|English and Related Literature|
|English/Writing and Performance (Drama/Film/Television)|
|Freelance journalist/admin assistant/researcher|
|Journalism and publishing|
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A day in the life of a Freelance journalist/admin assistant/researcher in the United Kingdom
Courses taken since graduation
MA in Film and Literature at York
Where I hope to be in 5 years
Currently I write freelance, apart from one day a week which is a largely administrative role, and a short term contract of one day a week as a researcher/writer for an election encyclopaedia produced by The Independent. Although paid standard freelancer wages for what I write, I hope to move to a more stable, salaried position at some point, or to combine less frequent freelancing with a return to higher education.
My advice to students considering work
Do a lot of extra things, especially if your course is a humanties one and you have a lot of free time! York has lots of really interesting and active socieities, which are fun but can also be talked up on CVs. Get work experience. But don't waste the uni experience by just thinking about jobs all the time - enjoy the student life while you can! Always choose modules etc you enjoy - get the most out of your course by following your genuine interests (then hopefully nab a job that has something to do with them).
What I do
As an admin assitant for the Saturday Magazine I deal with things like post/stationary and put payments on the system. I also write occasional features - things like their first person interview or design pages.
For my one day a week working on the election guide, I research and write up facts, stats, anecdotes, trivia and basic political information for an A-Z of the election.
As a freelance writer, I write for the features, property and the arts and books sections. I review DVDs and live gigs for the latter. Features I have written range widely and can be on any topic, and may have been my own idea or something I was asked to do. My most recent pieces have been a page in the Oscars coverage on female film directors; a cover feature for mothers day; a property piece about dealing with nosiy neighbours. I spend a lot of time interviewing people and then writing it up (and usually then editing it down as I tend to write too much...)
Skills I use and how I developed them
I had worked on a newspaper in Wales in 2007-8; wrote for websites; had written for student newspaper.
Ability to research, write and edit all crucial. Broad base of cultural knowledge useful and being used to working to strict deadlines.
Experience of writing for a newspaper, reviewing etc developed through paid and volunteer experience at newspapers/websites. Further writing, editing and interview skills as well as increased confidence gained through working at newspapers. My MA also further developed research, writing and editing skills as well as increasing confidence, especially verbally (useful when pitching ideas). Combination of work and further study equiped me well to be able to just get on with whatever I am asked to do!
What I like most
Writing. Speaking to interetsing people about interesting things and turning it into something interesting for other people to read. Freebies!
What I like least
Being stuck in an office looking at a computer screen. Being an unofficial member of staff and so not having a desk . . . or much job security.
What would I change? I wish I had been given a contract for my current job, rather than working as a freelancer.