THE JOURNALISM JOB HUNT
Since 2013, I have been (with little success) trying to get a paid job in journalism. Regular readers and tweeters will know the reason for this, the inspiration of Bill Neely and Kate Adie.
I decided that having a better education, specifically related to journalism would be a good idea. So I started planning for this, which is when I had my first of many setbacks. Apparently, I had no recent exam results, so I needed an access degree first. This was only told to me after I had visited a load of Universities, instead of being told of this upfront when I applied for the very first one.
No problem I thought. Persistence is the key and is also one of the main talents of being a journalist. Just keep on going. So I applied for the access course and ended up in Plymouth. One of the prettiest places I have ever been. Unfortunately I came back up North as a complete failure after circumstances that were not of my making forced me to leave. Again I kept going.
As soon as I got back up North, not to be deterred, I applied for every broadcast journalist apprenticeship/internship I could find. I didn't get accepted for one of them.
I remembered that there were journalists (Jon Snow, Martin Bell and Bill Neely to name a few) who didn't have degree in journalism, or in Jon Snow's case, a degree in anything. At all. So, I didn't worry about the degree, but I had to do something.
Alastair Stewart, whom I greatly admire, once said, "If you really want to be a journalist, prove it to me!" Well, if I was given a chance to prove it I would do. I have the passion and the persistence, but I need someone to give me a break too.
I also recall someone (can't remember who) saying, "If you have contacts use them". I discounted that immediately. To use someone you know in the business, especially if you are friends is just wrong. How are they ever to trust you if you make them believe you are just their friend to get a job? They can't. I would never treat my friend this way and he knows it. I asked him once (possibly twice) and he refused for his own perfectly good reasons. As far as I was concerned that was the end of it. I don't expect it. I value his friendship more than I value having a job.
So, next step, apply for as many local journalism organisations I could. Again, nothing.
And to add to this already bizarre and sometimes irritating situation, I met a young man yesterday on a shopping trip who had a journalism degree and still could not get a paid job, so he is spending his summer chugging and is switching professions in September to teacher training instead, as he is too frustrated to go down the journalism route any longer. One of the most interesting things he said was that while doing the degree he learned absolutely nothing and probably would have been in the same boat whether had taken a degree or not.
So, do you need any education to be in journalism. Well, it's hard to say. It would appear the answer is no, but it looks like experience is a thing. But as with all jobs, it's the catch 22 of getting the job to get experience, but needing experience to get the job. I am struggling to get anywhere, and as a last resort I am now falling back on education. I don't know if this will come about or whether it will work out if it does.
There is one thing I can say though. No matter how many times I get rejected or things fall apart I have lived by one of the most basic rules of journalism: I've kept trying, kept sticking to it and kept pushing on. And I will keep doing it.
Maybe one day, I may get the break I've been looking for! I keep going and keep trying. Because: