Diary of a (wannabe) Journalist: Work Experience

Trying to make it in the world of Journalism can be a tough cookie to crack. All of us who have that inherent need to communicate with others via pen and paper (or keyboard and Blogger) struggle in how best to attain our dream job.

Visions of interviewing bands, traveling the world and seeing your name in print are often threatened by the harsh reality that you’ll end up copywriting fake tan adverts in order to make ends meet. English students fret that they should have taken Jo-Me-C degrees while Journalism students worry that employers will turn their nose up at an altogether more practical degree than Literature.

Then there’s internships. While advice giving magazines suggest that internships are the way forward, I feel that work experience where you actually get to work is more valuable. I’m yet to land an internship, but I have written for two print publications and three online sites consistently. I’d like to believe that a prospective employer would take more notice of the myriad of articles that I’ve had published than if I’d spent three weeks making tea at a magazine. That said, there is always that nagging fear at the back of my head that I haven’t got enough ‘proper’ experience. Would an employer care that I edited the Music section of my college magazine? When it comes to practical skills versus name dropping, I’m not sure whether I’m on the right track here. On one hand, I’ve been proactive by writing for free, but is an internship the only way to get your foot in the door?

Something to think about is getting involved in Student Media. The place where most wannabe journalists will cut their teeth, Student Media is a great chance to get involved and get experience of working for a publication. While you may not land a dream interview to begin with, there is plenty of scope for progression (as the Editors have to leave when they finish their degree!). By getting involved straight away, and putting up with being at the bottom of the food chain, I think it ups your chances of seeing your name in print.

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