- AT the start of this module I wasn’t sure what or who I wanted to be. I just had several rough ideas. So the first step for me was to understand my strengths. I have always done music reviews, kept up to date with music news and also I have pasted work experience in that area so I decided to focus on that area. So after thinking about these things it made sense to me to undertake music journalism.
- NEXT I had to figure out what type of journalism I wanted to focus on. In first year I really wanted to try TV journalism and found it wasn’t for me as I didn’t expect to feel as much pressure as I did being in front of the camera. I moved to radio and took to it much more naturally and decided I would try to improve my radio skills more. As for written journalism I had always been writing constantly either for my blog or various websites so I would continue to do so.
- AFTER narrowing down my journalistic type to written and radio I set about trying to find work experience. Even after deciding on music to specialise in I had trouble really finding work experience that I enjoyed. I would apply to anything and everything because I was so worried about my chances in such a competitive environment. And the work I did get I didn’t really enjoy and wasnt very inspired by it. For example I got an internship at GoCarShare which is basically a start up company for car sharing for events like festivals. So say someone is driving to Glastonbury from Coventry you can grab a lift if you’re from Cov or along the the way there for cheap as they have spaces in their car they are selling or vice versa. So what I did as the journalist and social media head was write about certain festivals for the website or the newsletter and so on which was good but however when they would come to me with things like ‘I need you to come up with something to do with cars or car sharing ect’ I was hopeless like I can’t even drive so I really stopped enjoying the work and felt really low and eventually quit. because I realised it wasn’t something I wanted to do, I wasn’t passionate about it and it caused me a lot of stress because i was struggling but too intimidated by the working environment to say anything.
- SO with a couple of knock backs from work experience I’d done so far I was beginning to struggle. Then 201 introduced me to Creative Futures which is an amazing team of people dedicated to helping you gain employability. I booked an appointment as basically we spent the whole hour deciding on what I actually wanted to do in the music industry. I thought I’d narrowed it down but I needed to narrow it down further still. For example what genre of music should I specialise in, what area of music should I specialise in, particular companies I’d like to work for and so on. I made another appointment which then focused on my CV and how to channel basically everything we’d just talked about in the first session to show that in my CV. Making everything more original which included the layout. I decided to remake my CV on photoshop so it stood out to everyone reading it.
- FROM then on the work experience I gained was a lot more enjoyable because it was focusing a lot more on who I wanted to be as a media professional and that was my goal.
- MY goal is to be a BBC Radio 1 type presenter or to work in music A&R both focusing on up and coming bands in the indie alternative area.
During my time doing 201 I have learned many things about professionalism and about myself in general. At the start of my journey I found myself applying to any and all internships and work experience because I just felt I needed to. And as a result when I did get offered a place I would sometimes not enjoy the experience at all and found myself quitting early or getting very stressed. It taught me that I need to focus on things I want to do in the future but also it showed me what I am good at and not so good at. For example when doing an internship in London I found commuting very expensive and stressful to the point where it would effect my mood and also my work. I was something I should have taken into account before accepting the job. I felt like I had learnt an important lesson when undertaking my second internship which was again based in London. After the first meeting I asked if I was able to work from home and skype in when needed. As this was a startup with a very small team of people they seemed completely fine with it and I was able to work better and feel better. Although the first internship taught me a lot about office etiquette my second taught me a lot about compromise and being able to express my opinion without feeling shy or overwhelmed as I was in my first internship.
For assignment 1 I was placed with a group of people I had never met before apparent from one person. I found the whole process of tracking my work mates down tiresome as I didn’t understand why no one had gotten back to me or tried to contact me as this work was important to do as a group. I felt like I had wasted a lot of time and energy trying to contact people who didn’t want to be contacted. That experience made me realise how important teamwork really is. Eventually having got tutors involved we came together as a group and found we each has different skills to bring to the table and different ambitions we wanted to achieve. Some wanted to become an entrepreneurs and some wanted to work in publishing while others weren’t sure yet and were using the opportunity to help them decide. When convening again with our interviews we had all interviews different kinds of media professional but still managed to find clear trends needed when becoming successful in the media industry even though the industry is so varied which we highlighted in a video. Those core factors we discovered as a group help me channel my search for more opportunities and what to be like when doing them.
One of the things my group’s manifesto helped me realise was I was already immersing myself into the industry but just wasnt aware of it. I spent a lot of time stressing over how I was going to get work experience in such a difficult environment like the media industry, but what I didn’t realise was I was already working in a media environment writing for the university paper and having my own university radio show. I had gotten so use to producing work for those aspects of my life I no longer saw it as work but as part of my routine. I learnt that hard work does pay off as I was recognised at the Source Awards for my work for the student paper even being offered the editor role for next year.
I would often volunteer myself for things which opened a lot of doors for me to be adaptable with my media skills which is another of the group manifesto tips. For example with Varsity I was able to do radio and TV as I would do radio commentary but also interviews for Source TV.
Another trate my group’s manifesto mentioned was to think ahead and always have a goal. My long term goal I have recently discovered is to become a Radio DJ and or work within the BBC focusing on the music industry. So when the opportunity to take part in the BBC tours cropped up I grabbed it with both hands. We met a lot of interesting people and were able to ask a lot of questions about what is needed to attain certain jobs within the BBC. For example we found out that being a newsreader is a very prestigious job because you’ll have to have worked for many years as a reporter before you are invited to be a newsreader. We were also shown a lot of different radio sets and the BBC Newsroom and how it works. I was even able to read out the news in one of the studios which was a great experience.
I thought going to Creative Pie would be very intimidating because I at the moment am at the very start of my my journey, as a media professional whereas others are much further ahead. However I found it very insightful because as the speakers would explain they all had to start somewhere and how their initial ideas didn’t pan out or how they accidently found their calling just goes to show that journeys can change drastically along the way, you might be thrown into something you’ve never looked into before but find its the thing for you. It really inspired me to look into other areas of work similar to what I initially focused on being such as music PR.
Working on the news gathering site Newsgird improved my teamwork skills as we all came together on the idea to help run it. We scheduled a rota on who would be in charge for what parts on what days as the site also had a social media aspect to be ran.
Being part of Newsgrid opened up the opportunity to become a part of Radio Plus a city wide radio station which was wonderful and goes to show if you do one opportunity it can lead to others. The radio plus Newsgrid team had to cooperate with the established radio plus team which I think we did considerably well and worked efficiently to rapid deadlines in a fast paced environment where the latest stories were always changing. We were able to work together to bring up to the minute news. I found that because I was not new to being on air thanks to having my radio show on Source helped me adapt quickly.
Currently my work experience is with NUBI Magazine is the one I’ve enjoyed the most out of everything I’ve done so far. This could be because I’ve learnt so much from my other experience opportunities what do’s and don’t’s to follow I am no longer fazed by new environments, new people or too afraid to ask questions. This made my life so much easier and my work was able to flourish.
So as for the future I will undertaking a year abroad in Amsterdam for one semester and Los Angeles for another. I really want to travel and broaden my horizons, experiences different cultures and see how the media industry works in other countries.
When I first decided to do Teeline shorthand it was a decision I made long before officially joining university. My aspiration is to become a journalist and having a skill like Teeline is ideal when applying for journalistic type jobs to help differentiate yourself from other applicants is a skill that is highly valued in the area of work I am hoping to be involved in. Though at the start I had no knowledge of Teeline whatsoever I was eager to learn and it was important I give it a try. I knew it would be difficult for me because it takes me a long time to remember things, having a bad memory made me apprehensive when choosing this module as I was worried I would not be able to remember the outlines.
An on going struggle with the course was that of my bad memory. I would learn something one week and forget it the next. Which was extremely frustrating and constant rote learning was boring and tedious; I often got distracted when trying to learn out of the classroom.
Rote learning however was a major reason why I retained much of the outlines also when other people whom weren’t taking shorthand found an interest in my topic. I found it fun to teach others and in turn helped me strengthen the information I learnt plus boosted my confidence in what I was doing. Also shorthand became a little quirk I could use to write notes in that others didn’t understand. I have yet to use shorthand in a serious matter because I still don’t feel that confident in my writing to rely on it more than my long hand skill but I suppose that changes with time and practice.
Particular places I struggled on the course was moving out of my comfort zone, just as I got comfortable with learning a rule for one particular outline there would be several more plus exceptions. I over came this with applying the rules rather than just simply rote learning them.
An outline I found difficult to do was the ‘f’ outline. I found it unnatural for my hand to go in that direction and often the outline would be o shaped. I continued to struggle with this outline for a while until I found that going anti clockwise felt and looked better when creating that shape.
I always found that timing wasn’t an issue I could keep up with writing at speed quite well throughout the course the only thing that was time consuming and a bad habit was going over outlines once I drew them in the hopes to improve them because writing at speed can lead to messier outlines. But when doing this I would often miss what the words being said were so my sentence was incomplete, I stopped doing this once I realised this hindered rather than helped my shorthand skill.
As to whether or not I will continue with shorthand next year I don’t know yet. The only think stopping me from continuing it is my wandering interest in other modules. Shorthand is rather tedious after a while and I have a short attention span. If I do well and get a good grade now then there is a good chance I will carry on because again it is ideal for my course however no the most interesting thing I could be doing.
Music is an interest of mine and combining it with my interest in journalism seemed like the logical thing to do. First of all me and my partner discussed how we would go about creating a good journalistic piece and decided an interview would be ideal. We were told that local pub The Town Crier had live music acts every saturday so decided this is where we would find our musical act to interview.
Setting up an interview with local band Silverside meant doing research into them and finding the most appropriate contact details to set it up. I found that Facebook messaging the bands page was the most effective way of communicating; interview location, time and date were given several days in advance. ‘They need to save confidence that you are professional you know what you are doing’ (Hudson and Rowlands: 2007: 93) so I stated clear the purpose of what the interview was for and where it would be used. ‘Always have a good idea of the basic information you want from a source before you start asking questions’ (Randall 2007: 72). When compiling questions for the band I took into account their background as they were all from the local area, musical interests and ending on a question involving the audience asking if they has any advice for anyone wanting to start a band. It is important to ‘ask the questions the audience wants to hear’ (Hudson and Rowlands: 2007: 92). When doing the actual interview I used interview techniques such as active listening, not looking at notes, building a rapport, using open-ended questions and making the interview more or less flow from what they were saying. ‘Short questions generally produce succinct, dramatic, focused responses’ (Tompkins: 2007: 82) which was what I wanted out of the interview, that and anecdotes that people would remember. ‘Good anecdotes can add a tremendous amount of life to stories’ and the only real way of getting anecdotes is a “matter of chatting in a relaxed way’ (Randall 2007: 76). I managed to make the band comfortable enough to joke around and comment, “he’s from Rugby but we forgive him” which brought life to the interview with laugher involved making it more enjoyable for viewers.
I found the whole thing a learning process with highs and lows. I was left in the lurch by two member of my group who didnt show up to the pub to help: film, take notes, conduct the interview and review the performance meaning that the two of us had to all these things which I found highly stressful and irritating. But being a pair made me realise how capable I am to multitask and not be easily deterred from unfamiliar situations and people. I am a driven person and when I want to do something I will do it. In fact a few weeks after this me and my partner conducted an interview with famous musician Billy Lang who is part of the band The Subways.
So this is a step up from local bands and also a set in the right direction in where I want my career as a music journalist to go.