Diary of a Journalism Post-Grad – Chapter 14

All in all, this has been a particularly pointless week. Most of my classes have been cancelled or postponed, and the rest have been to do with CV writing.

Every bit of advice we’ve been given has differed, depending on the tutor: one page or two, cuttings or no cuttings, how best to lay it out… we haven’t even started on cover letters yet. A lot of the tips are a repetition from previous careers services.

What would really be useful is the opinion of a current newspaper editor on what’s in and what’s out when it comes to writing them. So many applications seem to be done through online forms, which, with my dodgy wireless connection, are slowly becoming the bane of my existence. They feel so much less formal than a paper application somehow.

Hopefully, we’ll have some follow up sessions on how to answer the same questions that were used to select us for this course, in new and exciting ways. Needless to say, I’m heavily relying on getting through to interview and showing my self off their rather than through a horrible courier font.

Had a brief look into the world of freelancing via some scheduled talks this week and have decided that I would be terrible at it. I have not always been the best at finding a work/life balance (generally erring on the side of life) and the temptation to conduct all phone calls whilst still in my pyjamas would be too great. On the useful side of things, we got some tips from current features editors about how best to pitch ideas – of particular interest to a journalist student hoping to supplement their non-existent income.

Have managed to achieve at least something this week, in sorting out my Easter work experience. The rest of the time has been spent beginning applications for graduate schemes and junior positions. Now is the time that the calibre of this course will be put to the test. I think it will stand up – aside from the immediately helpful modules like shorthand and media law, it has definitely provided a grounding in all the skills that a junior reporter would be expected to possess. It’s also getting to the stage where my fellow students and I want to try out these skills for real, not just for practice; showing how the course has gradually built confidence in our newly-acquired abilities too.

Enough philosophising – my other main task of the week is to put on my investigative reporter’s hat and uncover an exclusive about immigration or asylum, crime or punishment. Something that my tutor doesn’t know about, which I suspect may be impossible, as he is a home affairs supremo. It’s quite a tight deadline but I’m optimistically hoping to uncover some scandal about the treatment of asylum seekers who volunteer to return home. Whatever I discover will be written as a massive revelation so it fits the brief, but if it were a real expos