….was represented at the CCCF Journalism event this week. And contrary to rumour, journalism is not dead, just evolving with the technology. Print journalism may be in steep decline and The Independent finished its print edition, but online and broadcast journalism is thriving, developing and evolving.
From Buzzfeed to Science blogging with Bitesize Bio via the BBC, Sky and PR agency Charlotte St Partners – the 5 speakers at the event last Weds evening gave us an overview of their route into the industry (and beyond into PR), and their insider tips on how to maximise your chance of success in this field. Read on for their insights.
Hilary Wardle, Buzzfeed Scotland editor, studied English at Edinburgh, and worked on The Student. On graduation she had a variety of writing-related roles, (copy-editor, freelance journalist) and studied distance learning for her journalism qualifications. During this time she also working for the university setting up EUSA volunteering. Currently at Buzzfeed, Hilary stressed the need to stay up to date with changes in technology and how people are accessing information, and the need to be able to work across a range of different formats.
Suzie Forest, BBC Scotland, got her break into journalism via a week of work experience with the BBC soon after graduation. She grabbed the chance to make an impression when the US was voting to invade Iraq, using her initiative to contact US senators and gain valuable insights. She was kept on, regularly having contracts renewed, and has worked as editor and senior producer on BBC news in London, and is now an editor in BBC Scotland. BBC advertises its opportunities via BBC careers . Suzie, and the rest of the panel, emphasised how important it was to use initiative and make a positive impact straight away when on work experience, to increase the likelihood of being kept on.
Nick Oswald, Bitesize Bio, morphed from a PhD and research scientist to MD of Bitesize Bio, building on his abilities as a communicator. First running his blog alongside his science research, managing Bitesize Bio is now his primary occupation, with 2 million bioscientists reading it annually. Having identified his key skills as effective communication and engagement, and realised his preferred way of working was in the less-structured media environment, as opposed to the structure of lab work, he evolved his career to suit his strengths. Key tips? recognise your strengths and work style, gain experience, network with like-minded people, keep up with technology.
Chris Deerin, Charlotte St Partners, made the move into PR when he saw ‘the writing on the wall’ for print journalism (he had a career with Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail, Scotland on Sunday, Telegraph Group and still writes a column for the Daily Mail). He emphasised the connections between PR and journalism (ideas, writing, editing, design, strategy, campaigns, events, brand management, communication, telling stories …….) – and the differences (journalists have more freedom (despite editors!), PR is more academic). he emphasied that journalism is in transition and different organisations were trying different models to see what works best eg Independent all online, some using paywalls, subscription etc. Advice for getting in? – intelligence, networking, hard work, range of experience with student journalism, people-person, writing for different media, your own blog etc
Peter Diapre, assistant editor, (mobile) Sky News. Peter started his career with work experience with the BBC (and as with Suzie, stressed the need to make an impact straight away). He also worked as an assistant to his MP, and found this great for contacts for political journalism. He moved to Sky and worked in various roles and has now moved to digital media, as there’s a move away from television news. He emphasied the role of luck (being in the right place at the right time – then taking advantage of that to showcase your qualities) and perseverance, and the need for a specialism, as well as being prepared to do anything!
Still think you’ve got what it takes for journalism as it evolves in the 21st Century? Check out the LinkedIn profiles and workplaces of our speakers via the links above, and the Careers Service journalism career resources