From blogging…to Twittering…to experience

21 09 2011

How a taster day at Brighton Journalist Works led to my dream job 

by Becky Barnes

The power of the internet and social networking never cease to amaze me, and certainly have not failed me at the start of my journalistic journey.  Following six months of post-uni travels, I returned to the UK four months ago, seeking a career in journalism.  While I trawled the internet for potential ways into the industry, I thought it wise to start  a blog.

My first post was a little bit unsure.  What should I write about?  Would people really want to read about me and my opinions?  I decided to name the post ‘Rediscovery Channel’ saying I would chart my rediscovery of popular culture after my time away from it in rural India.

If I was to take this blog seriously, I would need to go to events I thought would interest people, so I decided to buy a ticket to The Great Escape Festival in Brighton as I was going to a taster day at Brighton Journalist Works at the same time.  BJW had caught my eye firstly because it was in Brighton, but mostly because it seemed that the course could fast-track me to where I wanted to be.  I spent the evenings at the Festival and a day at BJW.  The day was interesting and interactive and I signed on the line straight away (for the test that is!)

At the same time, I reviewed The Great Escape.  I submitted my review to a website and got into an e-mail conversation with one of the people that ran it.  This conversation led to a summer of free tickets in return for festival reviews, and of course invaluable writing experience.

So, there I was; blogging and waiting to start my journalism course.  As the course approached, a flood of helpful e-mails from BJW prompted me to get on Twitter.  I had used it before when I was a Marketing Assistant for an arts festival but not for personal use.  Wondering where to start, I started following lots of Brighton people and gig venues, as well as newspapers and journalists.

It was a good move to write ‘Writes festival and gig reviews’ in my description, as I got contacted by a Brighton gig review website after tweeting about music and gigs.  Never underestimate the power of mentioning people in tweets – it’s a great way of networking, and gaining followers.  I now have a string of dates in the diary of gigs I am reviewing, which will be more writing experience.

It helped me to mention I was about to start an NCTJ Diploma, so anyone waiting to start their course at BJW, get writing.  Get on Twitter and follow people in your field of interest.  You never know where it might lead.

Blog: Twitter: @beckybarnesb




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