I was about 14 when I realised I wanted to work on a magazine. I think it was working on a magazine that came before the career path of a ‘journalist’. I liked writing. I wanted to work on magazines, so journalism just naturally seemed the way to go. (Ummm it was also after I watched ‘How to lose a guy in 10 days’. She worked on a mag – it looked pretty cool.)
With that in mind, ALL my work experience was in print – both magazines and newspapers, national and local. I did write for online, it’s just that bit easier to get experience writing online than getting articles published in print. But ultimately, I wanted to work for a magazine. Y’know, something you could actually HOLD.
Cue the end of my degree. I decided to take myself back into full-time education (none of these six-hour a week lectures at uni) and complete an NCTJ. My idea had always been to do my degree, then an NCTJ in Magazine Journalism, but, nearing the end of my degree (joining Twitter, starting a blog, and beginning to write online) I realised that gaining extra skills that didn’t just focus on magazines would have its benefits. I completed an NCTJ in Multimedia Journalism.
The course was an overview of journalism as a whole, incorporating video, online, print and audio into a four-month fast track course. It was fun, but nothing could beat that feeling of getting a published article in print. So naturally, when I was looking for a job, it was the magazines I veered towards. And I did it, I got a job on PTA+ Magazine as an Editorial Assistant/Sub Editor. It was (and has been) the perfect entry-level job into journalism, expanding my skills, introducing me to the industry, giving me bylines, and learning the daily workings of a magazine publisher.
But obviously, working in the industry, I have been constantly aware over the past year of the growth of digital journalism, and digital-practically-everything. Of course, feature writers for magazines are still very much current job roles, but the expanding pool of digital jobs – digital editorial assistants, online journalists, digital writers, multimedia journalists – is growing by the day. Writers are NEEDED for online – companies, brands and publications can no longer ignore the web, even if they have a printed product, too. Having digital skills is a bonus, and learning more about the world of digital journalism has been exciting for me. This year, I have..
- Co-founded an online project
- Carried on and expanded my blog, learning basic imagery and coding (veeeery basic, guys)
- Taught myself the principles of SEO
- Indulged myself in a bit of Final Cut Pro tutorials
- Used social media to represent brands and find stories
I still enjoy print, and I am still carrying on writing for print for my local magazine. But ten years ago, when I decided I wanted to be a journalist, I wasn’t aware of this huge digital boom, how the industry would change and move on, and the variety of skills needed to be a journalist.
Digital journalism can be instant and reactive. Stories can go up ten minutes after they’ve happened. You don’t need to write about Christmas in August for your November issues, just write about Christmas in November and publish it the next day!
I fully believe there will always be print magazines, and I will continue to buy them. I’m not ruling out print, but I feel my career choices are changing with the direction of the industry. Which is why I’ve taken on my next role as a Multimedia Journalist… more on that soon!