Okay so let's face it, being a journalism & media student isn't just a straight forward process. Particularly nowadays where the industry is more competitive than ever. The media plays a vital role in our lives, whether we are aware of it or not. And as argued by the Guardian's student blogger Enya Quin-Jarvis, it definitely isn't a so-called "mickey mouse" degree.
You would think that all you had to do was write a few articles here and there, but trust me, it involves far more than that (something which my lecturers and tutors never stop reminding me).
-The dreaded word (in my opinion anyways). Blogs. Almost everybody will give you a puzzled expression if you tell them that you don't have some form of a blog. Why is it so important? Because a blog can provide you with a platform to express yourself and show off your work, whether it be photojournalism or just simple feature articles, a blog is CRUCIAL. If you're passionate and serious about something, the best way to show it is through a blog.
2. Contacts, contacts, oh and contacts.
-Networking is considered to be extremely vital in the media industry. Quite often, the only way that you will get yourself heard is if you know somebody that can help you out. Competition is tough, the more people that you know and you try contact the better. And if they don't answer you well.. try again!
3. Don't be gullible, question everything that you read or see.
-Last week in one of my classes we were watching the much talked about and controversial show, Benefits Street by Channel 4. Looking at how the characters are portrayed and spoken about, you would instantly hate every single individual there. Or that's how Channel 4 want you to think. In reality, only 0.7% of people actually claim benefits through fraud in comparison to the figure of 27% that the public believe it to be as claimed by Haze Magazine. The media often exaggerates almost every story, so make sure you conduct some background research into any issue before sharing it with others (or making yourself angry over it, like thousands of Twitter users did).
4. Attending classes is not enough.
-It's all good attending every class and submitting every assignment on time, but you should be doing more than that. Tweet, blog, network, make videos: anything that will get you noticed online. Building up an online presence could get you further than you think.
5. Expand on your skills.
-Don't just sit and write articles. Learn how to use professional cameras, how to shoot an interview, how to edit and make movies and so on. Take photos, brush up on your Photoshop skills. Learn a new language. Anything that will make you stand out just that tiny bit more!
6. Be creative.
-Keep thinking of story ideas to pitch to news desks, be unique and have a different take on a story rather than the usual. You never know, your content could get used and if you're lucky you might even receive a payment for it!
7. Work experience.
-As hard as it is nowadays, try your best to get as much work experience as possible. Although it may be unpaid most of the time, personally I believe that as long as you have gained some experience you will eventually work your way to the top (and get paid too!). Check out http://journograds.com/ that regularly post opportunities!
8. Last but not least, don't give up...
-This is something I have to keep reminding myself. Yes, it can be disheartening to receive yet another rejection from an internship application. Yes, it can be frustrating if you don't know how to use Photoshop after practicing for a while. Your pitches won't instantly be accepted by publishers nor will you have the best sounding voice in videos or radio. I could go on and on..however, practice makes perfect and even if your content is not of interest to anybody, I guarantee you that with time, patience and a lot of practice, one day it will be! A bubbly personality and a simple smile can go a long way too!