It’s very difficult to stay motivated when you are freelancing in your spare time, planning a 5,000 final project, designing a business plan for a new local news app, and revising case studies for media law exams.
It’s even more difficult to do so when you are applying for multiple jobs, as soon your MA course is to be finished, and you will be searching far and wide for work to pay the rent.
I’ve applied for all the graduate schemes, entry level reporter jobs, administrative and editorial assistants, and many, many more. I’ve had a few interviews, a few questionnaires, and a lot of rejections too. This was all to be expected.
In the meantime, life’s been filled with work experience. I’ve been at LBC Radio producing shows and getting vox-pops, at the Camden New Journal reviewing plays and covering community events, and at the Evening Standard and Independent’s City desk, covering annual general meetings and writing market reports. I’ve also started a part-time internship at Business Reporter, Telegraph supplement. This is while doing a bit of freelance writing for the Guardian, and some shifts at the i newspaper. All have been extremely valuable, I’ve had the opportunity to write lots, and have added multiple lines to my CV.
All in all, I cannot deny I am still feeling very disheartened, despite all this. Not because I know that I haven’t got enough experience; I have. But all the rejections are getting me down, and the waiting is pretty agonising too. And as happy as I am for all of my friends, who have got jobs at places from the BBC to The Telegraph to the Daily Mail, I wish I could join them in the security and job of employment.
Am I cut out for this? Should I give up this dream of journalism, and go into another job which I may have a chance at getting, which may get better paid? What more can I do to make myself employable?
I cannot deny that I think these things regularly, but I knew that getting a job in journalism was going to be difficult. I knew that it would be competitive, that there would be lots like me fighting for the same jobs, and it might take a while to get something.
But last week, while at the City desk, some reports landed across my desk which led to this article getting published in the Saturday edition of the Independent, on the closure of Manston Airport. This reinstated why this is the job that I have to do. I have to keep going, for this.
On the surface, the story looked very confusing, and it was, but once I dug deeper I found the people in the story. Save Manston Airport group on Facebook has almost 5,000 members. There are between 130 and 500 local jobs at risk here.
I spoke to local MP, Sir Roger Gale, who gave me a fantastic quote, which sadly had to be cut from the print edition. He said that saving this airport was in the national interest, but he also cared about the people.
“Of course I care about the local people involved here. Of course I care about the little girl that wrote to me to say ‘please save my Daddy’s job or we’ll have to move away’.”
What a heart-breaking statement. This is why I want to do this.
A few months ago now, I received a message from a university friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while. He said that a student of his was due to be deported, would I be able to help write something? I looked into the case, did some research, interviews, and realised there was a real story here.
I sent some copy over and got a positive response from both the Independent and the Guardian, who published my work online and in print. Sky News had covered the earlier protest, and I was excited, and proud to have played a part in breaking the full story. I followed it and continued reporting updates.
Within days, the entire mainstream media was writing on it, and over 160,000 people signed a petition to try to stop her from getting deported, and so many people weighed in their thoughts. Sadly, it failed, and she is now in Mauritius without her family, but still with the love and support of her wonderful classmates, and school who supported her throughout.
A sad story, but one I did all my best in promoting, from ringing the Home Office, to interviewing her in Yarl’s Wood detention centre, where she remained for weeks, alone, before being deported, surrounded by bodyguards. I am currently waiting for FOIs back from the Home office as to how much money they have spent on her detention and deportation.
Despite the outcome for Yashika, and whatever may happen with Manston, the people behind these stories is what truly matters, and is why I have to force myself to keep going in this job-fight.
I have a good CV, lots of experience, I can report and write well. I can make videos, audio clips, use the internet and new technology, and I know what makes a good story. I will get a job eventually, because this is something I care deeply about, and what drives me forward each day.
The desire to write, the desire to help, to raise awareness, to inform, to encourage debate, freedom of thought and speech, and to constantly learn more about the world around in order to better myself, and others, are what I consider to be a few of the fundamental things I wish to achieve in my life. I don’t care if that’s not what other journalists do, that’s what I do, what I want to do, and what I hope I will always do.
I wrote this not to brag, to be arrogant, to show off, or anything of the sort. I wrote it to keep myself going, when it gets really depressing and disheartening, and I wonder if I’ll ever achieve it. You should too.