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Ella Walker

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How to Get That Elusive Career in Journalism

Posted: 10/18/11 05:50 PM ET

One of my favourite things to do is finding out how the hell my favourite journalists managed to wrangle themselves a job.

I'm always scouring blogs and scrolling through Twitter bios to track down the definitive route into writing and -- *cough* -- how to get paid for it.

So, when I got the chance to interview Ali Harris, newly published author and ex-Glamourite (she was deputy features editor after a lengthy stint writing for Company Magazine), I had to ask for her top tips on forging a career in journalism.

Here they are:

1) Get work experience -- I learnt on the job and was utterly enthusiastic and passionate. Be prepared to do anything but don't think you're going to be interviewing celebrities straight off the bat, it just doesn't happen like that, and you know what, it'd be really overwhelming if it did. You've got to do the groundwork first.

2) Use your initiative -- don't just sit there waiting for things to happen, you've got to get up and make them happen. Rather than badgering someone into giving me a column [at Company Magazine] I thought: 'I'm going to prove I can do it,' so went home and wrote a column. My features editor really liked it and called me into the office, I got the regular column as a slot.

3) Don't ever think there's just one way of doing something -- there's always a way of getting in contact with someone for a feature, don't just go: 'I can't do it,' you've got to just keep trying, trying and trying.

4) Read everything -- read every newspaper going, read every magazine going, read everything because you can get your own style from that.

5) ... and read everything back -- I'd make sure I'd read a feature throughout the editing process because I wanted to see what had been changed to help me write it better next time, rather than going: 'Oh they changed it, my precious writing,' -- that's not life, you need those outside eyes.

Read the full interview with the Miracles on Regent Street writer.

 

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