Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Job Doctor; Just the Job

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Job Doctor; Just the Job

Article excerpt

Q I am a 24-year-old PA earning [pound]32,000 a year. I have always wanted to get into journalism but have no idea where to start. I have little experience, apart from writing a few freelance pieces when I lived abroad and attending an evening course at City University. I also made it to the last four in the Sunday Times non-graduate programme selection process but pulled out because of the huge drop in salary. I have only GCSEs, no A-levels or degree, but have almost completed a shorthand course. What kind of grants could I apply for, and what sort of timeframe would I be looking at before I could expect to be in a fulltime position with a decent salary?

A Paul Charman, programme director of journalism at the London College of Printing, says: "I would hate to put anyone off going into journalism, but luck plays a big part in this field. It's not like medicine or law, where you go through recognised training to enter the profession. I used to work with John Diamond, who was a teacher until he was 26, then worked for a short time on a trade paper, then blagged his way on to Time Out. If you have the talent, there are lots of opportunities, but few journalists earn very high salaries.

"It seems to me that you have two options and both will mean managing on less money, at least when you start. You could go back into the education system, taking A-levels in the evening or a course such as one in journalism run by Hackney Community College, or you could try for a postgraduate course such as the 16-week course we run here. Occasionally we will take on people if they have equivalent experience and skills to a graduate, and you might qualify.

"Alternatively, you could try working as an editorial assistant, or as PA to an editor, and try to get into journalism that way."

Marie Baker, pre-entry administrator for the National Council for the Training of Jounalists (NCTJ) at Harlow College, says: "Whatever happens, you are looking at a salary cut. …

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