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So you want to be a journalist?

On April the 25th I am helping to put on a daylong event for aspiring journalists. It’s called ‘So you want to be a journalist?’ and it’s your chance to hear how you can make it from top industry professionals.

Tickets cost £40, and yes I’m biased but I’m going to tell you why it’s worth it.

  • How many times have you heard how competitive the job market is in media? How it’s only the really amazingly clever and talented people that make it? It’s this attitude that makes journalism seem like a member’s only club. The people inside don’t want to share their trade secrets in case of competition and those on the outside often feel like they are blindly following a dream they don’t know too much about. You think you want to be a journalist….but you’re not sure. This is your chance to be sure. Hear how some of the top people made it and how you can too. Straight from the horse’s mouth; no myths, no hidden agenda and no scare tactics.
  • Contacts. This is the only time you will be in the same room as so many top journalists. Meet them, say hello, ask some questions – if they remember you they will be much more likely to respond to any future emails. Heard about how so many people get jobs because they’ve got contacts? Start making yours.
  • Stand out from the crowd. Yes there are lots of young people who want to work in media and not enough jobs but by coming to this conference you’ve got the upper hand. You’ll find out how to make your job application stand out and what kind of things you should be doing NOW.
  • Meet each other. I am VERY excited about this. How fun is it to meet people you’ve got loads in common with? You can meet fellow aspiring journos, share tips and get loads more twitter followers. I am very keen to organise a pub party afterwards. Who’s in?
  • Find out the things you really need to know. I have been told by countless people with journalism qualifications that to be a journalist you need skills and the only way to acquire these is to train on-the-job. So what are they? And do you really need that MA, NCTJ qualification and degree? Find out what the best way in to the trade is for you.

A couple of people have questioned the price of this conference.

But putting on an event to this scale costs thousands and it’s not being put on by a charity. It’s been pulled together by two freelance journalists who rely on themselves to make a living and while they are spending time organising a conference like this, they are missing out on paid work.

Most importantly when it comes down to it, it’s a great conference with an amazing line up of speakers.

Still sweating about the £40? Here are forty ways to save/make it.

  1. Instead of buying a sandwich/pasty/burger/coffee at lunch make some sandwiches at home. If you swapped spending £4 a day on lunch, five days a week for a month with homemade lunch you’d save £40
  2. Swap red bull for instant coffee. Saving £23ish
  3. Give up online shopping for lent. Saving ££££££££££’s
  4. Before a night out, instead of having your first drink at the club/pub have a mighty pre drinking session at home, by the time you’re out all you’ll want to do is dance. Saving at least £20 a week
  5. If you do insist on buying drinks when out, take only the set amount of cash you’re happy to spend and no plastic cards
  6. And swap: Jaeger for Corkys (sorry…), Vodka for Archers, Bottles of beer/lager/cider for pints and WKD for VK
  7. Stop buying take away. How much does this cost every time? £5? £10? Cook double the amount of dinner before going out and  save half for when you get back. Frozen pizzas are also very cheap
  8. Get a job
  9. Sell old clothes/books on eBay. You’ll be surprised at what people will buy…
  10. Don’t buy new clothes for every night out, you’ll just throw up on it anyway
  11. Don’t buy ready meals; buy rice, pasta & potatoes
  12. Do a sponsored run. You are a charity, right?
  13. Swap the cinema for movie night
  14. Give up buying coffee/tea out for a month
  15. Swap public transport for walking or cycling
  16. If you do need a lift don’t get a taxi, get a bus
  17. Cancel your gym membership and exercise in the park instead
  18. Buy multipacks of crisps from the supermarket instead of buying single packets every day
  19. Stop buying Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Just for a month
  20. Use your overdraft – that’s what it’s there for. The bank don’t care, they have customers who have millions invested. They won’t come and find you
  21. But do keep account of what you’re spending so you don’t go over any overdraft limits and get charged by the bank
  22. Borrow £40 off mum/dad/granny/sibling
  23. Stop buying cans/bottled water when out, take drinks from home instead
  24. Ditch brands when shopping
  25. Nick toilet rolls from university loos
  26. Shave your head
  27. Girls, stop buying Benefit make up. It’s not good and you are effectively paying for nice boxes and packaging. Max Factor all the way, plus they always have 2 for 3
  28. Cut your own hair. Messy is in
  29. You don’t need the latest iphone/ipad/blackberry, you just want it
  30. Stop going to the shops because you’re bored
  31. Eat roadkill
  32. Nice looking stationary: you don’t need it
  33. Grow your own asparagus
  34. De friend all your friends on Facebook for a month so you don’t spend on social gatherings
  35. Buy in bulk
  36. Write a shopping list and stick to it
  37. Make your own laundry detergent
  38. Shop with a friend and take advantage of 2 for 1 deals
  39. Ask for money instead of Easter eggs
  40. Get a job

See you there.


About Rhian Jones

I am a freelance music business journalist based in London. My career began when I saw an apprenticeship with freelance education journalist Janet Murray advertised in the Guardian. I applied, and after a gruelling two-day Alan Sugar style assessment, got the job, quit university and relocated to London to pursue my dream of a career in the media. The apprenticeship ended on a high when I secured my first journalism job at Music Week. I spent my week days writing news stories, interviewing and learning all about the fast paced nature of putting together a weekly magazine, all while gaining invaluable insight into the inner workings of the music business. After three years and a few promotions, I left my position as news editor to go freelance in 2015. Alongside two regular gigs as London correspondent for US trade rag Hits, and contributing editor for Music Business Worldwide, I've written for publications including Company, Grazia, The Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian, The Independent, Music Ally, Billboard, The Journalist and Music Teacher.

5 responses »

  1. Just booked it! Can’t wait 😀

  2. Yaaaay, see you there Marese!

  3. Annoyingly enough my last ever NCTJ exam is on this day in London somewhere, would it be ok to turn up halfway through the event?

  4. Really fun ideas – #33. Why just asparagus?

  5. Ashley Cowburn

    Finally booked onto this an hour before the deadline – hello beans and toast until loan day!


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