‘The media’, journalist, reporter, presenter, film-maker – all incredibly popular career choices.
And therefore incredibly competitive.
Whether you want to specialise in music, health, sport or politics …
Whether your hero is Jeremy Paxman or Piers Morgan …
Whether you see yourself as the guardian of the sword of truth or the editor of the Sun (not necessarily mutually exclusive, I hasten to add) …
… you’ll have to be extremely determined – and pretty savvy – to reach your goals.
So here are 5 top tips to help you on your way:
1. Know your target
Do you want to be a foreign correspondent, a tabloid hack, a TV presenter or a documentary producer? Once you’ve worked that out, your can make sure everything you do next has that in mind. Of course, even if you start in one discipline, you don’t have to stick to it. I’ve been a health correspondent, a tabloid journalist, and a TV producer … plus a bit of court reporting, radio and TV news thrown in for good measure.
2. Show your commitment
There’s absolutely no point applying to the editor of your local newspaper, radio station, news website and having absolutely nothing on your CV that demonstrates that a career in the media is a long-term goal and not a passing whim. Which leads onto:
3. Get as much relevant experience as possible
Work on your student newspaper, produce your own radio station, make short films, set up and run a local news website. Anything to show your commitment
4. Do work experience
Most newspapers and broadcasters offer work experience. Apply for as many as possible. Do everything to get a place. And do all the ones you’re accepted on. And once you’re there, work hard, be keen, never complain about the menial and boring tasks you’re set. I know plenty of TV producers who began life as BBC ‘workies’ and showed willing.
5. Have the right character
You’ll never make it you don’t have the right personality. You need to have an inquiring mind. If you’re not curious about the world, why on earth do you want to do it? (If you just want to be a ‘celeb’, then go on a reality show instead!). You need to be happy to talk to people, and more importantly, happy to listen to them. You need to be confident and persistent – the best journalists are the ones who never give up in their quest for a story. And you need to be creative: writing, and producing films and radio programmes are all creative pursuits.
I hope that’s been useful. Any questions, just ask!