During my time at sixth form college I indulged my passion for writing by joining the student newspaper. From monthly meetings to looming deadlines, my time as a features writer and music editor taught me several useful lessons worth sharing.
At the start of each issue’s pre-production stage, all the writers would discuss their career aims and interests so that the sections of the paper could be shared out accordingly. Initially we’d begin work on each issue by stating what could or should be improved, which features worked well, and what underlying theme each issue should adhere to. Sticking to topics such as Travel, The Future or Music made it all the more easier when it came to pitching articles.
On the final edition of the paper that I worked on: the music issue, I was in my element and zealously pitched article after article. My general advice for proposing features to your editors would be to push yourself to take risks, but never promise a piece if you doubt your ability to deliver it. When thinking of content, I suggested the idea of interviewing a few bands and set about arranging email, and ‘real’ interviews.
Use your contacts
A friend of mine’s band (Just Carnage) were in the midst of recording an EP, so I interrupted their after-college practice for a quick chat, and the finished interview made it into the Culture section of our student magazine. At this age, mates or mutual friends are probably your best bet when it comes to connections, however the Anavae guys were happy to answer a few questions over the internet too. In essence, show enthusiasm, come up with original ideas and deliver the finish project; and they might even let you write the editor’s letter.