Hello all, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all well. This is a slightly different blog post to the usual – instead of books and reading, I’m going to be discussing my personal journey into the field of journalism, and my experiences working at multiple magazines over the course of this Summer. So let’s get started…
For those of you who don’t know, my name is Melissa Snow and I’m a 19 year old English Literature and Creative Writing student. I’ve just completed my first year at university. I’ve found it challenging and difficult, but I absolutely love my course and I couldn’t ever see myself studying anything else.
From quite a young(ish) age, I’ve been an ambitious and hard-working person. If I’m interested in something, I’ll always give it my all. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved reading, and English Literature was always my best subject at school. I was good at writing essays and always had loads of ideas for individual creative pieces. I started looking into degrees in Creative Writing whilst completing my A-levels, and the passion just grew from there!
One of my other massive hobbies is music. I was quite focused on playing music for a while – I’ve been playing the piano since I was about 5 and achieved my Grade 8 – but ultimately I discovered that playing music was more suitable as a hobby for me personally.
But from the age of about 13, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with music and bands. I remember an old school friend getting me into Paramore and Muse, and to this day Muse are still my favourite band. I’ve attended concerts regularly from the age of about 14 and this Summer, I’ve been to Glastonbury, and am heading off to V Festival in a couple of weeks time!
During my teenage years, I read a lot of music magazines; such as Q, Kerrang!, NME and much more. I always used to turn to the concert and album reviews, and think to myself “Wow, wouldn’t it be brilliant to be able to write these?!”
So, to cut a long story short, a couple of years ago I decided that as a career, I’d love to enter the world of journalism – specifically music journalism. I wanted to be the one to go to those concerts and review them, and listen to CDs and rate them. I wanted to interview bands and artists and have my name in the big music magazines. My love was cemented even further after reading “How To Build A Girl” by Caitlin Moran (which I highly recommend). The teenage protagonist secures a job working at a music magazine in Wolverhampton, and basically ends up doing precisely my dream job!
Two years ago, the sixth form I attended urged us all to complete some work experience. At this point I wasn’t quite 100% sure on what I wanted to do in the future, but I thought a local magazine would be a great starting point. I worked at Moving On Magazine for a week, which is a local magazine based in Stratford-Upon-Avon who provide careers/qualifications advice and discuss the options available to young people under 18. This was a long time ago so I’m not going to go into too much detail about it now, mostly because I can’t really remember all of what I did, but I absolutely loved every minute of it. I independently wrote and structured articles based on briefs, interviewed members of the public, wrote blog posts…you name it, I did it!
This year was the year I began to fully understand that experience is what gets you far in journalism. Having experience working in the industry looks really impressive to future employers, and you’re more likely to be accepted by companies if you’ve worked in the field before. So I freed up my Summer calendar and began hunting around for work experience opportunities working at magazines.
I contacted the team over at Moving On Magazine again and asked if they’d have me again this Summer, and thankfully they did. I worked there for a week at the beginning of July and again, I loved it. I got stuck in immediately – researching and writing articles which have now been published in their online Results Day Guide 2016 edition. I was guest editor for the week, meaning that I was able to proof read and edit work from other contributors to go into the magazine, and I even wrote the Guest Editor’s Letter and introduced the magazine.
I also got to do something very exciting which I’d never done before. I was able to work backstage on the website, doing some writing and editing, and ultimately learning all about how the website is put together. I learned how to SEO articles on their website (it’s too complicated to go into right now!) and I helped put some of their online articles together.
I loved work with the Moving On team again – if you’re reading this, thankyou!
After working at Moving On, I then went off to Style Bham for a weeks work experience at the end of July. Style Bham are a fashion/beauty/lifestyle magazine based in Birmingham – very different to the style of Moving On! I was very nervous about working with Style, as I felt I didn’t really have any experience or knowledge about fashion. But I had nothing to worry about!
As soon as I got there, I was asked about my interests, and I explained that music journalism is my chosen pathway. The editor got me listening to Tom Odell and I reviewed his album “Wrong Crowd”, which can be found here. This was something I had only ever dreamed of doing before, and I really enjoyed every minute of writing the online review. I also got to introduce new music artists which was very exciting for me. During the majority of the week, I wrote loads of challenging and interesting pieces. From cook books to health, to makeup/beauty, to introducing new venues, to exclusive competitions – writing for both online and Issue 50 (out at the end of August/beginning of September) – I really did love every minute of my time there.
On the Tuesday, I got to take part in something very exciting: Connor Ball from The Vamps came into the studio for an exclusive interview and photoshoot. I prepared his interview questions, assisted with the photoshoot and also took over Style Bham’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages, posting behind the scenes shots of what’s to come in Issue 50!
Working with Style was very new and exciting for me, and I honestly did love every minute of it. So if the team at Style are reading this – thankyou so much for having me!
If you’ve made it to the bottom of this post, well done you and thanks so much for reading. If you’re looking to go into the field of journalism, I just have one piece of advice for you: get all the experience you can. It really does make all the difference!
Happy reading 🙂