As you may know due to some of my previous posts, this summer I worked at GolfPunk magazine (you can see one of my posts here). After the first time for me, working on a magazine and being paid, I thought it was definitely worth a post.
How I got there
I’ve said before, and it’s very much necessary to say it again, ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ I got in contact with the editor of GolfPunk through my mum, who knew his wife, who knew through my mum that I wanted to get into journalism. I emailed him, and met up with him with the intention of gaining advice on how to succeed in such a competitive industry. He was the founder and editor of Loaded before moving onto GolfPunk. Although he exited GolfPunk in 2006, he was bringing it back this summer and launching it digitally as an online magazine and app. After meeting with him, I said I would keep in contact regarding any work he may have this summer, with help during the launch. It was conveniently when I had just finished my year at university, had graduated, that I got an email asking if I wanted to do some work. At first we had agreed two days a week in the office, as I was working another job at a restaurant, desperately trying to save the pennies for my course/transport/petrol/overdraft, etc. After the first week however, I was asked if I wanted to work full time in the office, which of course I accepted, and just worked evenings at the pub. My role was editorial assistant. That is, helping with the general running of the office, doing admin duties, being active on social media, and assisting the editor in anything that needed to be done.
Attending The Open
Within a week of starting at GolfPunk, I was invited to attend The Open with them. The third major of the year in Golf, was at Lytham St Annes in the North of England, very near where I went to university. Now I’ve never played golf seriously before – I’ve been to the driving range and played good old crazy golf and putting, but never a full on 18-hole course. None of this mattered though, going to a huge event (which my dad was very jealous of) and being there representing a magazine was so exciting. Not only that, but it was the launch party of GolfPunk digital in the HUGE mansion that was rented out for us to stay in. Although there were some initial hiccups (when I say hiccups I mean the editors car, with all the equipment and cameras blew up on the motorway), the weekend was a lot of fun. I attended The Open practice rounds, tweeting away about the course and wearing my GolfPunk hat whilst walking around seeing the players. On the Monday night, I was also present at the GolfPunk relaunch party, including helping to set everything up and get it ready, talk to the first party guests that arrived, mingle and tell everyone how FABULOUS the new magazine was now that it had gone digital. I actually met quite a lot of journalists that night, who told me about their time at the NCTJ fast track course, what it is like, and even gave me a sneak preview at shorthand:
It was such an exciting time to be there, a great opportunity to meet and talk to people who are journalists themselves, and it felt really good to be there as part of a magazine!
Am I passionate about Golf?
The short answer is no, I don’t really play Golf. Even though this summer I’ve been working at a Golf magazine AND at a restaurant at a golf club/in their golf shop, it’s not a huge passion of mine. But what this summer showed me, is that it doesn’t really matter what magazine I start off in, or get an entry level job in, as long as it isn’t something completely ridiculous – I still think I will enjoy it. I had an amazing summer being part of a magazine, and it is that which is what I want to further my career in. I don’t find golf boring, it wasn’t mind-numbing tasks reading about Golf news each morning or writing about it. When I told people I was working for a Golf magazine most of them would say ‘What! Golf? Do you play Golf?’ Well, no, but that didn’t matter to me. I probably would play Golf if I carried on for longer (and if I wasn’t working two jobs), but just because I wasn’t passionate about it, didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. It probably helped that this wasn’t like any old Golf magazine, but was the ‘alternative voice of Golf’ so was funny and actually interesting to read.
The editor said to me, and something I’ll always remember, that ‘you should write about something you are passionate about’ and this is something I do agree with. Working on the magazine this summer, being involved in the process of the launch and learning about different aspects of the job wasn’t just about writing, but about experiencing the work on a first-hand basis and understanding the industry without simply learning from what other people tell me. It was great to be there more than just one week, which is what most of my other work experience placements were like. But when I go back to thinking of what I would like to write about that I’m really passionate about, I find it hard to narrow it down. An aspect that I love, which is very general, is lifestyle. Mainly, because in my dissertation I covered career, fashion and health in women and men’s magazines and those were the three topics I found most interesting. But I can’t be picky… and it’ll be a while before I will be doing that anyway!
My daily jobs
The first main task I was asked to do, was set up all the social media. That is – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… as well as Pinterest, Flickr, Linkedin etc. Establishing an online presence through social media is important for magazines, especially to keep their accounts active. I would check all social media each day, and try and keep them updated with news, pictures, videos and tweets.
Another aspect of the job was updating the website with Golf News. This was importing news from back in January until now, as well as keeping it updated with news that was coming in daily about Golf tournaments and majors. I was sent press releases from the managing editor to turn into a news post for the website. This was actually quite helpful, in getting me to know and understand more about the publication I was working for. I’m actually surprised how little I knew about Golf before compared with how much I know about it now. I didn’t even know what a Major was, or what the Ryder Cup was… now I can tell you who won them and when and where the Ryder Cup is taking place!
Another important task was increasing and creating the database that the magazine would be sent out to once it was launched. Because it is a digital magazine, the main way of distributing the magazine is through email. This involved creating databases of emails that could be sent out, as well as finding more contacts to import in such as Golf Blogs and Uni golf teams. After the magazine was launched, I sent out emails to all the golf blogs that are popular on the web, asking them to share our magazine with their followers… the outcome was quite positive:
This post is getting long, and I still haven’t written about everything that I could. But for the sake of your boredom, I’ll start to round it up. A really interesting aspect that has been invaluable this summer, is working on a publication that has reinvented the way magazines are read digitally. It was built on a brand-new platform, creating an ease of experience and great multimedia effects. It’s not a secret that this is the way that the magazine publishing industry is going, as well as newspapers. Reading a magazine on your iPad is becoming just as normal as going out and buying one in print, except of the fact that it is cheaper! It was great to experience, and be a part of this digital launch, gaining knowledge of where this industry is heading.
I want to, and probably could say a lot more about everything I had to do – including sewing red felt tongues on a sock puppet and the wonderful homemade cakes we had in the office, but I’m pretty sure this is getting too long now!
So, thank you GolfPunk for having me and letting me have the opportunity to spend the summer working on a magazine… a lot better than spending my summer simply serving food and drinks at a bar.
OH AND FINALLY… my slight claim to fame, it always feels great to see your name in print 🙂