I get asked a lot about the course I’m currently taking, which is training me to be a journalist. Therefore, I thought I would expand my posts about it-which you can read here-by bringing another Blogger on board.
Kate is a Blogger and journalist, who will soon be beginning to broadcast with a new radio station; she is also a brilliant writer. For today, we decided to do an interview swap-where I interview her, post it, vice versa-to find out more about journalism. She may also be guest posting in future.
What was it that made you want to be a journalist?
I spent my early childhood reading and writing – so much so, I completed a (rather poor and factually inaccurate) novel before I left primary school! During my later years at primary school and my early years at secondary school, my ambition was to be a successful author, but as I got slightly older, I started to feel that this was a bit unrealistic, and felt that journalism would be a more viable way of being able to write for a career. Positive feedback from some journalistic-style writing assignments at secondary school helped develop this interest. I did my first work experience placement on a local newspaper when I was 15 and I loved it, and that was what helped me decide that I wanted to work in the media when I was older.
How did you get the current job you have today?
Last year, while I was back at my childhood home after finishing my English degree at university (but prior to my graduation ceremony), I started looking online at media opportunities with a view to trying to get a role in this area. I had considered doing a Master’s course in journalism to give myself a better chance of getting my foot in the door for my first media job, but hadn’t applied for one because, what with the high costs of doing this kind of course, I hoped I might be able to get into the industry and train while woking (by doing the NCTJ diploma by distance learning or the like) to keep costs low. One of the opportunities I saw was a part-time job as a magazine editorial assistant near to where I live (which was an incredibly lucky thing, as I live in a pretty rural area). I applied for this role, and was very lucky to make it through both a telephone and then “in-person” interview to be offered the job. I started this role, which primarily involves working as an assistant for a number of business-to-business shipping magazines, in June 2017.
A few months later, my hours were increased, and not long after this, my first publication came out in which I was named as Assistant Editor of the title.My role involves assisting with the production of several titles that fall under a shipping-related remit. The work includes proofreading articles, uploading articles online, writing article synopses and contents pages, choosing pictures for pieces (both online and in print), keeping the company I work for’s social media accounts up-to-date and coming up with themes and ideas for future magazine issues. I also write news articles and features for the different publications I work on.
You’re also soon to start at a radio station; how did you get to doing that?
Having radio shows was something that I started doing while I was at university. In my second year, I applied for training to be a presenter on my university’s student radio station (a voluntary-run station) and I started broadcasting my own show in the third term of that academic year. I presented a number of regular and one-off shows while I was a member of the station.
After leaving university, one of the things I really missed was having a radio show. I had so many great memories from my time on air and I loved being able to play whatever music I wanted and create good content for my broadcasts. I thought about maybe going to the closest hospital radio station and seeing if I could get involved there, though it is a bit far off from where I live. Then, a few months ago, my Mum showed me an email sent to my sister, which was calling for college students to volunteer at the community radio station Corinium Radio in Gloucestershire. The station, which broadcasts online 24/7, offers listeners a variety of shows including music programmes, lifestyle-related programmes and drama. Though I am not of my sister’s age group, I knew that the station would probably be happy to accept new volunteers of all ages (given that it is completely volunteer-led), and its website proved me right. I emailed them and the station manager invited me to meet her and subsequently find out more about the station before choosing whether to get involved – and it wasn’t a difficult choice!
What do you think the appeal is of broadcasting, in comparison to print or online journalism?
I would say that it’s both the popularity of broadcast as a media form, particularly in this current climate, and the ease for audiences to receive this kind of content. Now, with YouTube clips, online videos and Snapchat and Instagram Stories – as well as the traditional broadcasting form of television – widely used both to disseminate news and as a form of popular culture, I can see why people might find having to read a detailed article more of a chore when they can switch on the television/turn on the radio/watch a vlog and absorb the content without having to expend much mental effort. Having said that, I still think that there will be a place for written journalism in the future, both in its print and online forms. We’re in a really strange era at the moment whereby methods of receiving media which would have been viewed as obsolete a few years ago are now experiencing a revival. Look at how Urban Outfitters are now selling cassette and record players! Even older-style audio medias are being regenerated – the song claims that “Video killed the radio star”, but just think about how popular podcasts have become in recent times. Thus, I’m sure that a desire to consume written media (newspapers and magazines) will come back around, both in print and online forms.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’m really not sure, but I know that I will still be working in the media industry in some form – and I would be delighted if I was holding higher-level positions at media companies.
Do you have any tips for fellow journalists?
When writing standard-size news articles, put the quote/quotes you will be using on the page first – it will give you a better sense of direction when it comes to creating the full piece.
Social media is a great place to hunt for stories. Follow accounts connected to the content your publication writes about – certain posts can serve as great stories/bases for stories and you might come across a story you would have missed otherwise. Find a way of making a note of story leads you find on social media so you can refer back to them. Don’t be afraid of reaching out to people for interviews – often, you’re helping them tell a story belonging to them and they’re usually very happy to help.