Interviews / Journalism Jobs

The life of a newly-employed journalist, Surena Chande

Back in June, I interviewed the lovely Surena Chande on landing her first journalism job. Like me, she became quite frustrated at the prospect of finding a job in this industry, and completed various unpaid internships. Luckily for her, it was the internship that gave her connections to her current job! Twitter is a great way to find people who are in similar situations to you, learning about their internships/jobs and even speaking to them or getting their advice.
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I really wanted to know how Surena’s job was going, and rather than being greedy I thought I’d share what she had to say. So if you’re feeling nosy like me, then why not have a read…

 

Can you tell us a bit about the magazine you are working for?

Good Taste is a women’s lifestyle magazine in Dubai. We write about events, different up-front features every month, health, beauty, fashion, food, home and travel and there are three of us on the team. The magazine is free currently, and was created just over three years ago. It’s gone from strength to strength since!

 

Good-TasteHow did you feel on your first day? What did they have you doing?

I was terrified on my first day, but it was probably one of the happiest days of my life. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but after graduating during rather bleak times where the job market was extremely tough – and still is – I was just so happy to have found a real job! On day one I was told what some of my responsibilities would be, introduced to the team and everyone in the office and spent time reading through the magazine and understanding what I’d be doing.

What are your main roles and responsibilities?

My responsibilities include the entire fashion section, writing the events calendar, travel news, ‘5 minutes with…’ (a great page where we speak to a different person every month and have a quick interview with them), writing an up-front feature about various topics (I’ve just written one about women who give up their time for charity and good causes), I’ve been gradually taking on new responsibilities and pieces over time, which is exciting!

 

What are some of your daily tasks?

It’s the same every day, usually, I come in and write my pieces. However, when it comes to closing the issue, I sometimes help with subbing all the pages, sometimes I’ll be able to sit with the designer and figure out how I’d like my fashion features to look or if I have any particular requests. If there’s someone interesting in town to interview for our ‘5 minutes with…’ section, I’ll go to meet and interview them. I’ve only done three so far. My favourite has been interviewing Sarah Rotheram, the CEO of Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur. I found her really inspiring, and the fact that it’s amazing that I get the opportunity to do things like this with my job.
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Is it everything you expected? If not, why?

It’s not too far from what I expected, if anything it’s more exciting. I knew I’d be going to some press events, but my first two months were just magical. I’d be going to fun, interesting and glamorous events all the time and meeting great people. I’m not too sure what I expected from this job, because before this I’d never had a full-time journalism job before, but it’s been amazing and it seems to just keep getting better and better!

 

What part of your job do you find challenging?

I do get quite worried about meeting deadlines sometimes, but I’m a bit of a worrier so I expected that. However, I’ve learnt to just break each day down into tasks and articles I need to write and suddenly everything just seems a lot more manageable. Also, with journalism it’s quite hard to switch off, there are always lots of emails every day so it’s quite time consuming going through them, there are evenings and weekends where I do feel quite worried because press day’s looming, but I’m fine as soon as I sit down to write and get going quite quickly. I’m learning a lot every day, so it’s brilliant; how to improve my writing style, how to improve my sub-editing skills, how to manage my workload and more.

 

Best day so far and why?

This is seriously tough, I work with lovely people so there are plenty of days where I have a big smile on my face when I come home, my deputy editor and editor are really easy to get on with and we all have a laugh in the office. I think my favourite day would have been back in September, it was a fairly normal day at work but we had lots of events afterwards. We headed to a Lipsy event straight after work, which was great because anyone who knows me knows how obsessed I am with the brand so it was fun seeing their new collection and meeting other journalists around Dubai. However, in the evening we had been invited to the Harvey Nichols fashion show. I got all dressed up and headed to the event, it was one of the most glamorous events I’d been to and I think it hit me that night that I had actually done it, I’d achieved my dreams of getting a great job in journalism, and was attending amazing events. It was a great feeling! The days, weeks and months seem to go so quickly since I started at Good Taste, so there have been plenty of fantastic days and moments, but it’s hard to remember them!

 

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 Thank you!

Surena’s Twitter: @SurenaSays

Surena’s Blog: www.surenasays.com

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