How to make it happen in journalism: part one

July 6, 2021

Collage by Ollie with images from Pexels

Olivia Opara shares her multiple resources, making it easy peasy to turn your dreams into reality

It’s now approaching a year since I started blogging, writing articles, poems and becoming passionate about journalism. Like many of you, I’m sure, I didn’t know where to begin.

So I utilised social media. Through this, I was able to start building connections and even landing opportunities to volunteer. My college’s careers supervisor, Ms Greatwich is amazing and totally helped me out. For starters, she connected me with Exposure who I work with regularly. Check out my work here.

Through the support of my college, I’m running a journalism society, which is a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people and share ideas.

I have compiled a resources document for my members to refer to whenever they need extra support. I hope this helps other keen journos too.

My first concern was the situation many young people find themselves in; we need work experience to get a job, but without a job or other opportunities, we can’t get the work experience. However, I found some good options that will definitely help:

WORK EXPERIENCE/VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES:
Follow these social media accounts on Instagram:
@journoresources
@soyouwanttobeajournalist
@weareblackjournos
@galsinjournalism
@empowordjournalism
@freelancingforjournalists
@nctj_news

SOCIAL MEDIA:
❖ Create a LinkedIn account:
This is a great platform to utilise. You’ll find many opportunities here as well as being able to connect with others from college and even people who are already journalists or writers.

❖ Create a Twitter and Facebook account:
Twitter is a useful platform to find out about topics that you might want to explore and write about. Being active on Twitter increases your chances of being scouted by a publication – that’s how Metro found and approached me. You can see my article here.

Facebook is also good; you’ll be able to find opportunities there. Journalism societies at universities tend to make a Facebook group, so you can follow/request to join them. This is a great way for you to network with other prospective journalists and to exchange ideas and get advice.

❖ Make an Instagram account for your work:
Instagram is amazing so utilise it. Create a page purely for your work and post snippets of it in any format that you like. Not only does this allow you to share your own work, find opportunities and experience, but it also helps you develop social media skills that are highly preferable amongst employers today.

It also demonstrates marketing skills and the ability to interact socially. You can check out my work Insta page here.

OTHER IDEAS:
❖ Student-run publications:
As part of their Journalism degrees, university students have to run their own online publication and they’re always looking for voluntary content contributors and sub-editors. I suggest reaching out to @empowordjournalism.

❖ Check out Reach Volunteering:
They are a charity that helps organisations find volunteers. Right now they have a lot of opportunities for journalism/writing volunteering projects etc. They are also on LinkedIn.

❖ Check out Creative Access:
Similar to Reach, they help organisations find potential employees within the media industry. From writing for television to even music, this is a great site to use. You’ll also find a lot of entry-level jobs/internships.

❖ Check out Metro and other publications:
Metro has an online version of the paper and they’re always looking for first opinion pieces from anyone and everyone and they’re extremely friendly. I suggest looking into others; I know that the Guardian accepts first-person pieces. I’m willing to support anyone interested in writing for the Metro. You can leave me a message at the bottom of this post.

❖ Pitch to local newspapers:
Local papers are always looking for people in their area to pitch and perhaps even be a regular contributor. You can also reach out to them for work experience and even volunteering opportunities. Here are a few local north London community newspapers set up by an Exposure alumnus who will be pleased to hear from you: Barnet Post, Enfield Dispatch and Tottenham Community Press.

BLOG, BLOG AND BLOG SOME MORE:
❖ Create your own blog:
This is a great way to make a portfolio of work, which will be ready for any time you need to demonstrate your potential and skills.

By blogging, you will be able to practice and solidify your written voice and style and even find out what your niche is.

❖ Use Wix:
I know that blogger and WordPress are mostly used but honestly, Wix is the most user-friendly website builder to create your personal blog. Not only is it free but you can actually make your blog and online portfolio look extremely professional. Check mine here.

Wix also has a section called Wix Reads, where bloggers can submit their work and Wix will publish it if it meets their requirements meaning your work will be shared with millions, for free!

You can blog from your phone with Wix as it has an app that you can download and sync and there you go; your blog is with you everywhere. I highly recommend though that you design your blog using a desktop/laptop as it gives you more scope and technical options.

❖ You can also use Medium
Medium is essentially a blogging platform and you can easily make an account and start publishing your work. With Medium, if they love your work, they may even pay you for a piece and share it with their premium members.

❖ Contact Exposure
Last but not least, you can work with the super-friendly Exposure team to have your creative work published here on this dynamic, colourful, informative website. All outputs are shared across their social media platforms.

For more information email info @ exposure.org.uk
________________________________________________________________________________

Though it can be daunting not knowing how or where to start, it’s wise to remember that this is normal, expected even, as nobody truly knows all the answers. Be proactive and keep creating content, some of it will be great and some won’t but it’s so important to dedicate time every day to get your thoughts and ideas down. It’s key to have fun as those who truly enjoy what they do tend to flourish and it comes across in their work.

And with that being said, I really hope that this compilation of resources and ideas will help you make a good start!

Donate via PayPal

Exposure is an award-winning youth communications charity giving young people in north London a voice.

Please support us to continue our work. Thank you.