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Working for free – the result of my degree June 5, 2009

Posted by Matt Domm in journalism, Life, work.
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It’s about time I wrote something relating to my field of expertise – journalism. I use that term as I assume a journalism degree at the very least allows me to call myself an expert – I can’t call myself a ‘journalist’ yet, let’s face it.

Four years ago, a letter to the editors of my local rags enquiring about a trainee scheme was, I hoped, my first step on what is an extremely long ladder. A very small step it proved to be as my applications were all routinely denied, except one. No, it didn’t offer me a place, merely advice on how to get into the industry.

I needed formal qualifications – an NCTJ accredited course or equivalent – to even become a junior. To cut a long story short here I am, four years later, clutching waiting for my degree – and I am most definitely not even a junior.

Instead, I have become qualified to whore myself out – for free – to anyone willing to accept my blood, sweat and (lots of) tears in exchange for a byline and a sentence on a piece of paper entitled ‘cv’. Be it writing for websites or interning at magazines, it is a tricky road to even get to the stage of charging for my effort, let alone making a living out of it.

With three placements recently completed and another lined up later in the year, and contributing to a couple of sport websites I am very slowly moving up the ladder to rung… two, probably. I imagine rung three is the holy grail of being paid in money rather than gratitude so, by my maths, I will be 25 by the time I can actually claim to be a proper journalist.

What an industry and what a price to pay for ambition… but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

I wonder if McDonalds is recruiting?

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Comments»

1. Yet more redundancies… « The scribbles of a recent graduate - June 19, 2009

[…] than I’d wish – and my overdraft limit is edging closer; so it still looks as though unpaid placements, with weekend work to pay for them, is the most likely option until people want journalists […]


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