Asha Patel was born and grew up in Leicester. She attended university in Southampton and graduated with a degree in Writing Fashion and Culture. She became an Editor for the Degree Magazine and was acknowledged for Editorial contribution at her graduation. Today, she writes for the Leicester Mercury as part of the £4.5m Community Journalism Project, which is funded by Facebook and led by the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).
Along with other journalists across the UK, Asha is giving communities a voice through news reporting.
1 Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?
Whenever I travel, I manage to feel at home wherever I go. But I was born in Leicester and the UK will always be home to me.
2 What are your proudest achievements?
"One of my proudest achievements has to be raising money for Alzheimer’s Society when I completed the London Landmarks Half Marathon in 2018.
My most recent is becoming a community journalist. Being able to put my education to use in a new role is a big thing for me."
3 What inspires you?
"People. I speak to people constantly as part of my job and almost everyone has a story or an interesting story. You can learn something from everyone."
4 What has been biggest obstacle in your career?
"My biggest obstacle has been my confidence. But being part of the Leicester Mercury has given me the opportunity to learn from a talented team. In doing so, my confidence has grown."
5 Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
I don’t think I can pinpoint anyone in particular. Seeing young people who work in the journalism and media sector has always been a big influence on me. We have more platforms to speak out about issues in our communities today and seeing people use them has influenced me too.
6 What is the best aspect about your current role?
The Community Journalism Project is new and there are so many great elements included in this unique role. The best (and main) aspect is giving wider communities in Leicester a voice.
7 And the worst?
I’m incredibly happy in my current role. Every job has its challenges - but it wouldn’t be exciting otherwise.
8 What are your long term goals?
My long term goals are to continue working as a journalist and reach corners of communities that are rarely explored. I’d also like to broaden my knowledge of different cultures. There are so many other goals I’d like to achieve - but I don’t think I could fit them into this one column.
9 If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
I don’t think I could handle that kind of responsibility! What I would look to change would be the representation of ethnic minorities in the media and the education system.
10 If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why.
I would prefer not to say!