General Journalism / Lessons learned

Journo friends: get them.

That sounds odd doesn’t it. Go on, go and find some friends. Oh, you’re an accountant? Soz, bye.

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No but really, having friends who work in the same industry as you can have its bonuses. I grew up as the only person in my group of friends who wanted to take a stab at becoming a journalist, and it wasn’t until I started my NCTJ course that I made friends who wanted the same things, faced the same challenges, and had similar goals.

This isn’t some recipe on culling your other friends, talking journo all the time will drive you mental, but having like-minded people who might be going through the same things as you, with the same frustrations can really help.

  1. Having a rant. You will experience the same frustrations – OH MY GOD so I arranged a phone interview and she just never picked up, I need more money, my interviewee drove me mad, this is the most boring feature I’ve ever written, I have no idea where to start on this, WHY IS NO ONE GETTING BACK TO ME.
  2. Asking for advice. Whether it’s advice on your cover letter and CV if you’re applying for a job, or on the difficulties you face, you can take comfort knowing they have been through the same obstacles, and might even be able to offer a solution.
  3. Contacts. Both of you will be building up contact books that you can both share for individual projects. Whether it be contacts for expert comments, or contacts in the industry where you could recommend each other.
  4. Learning from them. You know how to code? Brilliant, teach me. Vice versa, you might even pass on some knowledge to them.
  5. Working together. Great minds think alike, if you’re both interested in similar subjects then all the more reason to start up your own projects together!
  6. Passing on work – looking for freelance projects but found one that’s not quite right? You might have different interests, different skills and different areas of expertise. Passing on job prospects, freelance projects or new venture ideas could benefit you both.
  7. Celebrate – when something has gone well… a feature was published, a pitch was accepted, they really will know the feeling, and be happy for you. Where’s the wine?

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