Last year, whilst I was at university I applied for an editorial position on Gumtree. It was an advert looking for three feature writers of a new local magazine in Sussex, which is very convenient for me and would be my first paid job as a journalist. I applied for it and got to the second stage where I had to write three articles out of a list, together with photographs, on three lifestyle topics in Sussex. I spent quite a lot of time on them even though realistically I wasn’t sure I would be the right candidate as I was going back to university in September.
Fortunately, I got an email when I was at home saying I had made it through to the next round, and I now had to write another article, together with pictures and had a deadline. I again, spent a lot of time on it and was getting excited by this point. It was by about July that I found out I had got the job, and met with the editor of the magazine who was very keen to launch in September.
I was given a list of articles to write, and some were very challenging. They were all based around Sussex, ranging from finance topics, to boarding schools, to things to do in Sussex, building projects… etc. All articles were tailored around an older audience, around late 20’s and 30’s. I was getting paid around £20 per article I wrote and was doing it alongside my other part time job throughout the whole summer.
And then the bad news came. The founder and editor worked in London and was planning on giving up his job once it had launched. The copies for the first issue were all printed, however I got an email at the end of Summer to say he had been offered a job promotion and was now moving abroad so he was abandoning the magazine. I was so gutted, and I don’t think I realized at the time what a great opportunity I had been given. It was something I was keen to carry on with after university and become a full-time journalist. It was such a shame, as the website was set up, we had designers, three feature writers, advertising and sales positions and it was just abandoned. I still think now that the whole project, after putting so much work and research into it, should have been passed on to someone to carry on as I’m sure he would have found someone. Even the other two feature writers were older and could have been willing to take on this challenge.
I think the reason that it gets to me, is because is probably the most success I have had in journalism so far, and yet I have nothing to show for it. I have the outline/prototype of the magazine cover, but not even the issue. I have all the articles on a word document on my laptop, but what does that mean to anyone? The website is now gone, there is nothing on the internet about it, not even on Google. And although I did get paid, and should be proud I got that far, I never know whether it will be a good thing or not to put on my CV. The explanation will have to be, that a magazine was launched and abandoned within the space of one Summer. Is that believable?
It’s a shame, but I should be grateful that I had the opportunity. Let’s hope I have more success this summer.