Job market / Work experience

Tips for getting into publishing and journalism

We’ve been busy this term hosting our series job sector events, designed to give you a window into the professional world. Last week it was the turn of publishing and journalism – a big draw for Warwick students. Julia Morrongiello, final year PPE student and careers rep, went along to get the inside view. Over to Julia….

Welcome to the world of multi-tasking

With the rise of the internet, the publishing and journalism industry has changed dramatically. Media content now comes in various forms – print, social media, websites, apps, and more. Multi tasking coordination and controlAs a result, journalists are now required and expected to do much more. In other words, today’s journalist or publisher must be able to ‘multi-task.’ Moreover, readership is slowly declining, whilst competition for jobs in the sector is increasing. Last week’s sector event gave us some key insights into the industry and tips on how to break into an industry which is more competitive than ever.

We heard from a wide range of speakers from Pan Macmillan, ITV News, Icon Booms, Blaze Publishing Ltd. From flying to Afghanistan to conduct a series of interview with Price Harry, running a YouTube channel, overseeing online content, to writing about politics and current affairs, our speakers shared their highs and lows of working in journalism and publishing.

1. Get Experience

Start now! What a lot of people don’t realise is that many of the skills you need to become a journalist or publisher you already have. Whether it’s posting on Facebook, tweeting or writing a blog, many of you are already budding journalists. You just don’t know (or realise) it yet! Getting experience may be easier than you think; you can start now by writing, blogging, reporting and commenting. Find and create opportunities to develop the skills you’ll need: communication, editing, negotiation, attention to detail and commercial awareness.

Don’t limit your horizons to work placements and internships – yes, these provide invaluable experience but don’t assume it’s game over if you can’t get ‘formal’ experience.  Why not start writing for one of the publications on campus? Get involved with student newspaper, magazines or radio shows. Employers value these experiences and can really help you break into the industry. Natasha Clark, Warwick grad and freelance journalist credits her post university success to the experience she gained as editor of the Boar.

Start tweeting. More and more vacancies (and other opportunities) in this sector are being advertised through Twitter, so don’t miss out. It’s also a good way to start building your profile and curating content.

2. Consider postgrad study

Don’t worry if your degree isn’t related to journalism or publishing. Most people who succeed in these sectors haven’t studied for a vocational degree. In fact, Madeleine Beresford and Leena Normington from Icon Books argued strongly that this can be an advantage as employers value the diversity of thinking, knowledge and experience that comes from wider study. Postgraduate training, however, can be helpful particularly if you want to get more experience in journalism. Natasha is currently doing an MA in Newspaper Journalism at City University and is managing to juggle this with freelance work. She’s got a pretty impressive portfolio already and has been published in The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and The Telegraph.

Prospects is a good place to start if you’re looking for courses in publishing or journalism (NCTJ is good for aspiring journalists too) Don’t forget to check out the individual institutions and see what industry links they have. And have a look at employment outcomes. Postgrad study comes with a price tag so make sure its worth the investment.

3. Get connected

Contacts are key when it comes to journalism and publishing so its important to get to know the people around you and have a good network of people that you can rely on. Start building your professional network, on and offline, and make sure you keep your contacts up to date. There’s still a strong element of “who you know” so networking now, can pay dividends later.

4. Be creative

Grace Melody-Gardner from ITV News said don’t be afraid to ‘be a bit weird.’ She explains that when it comes to publishing and journalism sometimes you’ve got to think outside of the box and not be afraid to be different. Creativity is key. Be nosey, be curious, and most importantly, be yourself!

5. Just keep going!

Publishing and journalism are tough industries to break into. You might not land your dream job straight out of university, but you’ve got to keep going. Successful people fail more often, and don’t let failure define them. If you want to succeed you’ve got to persist and build your resilience. Failure and rejection are part of the terrain, so you need to accept both as part of your job search – and future career. Drive and determination count, so dig deep and start working on that positive attitude!

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