So, you fancy being a journalist? Perhaps you are doing your A levels and are looking for a journalism course at university next year? And you reckon that you want to specialise in sport? Well, be warned…
In journalism in the UK at present, it is reckoned that there’s one job for every 10 capable applicants. And that is not the worst of it: this year nearly 1,000 early-career journalists applied for the two one-year placements provided by the Guardian training programme.
Catherine Shannon got lucky – she’s on a placement at Guardian Towers, and this blog entry offers some interesting advice:
In terms of competitive potential careers, entering the media sector can’t be that much easier than becoming a pilot. Admittedly you can get away with colour-blindness, but it’s no picnic elbowing your way through the other 999 applicants that want the same job as you.
I’m on a week’s work experience placement at the Guardian that I really didn’t expect to get. This time I was lucky, but the fact is that there’s one job for every ten capable applicants. This year nearly 1,000 early-career journalists applied for the two one-year placements provided by the Guardian training programme.
Obviously this can only be a good thing for journalistic standards, but how do you differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other people that want to write for the major newspapers … or even better, from the ones that want to write for a paper that you actually enjoy reading?
Persistence was considered a requisite quality by most of the people I spoke to. Write to people, phone them, seek work at regional papers or trade publications to get a foot in the door. Getting recommendations from people also seems to be crucial.
Although I’ve always thought of journalism as relatively meritocratic, it appears that you really need to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right people for whatever merit you’ve got to do its stuff.
Taking all of this on board, as far as I can see my plan should consist of student journalism, a conversion course at the end of my degree, pleading – at the thin end of the restraining order wedge – for work experience throughout, and then attempting to outshine a plethora of my peers at job interviews.
Read the full blog entry by clicking here. (The blog comments from readers are particularly worth a view)
Previous articles about journalism training:
From humble beginnings
What is the best sports journalism course for me?
Sports journalism – a matter of degree?
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