Calling all Journalists!(7 Posts)
I have a degree in English and my ambition was to become a Journalist. Unfortunately circumstances worked against me, so that dream was obliterated for a while.
Now however I am in a better position and would really like advice on starting a career in Journalism. What is the best route to take, considering I have no experience?
I would be so appreciative of any advice or offers of work experience.
Look into doing an NCTJ-accredited course and get lots of work experience/internships under your belt. That was how I became a journo (although it was 15 years ago). If you haven't got one already, start a blog so people can see evidence of your writing style. Blogging is also a great way of developing your writing and will give you something to show an editor when you apply for internships.
It's a wonderful career. Badly paid and hard work - but wonderful all the same. It's also ridiculously competitive, as I am sure you are aware. So, be prepared for rejections - or even being completely ignored - when you apply for work experience. Keep plugging away, though, and something will come up. One of the skills of a hack is persistence, so you will be demonstrating your commitment and determination if nothing else.
Check out Indeed.com (or might be co.uk) which often has internships. Journalism.co.uk does too. I've heard opportunities are often put on Twitter - so follow all the publications, editors etc you can. Check out social media for other trainee journo forums, twitter parties etc. Or just contact every editor of every publication you can think of offering your services! Don't forget the local newspapers. You'll stand more chance of getting work published on a local than a glossy mag or popular website.
Sorry if you already knew about all this stuff, but hopefully some of it was useful. Feel free to PM if you need any more advice. Good luck!
I wouldn't pay for an nctj - best to get a job on a local newspaper and they will pay for nctj while you work for them. It's in at the deep end and rubbish pay but you can just use it as a training ground. I worked my way up to a senior role fairly quickly but moved over to communications - better pay and hours but couldn't have done it without the local paper training.
Lots of work experience - if you impress then it could lead to a job.
My Realname and Motherofdragons thanks ever so much for your advice. It's made my day.
Sorry to be the bad fairy, but I have to disagree with some of what has been written. I have started to turn down requests to give career advice to schools, as I question whether it is a career I should be encouraging others to enter. I agree it is a fabulous career etc, and I don't regret the 25 years I have spent in magazine industry, and yes, local papers give a great grounding, but things are harder than ever. Local papers are disappearing fast. Free content is killing journalism. As a result journalism and PR are getting squished together ... my advice? Get your tech skills sharp. Coding, video, CMS. If readers won't directly pay for the fruits of your labour as it's free online, writers need to be paid by companies who need content. It's journalism meets copywriting meets PR - vaguely related to journalism I guess. Oh and DON'T put your age on your CV! Good luck ...
I agree somewhat with last poster - although if you have the time and are really determined, you can still get a start in journalism. I know a few people who have managed it in recent years but it isn't for the fainthearted.
I am a qualified journalist (NCTJ) and for a few years after leaving newspapers, I made a reasonable living from freelance work - mags, online etc. But in the past 2-3 years, there has been a major shift towards free content - or very badly paid, such as some of the postings on pph website.
I now teach journalism part time and I do feel for the graduates who are all hoping to become journos. There is so much competition. Universities are now flooded (well, some are!) with hundreds of youngsters training for sport or fashion journalism - yet jobs are very limited so most won't realise their dream.
Happy to give you any help or advice if you do decide to go for it
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