Journalism is one of the most competitive industries to work in and it can take a lot of rejection before you succeed. So inevitably, when preparing to send your application and CV to an employer in the media, you might feel nervous!
Jobulo talks to Carly Warren, Assistant Producer at national radio station talkSPORT, to get some top-tips on how to break into the media industry.
What Made You Want to Get Into the Radio/Media Industry?
I have always thought the media industry is so exciting, especially radio. It is so immediate because you are reacting to breaking news so I really love the buzz that comes along with that. I have always liked meeting new people and I knew a career in the media would enable me to meet a lot of interesting people. I think I am quite an organised person too and I think producing fits with this quite well and utilises my skills. I have always loved football and support Aston Villa so that was another reason I wanted to work in sports journalism!
How did you get into it?
I started off by doing some work experience in a variety of places including magazines and newspapers. I then went to University to study Multi Media Journalism which included television and radio. I ended up doing my dissertation on talk shows and went to talkSPORT to interview some of the staff. That led to a work placement – which eventually led to a job answering the telephones. My role has progressed from there.
Tell Us About Your Role as Assistant Producer
There is no typical day because every day is different! But most mornings when I get into the office I will go through the newspapers and speak with the presenters to decide what stories we are going to be covering. I will then have to look into booking telephone guests as we have one guest every fifteen minutes throughout the afternoon show.
The team will then have a production meeting, just to double check we are not doubling up on stories and to ensure everything is on schedule. I liaise quite frequently with PR agencies and management teams as we book two studio guests every day – it’s usually a sports personality or someone from the entertainment industry.
We have a regular feature called ‘clips of the week’, where we play out funny moments from the shows on air and I am responsible for compiling that. If I have any time left in the day I will then go onto forward planning for other shows.
What’s The Best Part of Your Job?
Every day is different so you can never get bored!
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Starting Out?
I think making contacts is essential. Work placements are also crucial – I had a gap year before university to concentrate on this and built some important relationships in the media. I have no doubt that has helped me to get where I am today. Don’t be shy and don’t be scared of badgering people. I had to chase up my application several times and if I hadn’t have done this my CV might have been forgotten. If you don’t get a work placement or a job you should ask why and try and gain some feedback to help you with future applications.
Is work experience essential?
I personally think it is – it allows you to get firsthand experience and can be great fun.
Radio Journalism is so competitive – What Makes an Application Stand Out?
I get lots of applications every week and while I don’t expect them to be glitzy or extravagant, I think creativity is vital. Keeping the cover letter as brief as possible and not repeating your CV is important too. Most people in the media won’t have time to sit and read a long application so keep it to the point, make sure you highlight your biggest selling points, don’t be afraid to do something a bit different and make sure you follow up your application!
What Three Ingredients Do You Need to Succeed as a Radio Journalist?
I think you need to be conscientious, prepared to work long hours and you have to be an exceptional communicator.