CBJ students grill media experts
We tweeted live from the CBJ consortium event, part of freshers’ week at NTU, where new BA and MA students quizzed our media industry panel. Here’s a round-up of their views, ideas and tips for how to get on in journalism
Getting work experience
Work experience is vital for any aspiring journalist, the panel agreed. To get it you have to put yourself out there then be persistent.
“Send out demos,” said @CorazonMGarcia of Gem106, “with a good mix of cues, copy and clips. “Show employers what you’re about.” But “don’t ring a radio station at five to or five past the hour!”
Corazon, a CBJ graduate, also had a good tip for what to avoid once you get a placement: “All the editors know each other so don’t bitch about one to another.”
Research the audience/readership and understand the kinds of stories that appeal to the broadcaster or publication that you’re targeting, said @gailmellorsCBJ , CBJ tutor and ITV freelancer.
“Blagging doesn’t wash,” agreed Jane King, editorial director of Farmers Weekly, @FarmersWeekly. “If you don’t do your homework on the company you will be out of an interview in 15 minutes.”
Alex Britton @adbritton , political correspondent at the Nottingham Post, advised: “Bring stories. If you don’t bring stories, bring cakes.”
A good journalist is . . .
Adaptable, versatile, persistent. “You need to be able to speak to anyone – politicians, artists, anyone,” said Alex.
In challenging the establishment it’s easy to get knocked back, so journalists need to be resourceful and emotionally strong, said Jane.
As a journalist, you are in a position of power, Corazon added. “You represent the public’s voice, you are trying to make a difference.”
And if you want to be a journalist, start reading and watching: “You must consume the media if you want to work in it,” said Gail.
Social media is the dominating influence today, said @MikeSassi Nottingham Post editor and “opting out is not an option.”
Citizen journalism – with content produced by non-professionals – is also a key element of the media now and broadcasters are snapping up user-generated content, added Karen Winchester @winchester_kj , producer, BBC East Midlands Today. “We are desperate for good footage of news events, such as floods captured on phones.”
While it’s true that times are tough, there are opportunities if you’re hard-working, persistent and have the right set of skills. Farmers Weekly offers graduates a starting salary of £30,000.
“A lot of people disregard business-to-business magazines but it’s a great place to start,” said Jane.
Despite the challenges, this is a life-enhancing career with “lots of chances to use your brain,” said Mike.
And he urged aspiring reporters not to get hung up on negative stories about declining readerships and job cuts.
“Don’t worry about circulation, focus on yourself, what you can learn and what you can get out of the experience of being a journalist.”
Read more #cbjfreshers