A career in journalism
How do I get into journalism?
Trainees come into the industry by a variety of routes. Some are recruited directly by a newspaper in their Q1 local area and carry out their basic training under the terms of a training contract. This is known as direct entry.
However, the majority of trainees are recruited after attending vocational education and training courses. These are normally for Q2 graduates. Such courses are generally run by colleges accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists. This route is known as Q3 pre-entry.
Some colleges will grant places to people on pre-entry courses only if they have already had a work experience placement at a newspaper. Therefore it would be sensible for you to write to a number of local newspaper editors to ask if they will allow you to join their team of reporters as an observer for a few days. Explain why you think you would make a good reporter and try to pick a time other than July, when pressure on work experience places is at its greatest. You should try to be the Q4 applicant who stands out as the most committed to newspaper journalism, and the most able. But do not be put off if you receive Q5 rejection letters, as there is strong competition for places. Editors appreciate and respect determination and persistence.
Many people ask about becoming freelance journalists. To begin with, you must know the paper you’re hoping to write for; the article should be approximately the same number of words normally employed by the Q6 editorial column in that paper, and on one of the topics that are most likely to be used. Approach the editor in writing. Send a written synopsis of your article, enclosing some Q7 information about yourself and, if possible, some other articles you have had printed, whether in your local paper or in your student magazine.
What qualities do newspaper editors look for?
To convince an editor that you are worth appointing you will need to be able to demonstrate:
• an interest in people
• an interest in current affairs
• an ability to write in a Q8 style which is easy to understand
• good spelling, grammar and punctuation
• an appreciation of the part newspapers play in the community and society
• a willingness to accept irregular hours, and work under pressure to meet deadlines.
Staff Training and Development: Scheme of Assistance
The Company encourages the professional development of its staff and will provide assistance under this scheme to enable them to obtain approved qualifications, to undertake approved courses of study or to attend approved conferences.
Assistance will normally be given where:
a) the qualification, course or conference is relevant to the role currently being carried out by the individual and
b) the company’s Q9 operational requirements permit such assistance to be given.
Some or all of the following forms of assistance may be given at the discretion of the Head of Department:
•where it is not possible for an employee to undertake training outside working hours, release from work for up to two days per week
•paid time off during normal working hours to sit examinations or attend short courses or conferences
•paid individual study leave to be taken at agreed times, and not normally to exceed Q10 5 days per annum
• towards the cost of tuition and examination fees
• a contribution towards the cost of learning materials of up to £150 or 50% of the actual cost (whichever is the lesser amount)
• any relevant travel or accommodation costs up to a maximum of £150 p.a.
Requests for assistance should be made on the relevant application form, which can be obtained from the Personnel Administrator, and once completed and signed by your Head of Department, should be forwarded for consideration by the Q11 Finance Committee.
Assistance will be given on the condition that:
a) individuals shall reimburse the Company Q12 50% of any financial assistance given under the scheme if they leave the Company within 1 year of obtaining a qualification or completing a course of study, and 25% if they leave the Company within 2 years
b) individuals shall reimburse the full cost of any financial assistance given under this scheme if they fail to complete the course of study, or fail to attend a conference for reasons that are not acceptable
c) individuals shall notify the Q13 Personnel Administrator promptly if they drop out of a course of study, or fail to attend a conference. They should also provide information concerning the results of any examination taken.