Too proud to write for “The Daily Fail”?
November 29, 2010 18 Comments
When you’re looking for something, you’d be amazed how quickly your standards lower. We’re talking about jobs here as opposed to that desperate 4am scanning of the dance floor…
On Sunday Giles Coren wrote a column much like those he publishes in varying parts of The Times of a weekend: witty, touching, cleverly structured and a delight to read. Except it appeared in Femail: The Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday’s girl-friendly colour supplement. The flocks of @gilescoren fans (myself included) sycophantically tweeted their appreciation hours after ‘Oh my God, I’m turning into my father’ appeared on Mail Online.
However, it was clear that many of these compliments were more than a little backwards. @henweb tweeted: “Nice. @GilesCoren’s article in the Daily #FAIL is literally the first good article I’ve read in the DM for… well, ever! http://goo.gl/hWJCh”. I was alerted to the piece by @samparkercouk, advising that “If you only ever visit the Daily Hate once in your life, make it for this article by @gilescoren.” Even if he wasn’t such a candid tweeter, it’s obvious why Coren took the controversial commission: it’s his job.
Daft as it sounds, it’s all too easy as a young and/or wannabe hack to imagine ourselves taking the Guardian offices by storm, rather than realising that writing for a living is as much about paying rent as it is ‘changing the world’. When I was job-hunting a fellow intern scoffed, “Gas and Power Magazine? Seriously?” It’s easily done, until you see what journo job listing sites really look like and your specifications broaden considerably.
I stopped slagging off minor publications a few years ago after realising that my first commission could well be for the fictional Anglers Weekly – any Angling-related publications out there in need of an editorial assistant, you know where I am. It’s easy to joke but such a prospect appears to be commonly overlooked by wannabes. It’s great if you have a niche subject, but don’t let it, or your job snobbery, get in the way of what might be your big break.
As Rosie Niven previously posted; B2Bs are a great way into the industry but are frequently overlooked because they’re not household names. I used to maintain, fairly ridiculously, that ‘I would rather not be a journalist than write for the Daily Mail’. Last week I interviewed for a company that provides copy for them and I’m really, really hoping I get the job. This isn’t a case of putting money before principle, but an awakening that making journalism a living comes down to who’s going to pay.