Journalism & Publishing
Journalists produce content for magazines, newspapers, radio, television, and, increasingly, online publications. As well as producing written content, journalists can be employed to produce other forms of content such as data-sets, images, videos, live blogs etc. Competition for jobs within the industry is extremely high and enthusiasim and previous experience are highly prized by employers.
The UK has a strong publishing industry, the second largest in Europe. Roughly half of the industry is located in London and the South East. Freelancers make up around 15 per cent of the workforce. Similiar stats apply to the journalism sector.
Publishing traditionally referred to the creation and distribution of books, newspapers, music and magazines. More recently, the creation and increased use of electronic media has widened the scope of publishing significantly. Now a huge volume of websites, emails, computer games, software and blogs are published each day around the world and this has increased the diversity of the industry and the roles within it.
Where do I start?
Within the journalism and publishing sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.
Job roles in this sector include (though are not restricted to):
- Broadcast journalist
- Commissioning editor
- Digital copywriter
- Editorial assistant
- Magazine features editor
- Magazine journalist
- Newspaper journalist
- Press photographer
- Press sub-editor
- Print production planner
- Programme researcher, broadcasting/film/video
- Publishing copy-editor/proofreader
- Publishing rights manager
- Radio producer
- Web content manager
As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews.
- Eye the Prize - Online platform providing access to funding, competitions, jobs and other opportunities across the creative industries including writing and journalism.
- journalism.co.uk - industry news, careers advice, courses and jobs
- The Publishers Association - The Publishers Association is a trade organisation serving book, journal, audio and electronic publishers in the UK.
Getting your first job within journalism and publishing can be tough - more people want to work in the business than there are jobs available and entry level jobs are rarely advertised. Employers, keen to attract the brightest talent, can therefore afford to look for people who have some practical experience as well as relevant qualifications and genuine enthusiasm. For this reason alone undertaking some relevant experience is invaluable. Work experience can be paid or unpaid, undertaken during holidays, through a degree module or as temporary employment alongside studies.
However finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Purple Doorwebsite. In addition to this the University of Portsmouth Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, in conjunction with Purple Door, have developed a Creative Careers guide, an online resource with CV and application information focused on the creative industries.
The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size publications as well as major punlications. Finding Work Experience in Media contains links to relevant resources to help you.
It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience; Purple Door offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Purple Door careers centre.
If you wish to instigate voluntary work experince during the vacation periods please refer the 'External sites' on the voluntary work experience section of our website.
Tips to build experience:
- Explore the various areas within the journalism and publishing sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills.
- Get involved in relevant University or external groups this is a good way of demonstrating your motivation and interest in this area of work.
- Be proactive and make direct contact with publications that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.
- Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers - see our Networking and Social Media section for further guidance.
- Remember to utilise any of your own personal experience that could interest an employer such as a personal blog or any contributions to online publications.
Finding a job
There are many different areas within journalism and publishing to work across a variety of roles. From journalism across multiple platforms, to both in front of, and behind the camera, broadcast work and writing and publishing, this is a broad subject area. This means it is worth giving some time to thinking where you particularly wish to specialise within when thinking about experience and jobs you wish to target.
The range of employers who recruit in these areas includes:
- The main national broadcasters including the BBC, Sky, ITV and Channel 4 are leading employers within all areas of journalism
- Leading graduate employers within publishing include Bloomsbury Publishing, Penguin Random House and Pan Macmillan
- The majority of national newspapers including The Guardian, The Financial Times and The Daily Mail run graduate schemes
- Local newspapers and radio stations are many people's way into the sector and offer a wide variety of positions.
- It is important to remember that many people who work within journalism and publishing will be freelance
Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search:
- The Guardian Jobs - Journalism and publishing jobs on Guardian Jobs
- The Oxford International Centre - Vacancy list run by the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies
- Press Gazette - National and regional journalist and communication jobs
Tips for finding a job
- Keep up to date with journalism and publishing news and trends by following the leading titles, publications and professional bodies on Twitter, this information might help you identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market.
- Keep your online job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
- If you are keen to focus on a specific sector within journalism and publishing check out the specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies.
- Ensure you maintain a strong online presence, showcase your work either through social media, a blog or an online portfolio (clippings.me)
- It is important to note that some publications rely solely on speculative applications and never advertise directly so be proactive and target potential employers.
Follow on Twitter or Facebook to receive news, information about current projects for this specific industry sector and to tap into the hidden jobs market
Twitter is a key instrument within journalism and publishing and should be utilised as much as possible. This should apply to both maintaining a strong presence yourself (particularly if you plan to work as a freelancer) and through following key titles and publications within the field. Journalism.co.uk has guidance on how to utilise Twitter effectively. Other useful Twitter pages include:
Need more help and information?
How can Purple Door help you?
Purple Door offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:
- Career options
- Further study
- CV and Covering Letters
- Application forms
- Job search
- And more......
Please visit services for you for more details about our support and services.
Purple Door has an online Jobsboard advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Recruitment Consultancy team that delivers a personalised matching job service.
Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or skype booked appointments, please contact us to discuss your needs.
If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.
Working in Journalism
- JournoGrads - Job hunting advice alongside job listings for entry-level journalism roles and internships.
- Press Gazette - National and regional journalist and communication jobs.
- Hiive - This professional networking site for creative people provides information on job opportunities, company profiles, funding information and advertising space for freelancers.
- National Union of Journalists - The NUJ represents a broad range of media professionals and includes a section on careers advice.
- HoldtheFrontPage - UK regional journalism news and jobs
Working in Publishing
- The Society of Young Publishers - The SYP has news, job vacancies anc careers advice (some content can only be accessed by members).
- The Bookseller - Provides the latest news and analysis for the book industry and includes a database of publishing jobs available in the UK.
- PPA Careers - The Periodicals Publishers Association inlcudes a jobs board and careers resources including MagScene, a careers guide to working in magazine publishing.
- BookBrunch - Inofrmation and daily news service on the book industry.
- Publishing Talk - Online learning community for publishers, authors, agents and others wanting to learn about social media marketing, digital publishing, self-publishing and developments in the industry.
- What's New in Publishing - Features the latest news and ideas for the UK media and publishing markets.
- Publishing Perspectives - Online magazine of international book publishing news and opinion.
Working as a Freelancer
- nest - University of Portsmouth’s support network for current students and graduates who wish to work self-employed offering advice and guidance, office space and networking opportunities.
- PeoplePerHour - The UK's largest freelance community offering work, advice and networking.
- Freelance Writing - Provides advice, tutorials, examples and work for freelance writers.
Jobs within this field are usually advertised directly and almost never through a recruitment agency but it is possible to work for press agencies, either on a permanent contract or on a freelance basis.
- Press Association - based in London, the Press Association is the national news agency for the UK and Ireland and offers work, training and experience across all multimedia platforms.
- Reuters - The world's leading international news agency with offices in London.
- NAPA - The National Association of Press Agencies has a members directory of organisations all over the country.