"Doing journalism in London gave an exceptional opportunity to meet and work with people within the field."
I have worked for CNN as a planning producer and am over a month into a new job with Al-Jazeera English in London as a programme researcher. I work primarily on a weekly investigative current affairs documentary programme, called People & Power, with additional work on other programmes across the Al-Jazeera network. Before I came to work for Al- Jazeera, I did a series of work placements in London, including an internship at CNN as part of its global analysis programme Connect the World. When I finished the placement, I was asked to stay on at the news agency as a planning producer. Prior to that, I did a work placement as Series Researcher at Quicksilver Media, working on Channel 4’s flagship current affairs programme, Unreported World.
I think it is vital to do internships, but you should be very focussed on where you want to gain experience and who you want to work for. If possible, you should also keep them open-ended, in case there is an opportunity to stay on after it they are finished. You never know if it may be your next job.
Although now I work full-time in broadcasting, I made a very conscious decision to do my Masters in print journalism. Having the foundation of print journalism has made me a better journalist, and though there were other courses I was accepted in, I chose Goldsmiths for the practical work they assign. More than anything, students need to know what it is like working to deadline, interviewing under pressure, and experiencing the chaos and charge of a newsroom environment. I came to Goldsmiths after living abroad for six years, including working in radio in Madagascar and doing documentary work in Asia. Doing journalism in London gave an exceptional opportunity to meet and work with people within the field. Though I was the oldest in the class, and have come into the industry later than some, I think it has allowed me to have a real passion and understanding for the issues I cover.
Doing an MA was important for the next stage in my career, enabling me to hone new skills and make great contacts, but I think nothing can replace real life experience. As a journalist, it is vital to gain exposure and build up a name for yourself, but more than anything else, you have to be curious, persistent and fearless in the work that you do. No one else can teach that to you.
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