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JOURNO INTERNSHIPS: MY EXPERIENCE, WHERE TO START AND WHY TO DO THEM.

Okay, I’m just gonna throw it out there, the journalism industry is
a really tough nut to crack. Heck, I
still haven’t cracked it despite four years of studying and countless
internships and freelance work (though I’m determined that 2017 will be the
year that I do!). It’s an industry that so many people (especially young women)
aspire to work in – the lure of exciting press opportunities and events, and
the dream of working behind the beautifully adorned pages of magazines you’ve
read since your teen years is definitely appealing – but in reality it’s hard
freaking work.

It’s competitive. With so many young people trying to break into the
industry, you’re constantly competing for your chance to shine. It’s also
ruthless. You’re expected to work super long hours for very little, or even no,
pay on your way to the top. And it’s seriously demanding; you need to be
completely determined to succeed. But despite all of this it really is everything
you imagine it to be. It’s exciting, fast-paced, thrilling and ultimately fun.
You get to do so many wonderful things, meet and work alongside so many amazing
people. No day is the same and, as technology is ever-evolving, the media
industries are too, and you’re right at the forefront.

I have absolutely loved my
experience of the journalism industry so far; it’s been so motivating and
inspiring. It’s opened my eyes to a whole new world and I’m completely sure
that I’ve chosen the right career path for me.

So many of you have been so supportive of my journey, and I thought
I’d share my experience and some advice on journo internships. I know so many
of you lovely readers have the same dream, so I really hope this post helps and
inspires you in some way!

MY EXPERIENCE

Ever since I was tiny I’ve always wanted to write. I think this was
fuelled from my love of reading – I would read absolutely anything I could get
my hands on – and alongside a new book, having a new magazine to read was the
absolute best. I loved the designs, how the pages looked, and how they were
filled with words. I read everything from Girl
Talk
to Mizz (OMG WHO REMEMBERS MIZZ?), and when the time came to choose
my career path I opted for journalism. I worked so hard, surpassed the A Level
grades needed to get into Cardiff University, and in 2012 I moved to the
capital to pursue my dream.

I think the first thing I noticed whilst at university was that
everyone was seriously determined to make it, as I was too. My course mates all
worked on extra-curricular media projects – whether they were working for
student media or securing work placements elsewhere – everybody was doing something, and it really spurred me on.
It was actually so encouraging to be around such hardworking classmates and in
my first year I applied for work experience at my local newspaper; a one week
placement which turned into an ongoing internship, where I would go into the
office every Friday to write, interview and head out to find willing vox-pop
victims participants.

I loved it. I live in a tiny town so there was never any majorly
hard-hitting news – the closure of the town post office probably being the biggest
story we covered whilst I was there – but after a few weeks I became Lifestyle
Editor and my own weekly fashion and beauty supplement to write. It was so
exciting to see my name in print and I really learned so much; the editor was
absolutely fantastic. I continued to write and produce content for the paper up
until my third year of university when my studies really took over, by which
time I had been accepted onto Cardiff University’s Masters in Magazine
Journalism course.

I had wanted to take the MA course since my second year of
university and did everything I could to be accepted, working extremely hard on
my studies while doing extra work experience where possible and blogging my
butt off too. The course itself was incredible. I met and worked alongside so
many fantastic people. I pitched, designed and edited a new interiors magazine
from scratch; I learned how to really write, how to edit and design magazines,
a wealth of digital and video skills and the whole logistics that come behind a
magazine brand. But what I learned most was how determined I was to succeed in
the industry.

We had to undertake a two-week placement as part of our studies and
I was really lucky to be accepted as an editorial intern at Perfect Wedding and also as a beauty
intern at Grazia. I had wanted to
intern at these two titles since forever, so having the opportunity to do so
was amazing, though it was at Grazia
that I really got a feel for the magazine industry and everything it entailed.
It was my first “big” internship and one that I value so much. It reaffirmed
what I already knew – that this was my passion.

I completed my MA in September, after a seriously stressful summer
writing a business plan and designing and creating a new Welsh travel magazine as
part of my thesis, and I’ve since had the opportunity to intern at the beauty
desks of two of the UK’s leading titles. In October I spent two-weeks at Stylist, which was so much fun as it’s
so creative and so forward-thinking, and on recommendation from Stylist’s beauty editor I went on to
intern at Elle. This was a real
“pinch me” moment. I couldn’t believe I had the opportunity to intern at one of
the world’s leading titles! I really cannot put into words how incredible the
opportunities I’ve had so far have been, and how much they’ve taught me about
the industry.

It’s also worth noting that alongside magazine journalism
internships, I’ve also been lucky enough to work in TV after completing a
week’s work experience when I was 17 for a local television company. From there
I have freelanced for the past five summers with this company, and am currently
freelancing as a runner for BBC Wales, and as a video assistant for Superdrug.
It’s amazing how the two mediums blend so easily, and video is so up and coming
so it’s definitely something to pursue, and something that I would ultimately
love to work in.

WHY INTERN?

1. It develops your skills
(and you as a person):
Honestly, I’ve learned so
much through internships, both in terms of digital, video and editorial skills,
and about myself. Working grueling hours, essentially at the bottom of the
line, for no pay really makes you
realise whether pursuing your dream is worth it. For me, I was lucky as it
confirmed that the journalism industry was one I was desperate to work in. It
also gave me lots of confidence as you’re constantly meeting new people, and
finding yourself in new experiences and situations.

2. It’s all about “who you
know”:
Networking is absolutely everything in this industry. The more
internships and work experience you do – whether that’s writing for your local
paper or working for a well-known publisher or company – the more people you
meet and the more chance you have of securing something in the future.

3. You get a real feel for
the industry:
I just love how exciting this industry is and being a part of it all, even
just as an intern, is incredibly motivating.

4. It leads to more
opportunities:
From Grazia I was recommended to Stylist,
from Stylist I was recommended to
Elle, from Elle I secured my first lot of journalism work. Likewise, when it
comes to television, I’ve worked with a vast array of people, all of whom have
known the people I’ve worked with before. It’s a pretty small industry to be
honest, especially in niche sectors, so you never know where one door may lead.

5. It’s fun: Yep, interning is ultimately really fun and I can honestly say I’ve
really enjoyed my experiences as an intern, even if my living situations were
completely horrendous.

WHERE TO START

1. Make sure your CV is on
point:
I can’t stress this enough. Make sure its
up-to-date with the relevant information. Make sure there is an email address
or phone number for people to contact you, and try to keep it to one page.
You’ll need to be concise in your writing but squeeze as much on there as
possible. List your skills, your experience and your education – and no BS, as
you will be caught out.

2. Keep your options open: So your dream internship fell through, but one you weren’t so keen
to get involved in has been successful. This may be the best thing that happens
to you, so keep your options open. You have to have a little faith that
everything happens for a reason.

3. Apply to anything – you
are definitely good enough:
I found I was quite
nervous to apply for jobs at first, but if you don’t ask you don’t get! The
worst somebody can say is no, and you can always ask for feedback on where you
went wrong in your application, or if there are any other opportunities
available. Have confidence in your ability, show willingness and you’ll get far.

4. Work hard: This is an obvious one, but when you do land your internship work
your little socks off to impress. You never know when a job opportunity could
open up in the future!

I’m not going to lie and say it was easy, because working for free,
with nowhere in London to stay, and without any friends or family close by was,
at times, awful. I was very lucky that I had my parents’ help when it came to
funding, and I also relied on money gained from my part-time retail job. It is
really hard out there, but I really believe (in my experience anyway) that the
internships I did have been completely worth it. If nothing else I’ve had some
amazing opportunities – some I never thought I’d get – and I’ve met amazing
people, and learned so many things along the way.

If
you have any questions please comment below,

or
tweet me @jessieann48 for a quicker response!

(You
can also e-mail me: jessieann48@hotmail.co.uk)

Lots of love. xoxo

TWITTER
| INSTAGRAM | BLOGLOVIN’

21 Comments

  1. Emma-Jane Maclachlan
    January 11, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    This is such a useful post Jessie! I'm interning at the moment and I've learnt SO much since starting in June. xxxxxx

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 14, 2017 / 6:16 pm

      Thanks so much! Hope you've loved it 🙂 xx

  2. Paula Loreti
    January 11, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    As I said many times before in here haha, I'm studying journalism and all your post about it make me super motivated to go out and make things happen. Also, I love how down to earth your posts are, you don't say it's going to be super easy, bc is not, but it'll be worth it and that's an amazing message to give. Thanks Jessie!!www.blossomikebana.com

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 14, 2017 / 6:17 pm

      Ahh thank you Paula – that really does mean so much! 🙂 Best of luck with everything. If you ever need a hand you know where I am xx

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 14, 2017 / 6:17 pm

      Thank you! 😀 xx

  3. McKenzie Miller
    January 12, 2017 / 4:11 am

    I was so tempted to study journalism but ended up going in the direction of Graphic Design. But this was so interesting to me and I love your enthusiasm and motivation. Keep it up, I wish you the best! xoMcKenzie | maybemckenzie.com

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 14, 2017 / 6:16 pm

      I love graphic design too! It's so much fun 🙂 Thank you for your lovely comment. xx

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 14, 2017 / 9:46 am

      Thank you lovely! xx

  4. Karis Brelsford
    January 15, 2017 / 7:24 am

    You are doing amazing. I love seeing and hearing about your internships/work. Its so inspiring. When I was at uni I did a lot of work experience as couldnt afford to intern really, but it was more for accountancy jobs. Not sure why I thought that was where I wanted to go career wise haha but thays another story. I do think internships are so important though and kinda wish I had done one for a summer or something as it does help open up doors, get connections etc. Xx

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 15, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      Aw thanks so much Karis – hopefully we'll both be free to meet up very soon! 🙂 I definitely agree. I wish I had done more when I was younger and had my student loan to help fund me. xx

  5. - Karen
    January 15, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    This is one of the most inspiring posts I've read. Ever. & so is your journey- I always love keeping up-tp-date with where you're at.. did someone say girl boss?! ;)Style Sunrise☀:)x

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 15, 2017 / 4:24 pm

      Oh thanks so much Karen, that's honestly made my day. Haha I don't feel like too much of a girl boss at the mo, as I have no clue what I'll be doing in Feb when my contract ends!! xx

  6. Sonia Hussain
    January 15, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    this post was so inspiring, i am currently studying fashion journalism at uni in my second year, looking to go into journalism/ PR, i currently have two internships this year and this post has really motivated me to carry on working hard xwww.sonias-style.blogspot.co.uk

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 15, 2017 / 10:11 pm

      Amazing news about your internships! I wish you all the best and thank you for your lovely comment 🙂 xx

  7. Justine Machin
    January 15, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    I'd love to be brave enough to do what you did hun. Don't think my anxiety would allow for it though, that's why I love my blog and freelancing, I can still hide at home and do what I love. Meanwhile I'm living my dreams vicariously through you! 🙃😂😘 xx

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      January 15, 2017 / 10:10 pm

      Aw thank you so much! It has taken years to find the courage to do it, but I am really enjoying it! Thank you for your lovely words 🙂 I hope I can freelance in the future. xx

  8. Diana Maria
    January 23, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    This was such a great post to read Jessie! I've been dreaming of finally taking the step to start working in journalism after graduating from English, and really hope I find the motivation to do so like you have! Interning is definitely a struggle, but it sounds like you've made many sacrifices that have ultimately helped you get to where you are today. Congrats on all of your achievements! My Lovelier Days

    • Jessie-Ann Lewis
      February 3, 2017 / 3:39 pm

      Oh thank you so much Diana! That's so lovely of you 🙂 Best of luck with your ambitions! xx

  9. Maya Powell
    February 20, 2017 / 9:39 pm

    I love this post! It's motivated me to write one about my experiences. I always wanted to be a journalist too but now I work in PR full time which is near enough for me. New reader of your blog!http://mayamariesworld.blogspot.co.uk

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