What? My Name Is – Who? My Name Is … (via Wannabe Hacks)

When I entered the profession at 21, I was fortunate to find a job on a specialist magazine fairly soon after leaving University. But I have my doubts about whether it would be as easy now. That’s not to say it’s impossible, but as we all know, there are fewer graduate jobs in traditional journalism these days.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that there are many different paths into journalism. I’ve recently been advising career changers to do a vocational journalism course. But seeing how start-ups and hyperlocals have acted as a launchpad for their founders’ careers, I started wondering whether a journalism course is necessary for a motivated graduate.

I was therefore interested to read about four recent graduates who are going to test drive some of these diverse career paths. Their blog Wannabe Hacks will document their attempts to break into the media industry.

Like all good heist movies each character has a distinct role: the freelancer, the student, the detective and the intern. They are also seeking a fifth – the worker.

Their mission is pretty self-explanatory. The student will embark on a postgraduate journalism course, the intern will offer up his time unpaid in exchange from some on-the-job experience, the freelancer will freelance, while the detective will errr…

Actually this is the weakest link in the whole experiment as the detective has worked in journalism before and is also doing a postgraduate qualification in journalism at the same university as the student. (I must add that this comment is not a personal criticism of the detective, but rather a question about whether his path is truly distinctive from those of the other bloggers.)

I would be more interested in seeing them recruit a blogger who is using a hyperlocal blog or a collaboration (such as the Berlin Project) to launch their career. Still, this is an interesting experiment and I look forward to seeing how they fare.

Best of luck lads!

What? My Name Is – Who? My Name Is … Not Slim Shady – obviously – but Matthew Caines. It seems strangely apt that we – The Wannabe Hacks – and I – The Freelancer – are alluded to in such a way. It seems that we embody some kind of superhero squad or Journo Justice League that needs to keep watch over this dark Journalistic City. It’s a city that is in a desperate need of hope: unemployment, over-competi … Read More

via Wannabe Hacks

5 thoughts on “What? My Name Is – Who? My Name Is … (via Wannabe Hacks)

  1. Christian Philips says:

    I interviewed at a very prestigious newspaper today only to be told by the editor that journalism qualifications are largely a waste of time/effort/money 🙂

    Very happy to hear this, its a shame people are not able to think independently to get experience over more pointless letters after their names.

  2. Ash says:

    Can’t imagine I’ll ever make a career from writing – perhaps I came to it too late – but I enjoy it. Luck, direction, guidance, common sense, and many other extraneous factors play a part in a career. I just didn’t have the writing focus, knowledge or passion at a young enough age to go in as ‘work experience’ and be a lacky for six weeks (or however long it takes).

    Still, I’m happy enough where I am now.

  3. rosieniven says:

    Thanks for your comments guys. Christian – it’s interesting to hear an editor saying that, though others may feel differently.

    A little newsflash: Matt, the Freelancer has got a job according to Journalism.co.uk. So a great start for the Wannabe Hacks.

  4. The Student says:

    Hi Rosie, a good blog, interesting to hear you take on the industry and how to get into it.

    Just to clarify a few things: The Freelancer, Matt, is freelancing for various different magazines but doesn’t have a job per se. And the fifth person on WH (we’re not sure what their title we be yet) is currently busy but will hopefully be joining us shortly.

    We appreciate what you say about The Detective but 1) he hasn’t actually worked in journalism as such – he managed to get paid work for one day a week (which I think you will agree is much different) and 2) we wanted to show that there are various courses that give you different skills and which can help you get into the industry. We didn’t want it to be ‘News MA is the only course you should do’ – hopefully The Detective will throw up some interesting findings

    Our fifth blogger may actually be another News MA student at City for the same reason – we feel different people respond differently to courses/ learn different things. So by having him on board, one person’s opinion isn’t representative and a greater insight is provided.

    And yes we are in the process of agreeing with a few people to be regular bloggers (an intern from the US for example) and would welcome someone running a hyperlocal blog or somthing similar, just as we want a proper journalist to do an occasional post (something you may consider…) We want a range of views and experiences, the more the merrier.

    If you know anybody who might be interested, please let us know. And if anyone else would like to get in touch, email hacks@wannabehacks.co.uk or tweet us at @wannabehacks

  5. rosieniven says:

    Hey Student – Thanks for your comment. I appreciate you taking the time to make those clarifications. It’s also great news that you are widening the pool of bloggers, I’m looking forward to reading the different perspectives on breaking into journalism.

    I also enjoyed reading your debate on degrees – I had similar dilemmas when choosing a degree and eventually opted for the more academic option. And I don’t regret it. I posted a response on the subject today in part to your post and in part to Andy Dickinson’s post and in part to Christian’s comments on this blog.

    On doing an occasional post – I would be happy to do so and I’ll keep an eye out for anyone else who might be interested in blogging for you.

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