Sunday, 27 September 2009

Jambothejourno seeks work: Part 6

It's only taken four months since finishing uni — but I've got an interview. It's for a trainee reporter job at the wonderfully named Congleton Chronicle. After the despondence of my last entry, I really feel like I've made positive progress in the past couple of weeks and this is my reward for my hard work.

The interview is next Wednesday morning and I'm already swotting up on Congleton and its surrounding area, researching the newspaper, its staff and its owners and generally trying to absorb as much information about the place as I possibly can.

I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched though. I'm working on an application for the BBC's Journalism Trainee Scheme, which seems to be the sort of thing people like me should be going for. It's open to anyone without a degree in broadcast journalism, and best of all, it's a paid position, spanning a whole year while you are trained to BBC standard.

I have experience of broadcasting through student radio, albeit mostly in a guest/expert role rather than as a presenter or a producer but I never had any formal training in using the equipment or writing specifically for a broadcast audience.

The application requires me to answer various scenario questions about how I would handle various situations. Most of them focus on how I would react to being given a task on my own I couldn't complete without assistance. But rather than it being a simple multiple-choice style test, it asks you to rate various actions from 1 (very ineffective) to 4 (very effective).

There are also three questions that give me the opportunity to sell myself and my skills, and the final part of the application asks me to critique either a television or a radio news bulletin. The deadline is two weeks away so I plan to spend lots of time on it before sending it away.

Rejection duly came from the Isle of Man job I wrote about in my last update, but I'm still firing off new applications, trying to tailor my CV and covering letter for each one as I go. The latest lucky publications to be pestered by me are The Press in York, the Times & Star in Cumbria, Kent on Sunday, the Brighton Argus and intriguingly, the Grimsby Telegraph, who are advertising the same trainee sports reporter/sub-editor role as they were at the start of the summer.

Also, I booked my driving theory test for next week as I get closer to being ready for my practical test. Hopefully by the end of October I'll have a full driving license and I'll be a more attractive proposition for employers.

And, having semi-successfully managed The Music Magazine (I didn't break it), a friend's online webzine, while he was away on holiday for a week, he made me his news editor. So that's keeping me busy as I source stories, drum up new contributors for the site, commission pieces and continue to write and upload articles.

Finally, I've been asked to speak about my time looking for work at the Guardian's London Graduate Fair next month, after one of the organisers saw my pieces for this site. I'll be appearing at the Media Moves: broadcast, digital and print journalism session alongside ex-Heat editor Julian Linley (as if I'm not enough of a draw for attendees). Although it's exciting, and I'm truly honoured to have been asked, I'm a bit nervous about speaking to an audience, and I need to buy a new shirt! This is going to be a really big thing for me and hopefully I'll be able to do some networking while I'm there and get some writing commissions off the back of it.

This article was written for the Guardian.

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