Journo student: Thoughts and exploits

After we graduate…
March 26, 2009, 5:06 pm
Filed under: journalism, magazines | Tags: , , ,

So, in my panic about the lack of jobs in the media I decided to find out what my fellow City students had lined up for after they graduate and what one of our tutors did when he graduated during the last recession…

In order- Izzy Janner, Nicola Davison, Jo Abeyie, Ali Plumb, Patrick (from the newspaper course) and John Rennie (City university tutor)



As the end of my journalism course becomes slightly more visible, panic is definitely starting to grow. Whispers of “job” and “internship” can be heard floating around the department and that niggling little worry that there are actually no jobs to be had in the media is beginning to surface.


Anxious questioning of fellow students reveals that, in fact, we are all in the same crammed and nervy boat. Hardly anyone has anything lined up for when they finish and everyone is still pretty clueless about how to go about finding anything. Far from reassuring me that I am not alone, I am acutely aware that there will be 46 of us released into the job arena at the same time, vying for minimum wage internships and editorial assistant jobs at Total Karp. And that’s just on the City magazine course.


While we are reassured by tutors that jobs will indeed materialise, I am becoming more unnerved by the day. An event held by Women in Journalism last week in Islington made it clear that coming straight out of a postgraduate course and into a job is becoming more unlikely. Maureen Rice, editor of Psychologies magazine commented on how internships are fast becoming the only way to get into a paid job on a magazine.


This may be the case for many magazines but I wonder how much of a waste of time it is to do an internship that doesn’t lead straight into a job. I did some work experience at Easy Living magazine over Christmas and was working along side a six-month-er who was coming towards the end of her minimum-wage internship. She told me how she was struggling to live in London on minimum wage and was hoping that this internship would leave to a permanent position at the magazine and a pay increase.


While I was there she was called into a meeting and told that they would not be taking her on after her six months were up as the magazine had no positions available. She was suddenly completely jobless and I don’t think my interjections of, “at least it will look good on your C.V” did much to console her.


So, even if you manage to get into an internship, there is no guarantee that this will lead into a job. A friend of mine from my course has decided to turn this job-drought into an opportunity to go abroad for a few months and take some journalistic work in Shanghai. This is starting to sound enviable. Ruth Gledhill told us that if we ever wanted to go travelling for a year, this is certainly the year to do it. Either that or, as Maureen Rice said that many young journalists are doing, turn from journalism to PR. God, I think I know which one I’d prefer.



Interview with a nun

A group of cynical journalism students descended en masse upon the unsuspecting nuns of Tyburn Convent in Marble Arch. Actually, they were suspecting and pretty shrewd with it. They met our intrusive questions with dignity and rich tea fingers. The only way to meet intrusive questions I’ve come to realise.

Sister Mary Chanel was our kind interviewee who explained to us what it meant to be a benedictine comtemplative and how exactly she came to be one. Sister Mary seemed more inclined to talk about the general principles of being a contemplative,  but we later steered her around to discussing more personal issues.

The fundamental principle of the order is to become the ‘perfect Christian’- as was established by St Benedict, who is generally considered to be the founder of western monastisiam. The aim- union of the soul with God.

What seemed to be the most interesting part of the interview with Sister Mary was the description of all the things sacrificed to be there. Seemingly trivial things perhaps, like television, radio, internet. One visit a month from a family member, lasting only for an hour. No real contact with the outside world. Complete obedience.


The strangest thing of all was the absolute silence. Being one moment on a central London street, centre of touristy chaos and the next inside a contemplative convent was alarming.

Sister Mary just seemed to find our looks of apprehension amusing: “A little voice told me long ago that this is where i was supposed to be.”

Flickr image courtesy of Krissie P

Flickr image courtesy of Krissie P