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Journalists - am I too old to be a trainee?

(7 Posts)
FlorenceAndtheWashingMachine Wed 04-Mar-09 12:45:09


I am planning to start a distance-learning course later this year, which will lead to my taking the NCE exams in 2011.

I will need to secure work experience with a newspaper in order to get my portfolio together. I will be 43 when I finish my course. Do you see this as being an issue for the average editor? My previous experience is largely in editing and marketing.


smallorange Wed 04-Mar-09 20:35:44

I wouldn't say your age is an issue - are you looking at working in newspapers or specialising?

Also be aware that the industry is heamorrhaging staff at the moment due to the credit crunch, drop in ad revenues and the rise in internet use.

Also pay in the regional press is shite. I started on £10,000 a year - it may have risen to oooooh £12,000 by now!

Best job in the world when all goes well though!

FlorenceAndtheWashingMachine Thu 05-Mar-09 11:15:05

Hi Smallorange,

Thanks for your reply. I always intended to be a journalist, but life somehow swept me in a different direction. I am now in the position where I can't go back to work for a year or so (DD recovering from very rough start in life)and I want to make the most of the time. I have just finished the NCTJ's periodical journalism course and now feel I am ready to take on 'the biggy'.

I have always put job satisfaction over money, so that isn't really an issue. My hope is that our local weekly will take me on for work experience (I have some good contacts there). That will give me the chance to see if it's the right environment for me. There are a few other local options if they reject me!

I know that a journalism qualification is relevant to all sorts of roles and it will also back up my previous work experience, so I am keen on doing it on that front also.

Thanks very much for your advice. It's very much appreciated.


smallorange Thu 05-Mar-09 12:53:14

Hi Florence
I'd say the work experience on a local newspaper is a very good idea - you get involved in all sorts of things and get an idea of how things work.
It's very, very enjoyable work because every day is different, you meet all sorts of people and you can look after your own 'patch' which gives you a sense of satisfaction. I loved it but sadly have to seek a more lucrative career.

If you do work experience, try to get as much out of it as possible - try to shadow a reporter, go out with a photographer, try to write up a story if you go out on a job. Get the newsdesk to go through your work - don't feel upset if they criticise it, they are trying to help you. Oh and make the news desk lots of cups of tea. Biscuits go down very well too.

Look on for info on the state of the industry at the moment.

FlorenceAndtheWashingMachine Thu 05-Mar-09 13:26:35

Thanks once more. I am very good at making tea!

Off to look at the link - one to add to My Favourites I think.

smallorange Thu 05-Mar-09 13:29:51

Actually that sounds a bit patronising blush- but it's worth bearing in mind you have to push for the experience you need - they will happily leave you to sort out the stationery cupboard. Good luck.

FlorenceAndtheWashingMachine Thu 05-Mar-09 13:41:53

I didn't think you were being patronising at all. I'll do whatever I can to make that news desk beg me to stay!

I'm not proud. smile

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