Name: Lauren Gosling
Subject Studied: BA Journalism
University: University of Sunderland
Year Graduated: 2017
What is your new/current role?
I am currently working with three different websites at the moment. I had been working as a content editor for Tees Durham Media , when the website manager asked me to take over the editorial role on one of the sister websites, Tyne and Wear Alert. At the same time I am also contributing to new voluntary run music project, Down The Front Media where I’m now working as one of their only North East live music reviewers.
What does that mean exactly?
For the two news website I am responsible for helping with the day to day running of the website, so it’s my role to schedule and post stories, help to promote the stories on our social media pages on Twitter and Facebook. I also have to deal with the social media inboxes as particularly on the Teesside and Durham page we get a lot of activity through.
In Down The Front my role is a lot more relaxed but I have to be on the ball when it comes to new single/album/ep releases or when it comes to bands and artists announcing shows. It’s great as it means I am being given the opportunity to build up a bit of a rapport with unsigned local artists and I am also discovering venues which I have never visited before, despite having lived in Newcastle all my life. Its also great being the only North East reviewer on the team as its giving me the chance to put our regions independent venues and our great vast arts and cultures scene on the map a little bit.
How long did it take you to get a job ie Years/Months/Weeks from Graduating:
It took about a month after handing in my final assignment all in all to secure the first job. I had already applied for quite a few jobs in various roles in journalism and found that I had failed to receive a reply or hadn’t been picked for an interview. I was alerted to the roles I have now by people who had heard about them on the grapevine.
When you applied for the job, what was the application/interview process like?
The application process for the two roles were very different in style; for one role I had to fill in an initial application form, then was sent two press releases to be turned into stories. After completing those and sending them off I was informed I had been taken on for two week closely monitored trial period and was initially made admin of the breaking news page. At the end of the two weeks, the site manager contacted me to inform me that I had been successful.
It was a bit daunting over the first couple of days, especially during busy hours of the day, but I soon got used to the role.
With Down The Front Media it was completely different, I had to send off an initial application form along with up-to-date CV, Cover Letter and three examples of published work – an album review, gig review and an interview. After five days I received an email saying that they had offered me the job and was signed up for the social media and official website.
How long have you been working in your new job?
I have been with Tees Durham Media and Tyne and Wear Alert for just over a month now, it has absolutely flown over and so far been a great experience-especially having the chance to run the Tyne Wear page and build on my contacts within the region.
But I have only been with Down The Front Media for about three weeks and I am still very much settling in and getting used to how the site is run as well as having my reviews read by a wider audience than what I am used to with my blog, which is still quite a strange feeling, haha.
Did you think this is what you would be doing after you graduated?
Honestly, not at all. I had originally thought or hoped to be able to get a job working at a local paper or small magazine and have applied for quite a few of these roles but have so far had no luck. I think this may be to do with the fact that I don’t hold a drivers license as a lot of the jobs expect you to do so, which may hold me back a little in my early career as well as not having 100 words per minute shorthand.
However, that being said I am really enjoying the jobs that I am doing at the moment and I am enjoying the opportunities.
What have you learnt about yourself since working in your new role?
That if anything I should be more confident in my ability as a reporter and in my work. Confidence is something I’d say I had always struggled with even throughout university where I sometimes struggled to carry out interviews effectively as nerves would get the better of me, even holding me back on my placement a little too.
I also initially struggled with the idea of putting my work out there for the public to read as I was only really used to the small audience through my blog.
Luckily the feedback I have had so far has mostly been positive which is good and is slowly helping to boost my confidence.
Have you used your skills or learnt new ones during your time at your new job?
The skills I picked up during my time at University and during placement have come in extremely useful in work with both Tees Durham and Down The Front, particularly hints and tips on how to write for the web which is where most of the work I do is based on as well as how to write reviews and previews more effectively.
Have there been any challenges/surprises?
In terms of surprises I have found myself surprised by how quickly the website or social media can pick up in terms of traffic. Another thing that surprised me about working with the websites it cements the idea that journalism definitely isn’t a 9-5 job- it could be 1-2 o clock in the morning and someone could message the website to report an incident that either myself or a colleague who are online would have to deal with right away.
And last of all, what advice can you give for Graduates who are looking for a job in their chosen industry?
The main piece of advice I would give would be to be persistent and not give up, rejections from jobs or not getting replies at all can be both deflating and a huge knock to the confidence and it can become easy to slip into the mindset of wanting to give up or pursue something different or change career altogether, but persistence can get you far.