Is it true that journalism is becoming elitest because many graduates can’t afford to work for nothing?
“Definitely. I found it really tough to make it work financially — so it must be close to impossible if you can’t afford to work unpaid at all. But some people do manage it — I know someone juggling work experience with a temping job and she’s really close to getting a permanent, paid job now. Other people do what I did and juggle bits of paid freelance work with unpaid internships. What’s really difficult is you have no way of knowing how long you’ll be doing that for. You may get offered proper, paid work tomorrow — or never. It’s a constant battle that requires enormous stamina and determination. It’s no coincidence that journalists are such terriers — you have to be, to get into the industry.”
Isn’t journalism in a real mess at the moment, with people being laid off? What sort of response can eager young graduates expect when starting out?
“There is panic about the way that journalism — especially print — is going. There’s a general mood of unease. I’ve also noticed there aren’t enough people in editorial teams, due to cut budgets and a few redundancies, which means bigger workloads and longer hours for staff. On the up-side, that means newcomers are being given more opportunities to write or produce stories. It’s also exciting for junior journalists to see how the industry is reacting to social media and the internet — and to be here to witness all these huge changes. So the actual work is still great, it is just the lack of payment and security that’s the problem.”