for Sky News and working for Ian Dale on LBC.

After securing my first-class degree and gold standard NCTJ diploma I began to apply for jobs and landed my first role here, at Newsquest in August last year.

Basingstoke Gazette: Behind the scenes at my LBC work placement Behind the scenes at my LBC work placement

The last eight months have proved to me how important local journalism is and the community spirit I witness day in, and day out never ceases to amaze me.

Our role in the community is vital, local journalism keeps people informed, exposes wrongdoing, holds power to account, gives people a platform to be heard and provides entertainment.

At times the job can be difficult, covering emotional inquests or reporting particularly gruesome court proceedings, but what shines through it all is the strength of ordinary people who live through the unspeakable and just keep on going.

Local journalism embraces the weird and wonderful and it is a privilege to be able to share so many of your inspiring stories each day.

I hope you value our paper as much as we value you in the community and that through letting you see the person behind the byline, I have reassured you that reporters are not the enemy.

We are here to help so please do not hesitate to reach out if you have a story.

Megan Hinton

Trusted local news has never been more important but it needs the help of the public to survive. Since 1878, The Gazette has been serving the community with public interest journalism.

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