How to get a career in media and journalism

Journalism and the media play a crucial role within society – observing and reporting on current events, facts, and ideas to inform people about the world and how it operates.

On 1 November 2022, three professional alumni speakers, Aasmah Mir, Mel Rodrigues and David Afikuyomi, shared their experiences at our ‘How to get into Media and Journalism Event’ for Social Science and Law students.

With varied backgrounds in TV production, presenting, and academic article distribution, they offered valuable insights on how to utilise your passions and be successful in this competitive and evolving industry.

Here are 8 of our top takeaways from the event:

  1. Make use of the smaller establishments. You do not need a massive organisation to gain experience and should take advantage of the more immediate opportunities available to you. Some of our speakers gained work experience by writing for the student newspaper Epigram and editing a Law School magazine, as well as running a show on Burst Radio.
  2. Try every avenue of work. There is more on offer than just writing and publication: media and journalism combine so many different industries in the production process that there will be roles for every route of interest. A career is a journey and the best thing you can do is try to enjoy yourself along that journey. Experimenting with a variety of roles and responsibilities will give you valuable information about what you do and do not like so you can make more confident decisions later on.
  3. Show that you are passionate. Employers will always appreciate enthusiasm, and having passion for one discipline can feed into another career. It is important to have integrity with what you produce. The extensive circulation of online journalism means that content is everywhere, but it is helpful to remember that not all content is equal. To stand out in the industry you must be tenacious, rigorous, and able to use your initiative to produce innovative content.
  4. Create a rigorous portfolio. In the age of modern media, you can utilise online platforms such as YouTube and blogs to showcase your own voice and content whilst gaining an understanding of the craft. Have things on your CV like your extra-curricular activities that demonstrate your creative talents and keenness for the industry. The world is so much more open than it used to be so take advantage of it.
  5. Be well-informed. Expertise can form compelling arguments for the media so long as you have a strong understanding of the relevant content. Read the news regularly and ensure you thoroughly research the programme or organisation you would like to work for. Apply this knowledge by thinking about how you could benefit the organisations in question and share your ideas in interviews.
  6. Do not take rejection personally. You are not your failures; they are what you learn from. Confidence comes in time and you need to have faith in yourself and your journey of growth. Avoid a self-defeating mentality and sell yourself as the person you are today because you are worth something.
  7. Sell your individuality. All sorts of factors – our gender, life experience, and personal traits – make us unique. In interviews, speaking about what defines you outside of a professional setting gives you authenticity. An example given by one of our speakers was how being the oldest sibling in her family gave her exceptional organisational skills.
  8. Consider your options. In such a competitive industry experience can trump any kind of qualification. A master’s degree may teach you the rules and grammar of journalism but you do not necessarily need a formal education. If you do decide to follow a postgraduate route, choose a university that is really embedded in its local media sector and has proven connections that will enhance your next steps.

If you love writing and are committed to the distribution of reliable content, a job within media and journalism may be an excellent opportunity to expand your skills and passions.

If you would like to hear more about our speakers’ journeys and experiences you can watch the recording of the event here, and can also explore our Careers Service resources for finding work and putting together an application to increase your chances for success.

LinkedIn is another brilliant resource to begin building a professional network with industry experts. You can find advice on how to utilise the platform on mycareer. as well as join the Careers Service LinkedIn group to network with alumni, employers and fellow students.

Written by Ella Woszczyk, a second-year English student and Career Peer Support Assistant.