Journalism skills / Lessons learned

Lessons learned: always have a back up.

Entry-level jobs in the media become huge learning curves. The majority of people in these jobs in the media are bound to have completed work experience, for free, in similar publications or companies. But the learning you do on work experience isn’t the same as the learning you do in your first job. Why?

  • You have little/less/no responsibilites on work experience – it is usually shadowing or ‘research’
  • A week or twos work experience doesn’t give you the feel of the job full-time
  • It takes a while to learn habits, traits and the workings of that publication.

Strategy pinned on noticeboard

For me, the past couple of weeks I have learned to always have a back up. That is with everything, products you are viewing, celebrities you hope to interview, competitions you want to run, stories you want to share. In the past few weeks, this has happened a few times. The first time being, when a celebrity’s agent told us that the celebrity would be unable to complete the interview questions, on deadline day. It’s not just this, but giveaways that we secure, products we want to feature, PTAs stories we hope to share, you should always have a back up in mind.

With a magazine that is read nationally, with regular and similar features, it generates expectations from your readers. If you have two interviews per issue, they are going to expect two interviews each issue. If one of your interviewees pulls out, you can’t just accept it and fill the page with something else… you need to cater to your readers and try your hardest to deliver the magazine exactly as it should be.

For me, nothing is definite until it is in.

Over the past couple of weeks (having a giveaway that agreed everything until the T&Cs were sent their way… then I never heard from them since), I have realised to stick to this saying. Nothing is definite, until confirmed or the copy is in. I have found myself thinking and planning ahead, not getting excited when I get one ‘Yes’ email, because that doesn’t mean anything until confirmation has been made.

I have had back ups, and used them! After all, once the magazine is delivered you want the readers to have everything expected in the magazine… and next issue they will!


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