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The Exclusives

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Gauging the reaction around ITV2’s new reality offering The Exclusives – a show which follows six wannabe journalists competing to win a twelve month contract at Bauer Media – it’s plain to see people aren’t impressed.

Journalist and TV critic Grace Dent wept, Wannabe Hacks think all the contestants are crap and twitter said it was ‘awful, degrading and an embarrassment to journalism’.

On the contrary, I think it’s pretty good.

Here are the contestants:

Ex-glamour model Hayley Newnes has a degree in English, works in Pizza Hut and writes for her local newspaper. Her modelling past has given her heaps of confidence and she has brilliant communication skills, knows exactly how to get the best shots at a photo shoot, and as a magazine addict she knows what readers are interested in. I expect this was why she was chosen, not because she “looks like a glamour model” (Wannabe Hacks).

Ellie Henman is also brilliant. I love her. And if she doesn’t win, she’s going to make it anyway. A broadcast journalism graduate from the University of Leeds, the competitions already seen her get on her knees to beg a fit male to come to a More magazine photoshoot and told him her favourite sex position to get him to tell her his, not blushing one bit. The one to watch.

Felix Clarke is the token toff of the lot, studying journalism at a London university and while he’s probably a good writer and knowledgeable about current affairs its fairly clear celebrity journalism isn’t where his future lies.

Twenty eight year old Stuart Roberts hasn’t really had the chance to shine yet either, out of his depth with a Made in Chelsea photoshoot he says he’d be more at home at Kerrang! Which incidentally, is the place he nailed an interview with Charlie Simpson (Fightstar) in last weeks episode. Watch this space…

Blackpool born Chris Goddard grew up in care and has heaps of confidence but is again, one of the weakest ones so far. I’m saving my judgement on this one but warning signs have already started to appear (complains a lot). University drop out Sunny also seems like a bit of a wet rag at the moment, doesn’t have a good attitude and is quite quiet, however, she’s apparently a keen writer so only time will tell if it’s the right thing for her.

But the great thing is, is that they are from all walks of life. There couldn’t really be a more diverse group. So the one who wins the year’s contract at the end is the one with the most talent and hopefully – the one who’s learnt the most after the six weeks. Not the one whose dad works at The Independent, or whose parent’s money could pay for them to slog it out on countless unpaid internships for as long as it takes.

The tasks they’ve been given are pretty much what you should expect when you take your first job (admin, transcribing, being the general dogsbody) and are a test of one of the vital things needed to succeed as a journo: a good attitude. The hands on learning they are all getting is also a very important part of a journalists career, because it’s the only way you learn from mistakes and improve. The only difference is that their mistakes are all being filmed and watched on national television. Cut them some slack.

Journalism takes balls and that’s something they’ve all got for applying for the show in the first place. May the best hack win!

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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.

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