'Hold the front page.' It's YOU that makes my job as a journalist the best career | Sue Plunkett
Educated at an all girls' Catholic high school I remember vividly the moment I announced to one of the nuns who taught me that I wanted to be a journalist.
She was absolutely horrified! 'You will be entering a world of corruption' she shouted at me. She actually repeated the word corruption for good measure, and to get her point across I think.
I must admit at the age of 12 I didn't really understand what that meant, only that it sounded exciting.. and perhaps a bit dangerous!
Becoming a journalist was an ambition I had nurtured since the age of 10 when the then editor of the Burnley Express, the late Keith Hall, published some of my poems and stories. A couple of years later I was invited into the busy newsroom where you could hardly hear yourself think above the cacophony of several typewriters, phones ringing and people shouting across the office at each other.
It was hot, noisy and filled with cigarette smoke... and I loved it.
I felt that the team, made up of male and female reporters of all ages, were really doing something that was important, that mattered.
Fast forward several years and I joined a busy newsroom as a trainee reporter. The cigarettes were long gone and the typewriters were starting to be replaced by computers, but the basics of the job were still the same.
The job was a lot harder than I thought and for much of the time you were left to your own devices. But you certainly knew about it if you failed to get the story the news editor had assigned to you.
I went on to cover so many different types of stories and interview a range of people from all walks of life.
And without doubt it's the people who have made this job so enjoyable and memorable for me over the years.
From pop stars and politicians to everyday people, all with their own stories to tell.
Yes, I've had doors slammed in my face and people who did not want to speak to me let me know in no uncertain terms, but the wonderful folk I have met in the course of my job more than make up for that.
Many of the people I have interviewed have stayed in touch and some have even become good friends.
It has been a privilege to be part of someone's life, at the best of times, but also at the worst times, particularly in the past year. And while the press, and the media in general, are often slated and blamed for every ill going in society, the majority of people I meet are usually impressed when they hear the word 'reporter.'
"Ooh what an interesting and exciting job' they often say. And yes, looking back over my career I have to agree.
And, when someone takes the time to ring, text or email to thank me for writing their story, it makes me realise that my first instinct as a 14-year-old, that journalists were doing something that mattered and was important, was right.