Even when I was really young, I was always writing – stories, poetry and even my own little ‘magazines’. I decided to study English at university and then joined the student paper in my second year. By the time I entered my final year, I had decided that journalism was something that I wanted to pursue as a career.
After graduation, I started my blog and secured a summer work placement at a small company who published lifestyle websites. I then undertook a post-graduate magazine journalism course, along with placements at weekly glossies and business-to-business magazines. I took on a job as a freelance copywriter to support myself whilst continuing with internships at women’s magazines and news agencies, before landing my first paid role.
To anyone who wants to get involved with journalism, I would say don’t give up; make sure you really know your stuff and never underestimate the value of making contacts. Those three things will stand you in good stead. It takes time and effort to make your mark – so don’t be afraid of rejection – and a lot of people like the ‘idea’ of working in the journalism industry, but haven’t thought seriously about the reality of it being a career as well. Being persistent and consistent will help you stand out and making the effort to write regularly will show you’re committed. Also, journalism is all about interacting with people (whether directly or indirectly through your writing), so be personable, professional and therefore hopefully memorable.
I do drink socially on some nights out, but never to excess. I currently work weekends as part of my shifts with Digital Spy and I make sure that I stick to soft drinks if I’m out on Fridays so I’m ready for a 9am start the next day. I do not believe that alcohol necessarily needs to be the foundation of a good night out.
Journalism is known for being a socially driven industry, which often inevitably includes drinking. However, knowing your limits is vital if you want to remain professional and produce good quality copy. At events and during interviews, you need to remain in control and alcohol consumption can easily hinder that, so being responsible is key.
I think that I have got where I am because I stayed focused on my goals, gave even the smallest duties my all and wasn’t afraid to approach people in the industry. I was offered an internship at Elle after I met one of the editors at a shopping event and left with her email address. I was then subsequently offered places at Company and Red magazines after I made the effort to visit each of their offices and hand my CV to editorial assistants in their features departments. Maintaining a presence on Twitter has also been invaluable – I found out about placement opportunities at Closer, BANG Showbiz and Popjustice via tweets.
I have kept in touch with people I have worked with at each organisation too, some of whom have let me know about further opportunities within the industry.
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