Me, the Student and some big time boxers: The big blag

Being in the right place at the right time may be a well-worn cliché but it is one which still holds great relevance for all us aspiring journalists. Being on work experience as a massive story breaks, having a camera as you spot someone dropping a fire extinguisher off a roof or bumping into a drunken celebrity in a dirty backstreet bar – all of these kind of situations give us wannabe hacks a chance to make a name for ourselves. But being in the right place at the right time often isn’t enough.

It is how you use your chance that counts and often you need to be able to blag.

One of my shots of the young boxer

Whilst at University both myself and the Student had the chance to interview a fellow student who was also a young boxer for Great Britain. After what I believe was a hotly disputed rock, paper, scissors contest it was decided that he got the interview, I would take the pictures (still a little bitter, I’m not going to lie). So off we went, knowing in advance that this Olympic hopeful would be accompanied by his agent/PR/bloke in a suit who funnily enough had some shaving foam still on his face as we shook hands. Still it was nice of him to make the effort.

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Guest Post – Jamie Smith: news agencies

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith had always wanted to be a journalist but he couldn’t get a job for several months after finishing his degree at the University of Sunderland. After six months of unhappy hunting – during which he wrote for the Guardian – he got taken on by online news agency Adfero…

It could be the right move for you.

Working at a news agency had honestly never crossed my mind.

After realising at a quite young age that I wasn’t going to be the new Andy Payton I set upon a path that would ultimately, I hoped, lead to a job in sports journalism. If I couldn’t play the game I would watch it and criticise those who could. It was going to be perfect.

A year and a bit after finishing my degree and I’m nowhere near where I originally thought I’d be.

But I am better off than many of my peers and that’s because I found news agencies.

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Guest Post – Emma Farley: a journo’s life outside the city

It’s the second guest post in a Wannabe Hacks double-whammy and – from the Freelancer’s neck of the woods – Emma Farley tells us whether living outside the big cities is really that troublesome. Make up your own mind whether her journey so far has been or will be enough…

Emma blogs here, reviews films for the Digital Fix and also writes here

Emma Farley

When I was 15 I decided that I wanted to be a film journalist.

I had it all figured out.

I genuinely believed that by the time I was 25 I would be making a living writing about film. As my 23rd birthday approaches, I’m still optimistic enough to believe that my dreams could come true by the time I reach that 25th milestone. However, compared to most other journalism graduates and film geeks, I’m at a major disadvantage… I’m Cornish.

I knew it would be difficult being based in the South West but I tried to make a hopeful and enthusiastic start…

At 16 I started writing for my local film magazine, Movie Magic, as well as the website Talking Pictures. I also did a week’s worth of work experience at my local paper. After completing my A Levels in Film, Media and English, I went to Cornwall College to study Newspaper and Magazine Journalism and topped-up my foundation degree at Marjon University where I achieved a first-class degree in Writing for the Media.

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Life at the New Statesman: Part 3

Hand with text written on it.

Image courtesy of flickr user: Aeioux

What happens if you don’t ask? You don’t get.

My final take-away insight from the New Statesman for you loyal readers is about creating opportunities for yourself. There are few things more pointless than being unhappy and unfulfilled because you did not pipe up about problems or concerns. If you are not being given the opportunities to learn or perform certain tasks and responsibilities whilst interning you cannot expect your employer to just start providing them. Furthermore, if you see new roles you would like to learn more about, you cannot expect your employer to sense this and change it. It is change you must bring about yourself.

How can you do this?

I think there are two good ways to ensure you are making the most of the opportunities in front of you:

  1. Offer to help with interesting projects and tasks. Now I can hear the alarm bells ringing in your head; didn’t the Intern tell us last week to make sure we are staying focused? He did and offering to help won’t change that because you are still (to a degree) picking and choosing what you want to get stuck into further.
  2. ASK. Simple isn’t it, if there is something going on in the office that seems a little bit special, or a task that doesn’t fall under your remit or even under the ‘role’ (editorial for instance) that you are learning that does not mean you cannot ask to help out or observe and learn.

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Life at the New Statesman: Part 2

Following on from ‘Life at the New Statesman: Part 1, which looked at the process of getting settled in an organisation today I am going to talk about having focus whilst interning.

What do you mean focus?

Everyone has specific interests, hobbies and passions and this applies to our working life as well as our non-work life. As an intern you are many things to many people, often asked to take on the more mundane and time-consuming tasks required to keep a business running day-to-day.


Image courtesy of Flickr user: Dani Ihtatho

However as an intern you are there to gain valuable experience for yourself as well; so you need to make sure that from time to time you are completing work that complements what you want to learn and what skills you want to improve. There are a couple of ways to go about doing this:

1. Do not offer yourself out to the entire office too often, although when you do have no work you should go looking. Don’t get into the habit of taking on anything and everything. By being selective you can build up a new skill set that becomes valuable to both you and the office.

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The BBC might not fancy Salford but I don’t much like the idea of London

You’ve all heard the stereotypes about cheap and stingy Northerners, drummed-up mainly by you Southern folk who group everyone north of Watford together into one big alien race. The actual distinction is that people from Yorkshire are the real cheapskates (spoken like a true Lancastrian). But when it comes to me, I – in this case – conform to stereotypes. And so you can imagine my reaction when I found that I was not only moving to London where it costs you about £3.00 to sneeze but that my course fees were going to be almost £8,000.

The Big Move

Now I have had my fair share of luck in being supported through University by family financial help, but 8k for a year is a bloomin’ lot of money in anyone’s book and I’m sure other people at City share these feelings. We are – however – paying for the best and I look forward to being bent out of shape and remoulded until I am the best hack I can be. But the money issues don’t stop there.

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