How to get work experience in journalism

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Journalism isn’t easy to get into. You have to have a lot of passion, determination and most of all talent.

I am now working at a local newspaper but throughout the years I have had work experience at the BBC, Sky Sports, The Telegraph, Daily Mirror, just to name a few.

My CV is full of work experiences, but how did I get them?

I’m going to forget all the obvious things here like get involved with university work and using the mainstream application processes because, whilst you may strike lucky, there are better ways of getting what you want.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?

Don’t just apply anywhere and assume you stand a chance.

The people sifting through applications can tell whether someone is passionate about the work that is done at their company so there’s no point applying to places for the sake of it.

Think about it, what kind of journalism do you want to do?

You may not know, which is fine. Just think about what you’re interested in. If you blog now, what do you blog about?

If you know then that’s great you can move onto the next stage.

WHAT MEDIUMS ARE YOU INTERESTED IN?

Do you want to write? Do you want to broadcast? Maybe you want to do a bit of both.

Although experience in a range of areas is useful these days you need to think about what you want to ultimately doing.

Maybe you have a lot of skills in writing but very little in broadcast and you want to expand your skillset.

Here you need to decide whether you want to write for newspapers, magazines, online etc.

There are so many options but make sure you research them.

I’m lucky enough to have experience in writing both local and national, broadcast and production.

It’s possible to get experience in something when you have none, believe me – I’ve done it.

WHERE WOULD YOU NEVER WORK?

Once you have made a list of what you’re interested in and you know the areas of journalism you want to gain experience it’s time to pull together a list of places to apply to.

They can be easy to find. Google searches will give you magazines, online sites, newspapers, broadcasters and the like.

But rather than sifting through all of them deciding where you could see yourself working, look at where you categorically wouldn’t go.

Maybe you want to do politics and don’t want to work for a right leaning paper.

If this is the case you can strike them all off your list.

It’s a mistake to narrow your options too soon, especially when you’re only trying to get experience.

Once you have this list it’s time to find your contacts.

HOW TO FIND THE RELEVANT CONTACTS

So you know where you’re going to apply now. You may have five places you may have 50, just work your way through what you’ve got.

Now some of them may have formal application processes and it may be that in your attempts to get work experience you are directed to these formal application processes.

Even if that’s the case you’re letting them know who you are and that’s important.

So open up LinkedIn. If you don’t already have an account make one. It’s really simple and makes life so much easier.

Take your list of media outlets and search for them one by one.

When you get onto a company’s profile you have the option of seeing a list of employees.

What you want to find is an editor or someone in charge. But no problem if you can’t, just find someone who’s been working at that company for a while.

Chances are they will know what to do with you.

So once you have found your contact try and connect with them. This is what I do at least.

Then, once they have accepted my request I message them explaining how I would love to undertake work experience, why I like that company and all the other stuff that normally goes into a covering letter.

Not everyone likes this method but don’t worry there’s an alternative. You can google what the email addresses are like within that company.

For example BBC is always firstname.surname@bbc.co.uk(sometimes it’s .com).

If you’re really against LinkedIn or can’t find what you want on there sometimes Twitter or Google can be really useful.

Once you’ve done this you’re good to go.

The rest is up to you.

*If anyone needs any help with this or any clarification please do not hesitate to contact me at wayfaremblog@gmail.comor @wayfarem on Twitter.*

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