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From England: Why I am on the dole after my journalism masters

August 1, 2013

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WH310713-300x225It’s the 31st of July. July has ended and, with it, my student status. Although teaching on my journalism masters ended around six weeks ago, today marks the end of my student life. My student status has expired and I’m officially unemployed. Today… I can sign on.

I’ve been looking for a journalism-related job for the past two months and, after nearly one hundred applications, I had my first and only job interview last week. While it’s not related to broadcasting and is more of a marketing position than a writing or journalism role, I’ve been told that I will find out later today if I’ve been selected.

I received my degree classification last week via an email that I opened directly after that interview. I logged in, saw my classification, and felt nothing. I just thought – “Oh, well, that’s done…”

I know that’s not right. I should be elated at my result, but I’m not. I’m unemployed, spending each day looking at a list of job vacancies that are only slightly relevant to the skillset I have and – more crucially – to the career I eventually want to end up in.

Predictably, Facebook and Twitter were alive with the jubilant status updates of my coursemates. I’m happy for them all – of course I am. We all worked hard to achieve what we did. Still, I’m not happy for, with, or in myself.

Ideally, I want to work in radio or television. Instead, I’m looking at copywriting and marketing roles that are only vaguely related to any kind of journalism. This isn’t where I thought I would end up after my MA.

In truth, I’ve had very little work experience this year. In my last video, I spoke about the fact that the Television Journalism MA students at City had a placement in the industry every Wednesday, while Broadcast Journalism MA students (like myself) had to make do with placements – found by us, with no help from the department – during the December and April holidays. I didn’t have a placement in April – I couldn’t find one. Meanwhile, several colleagues who managed to get work at the BBC, at Sky News, or at ITN during that period have now been offered either freelance shifts or full-time work at those companies.

The most saddening and frustrating part about all of this? I’m applying for jobs that I could have applied for after my undergraduate degree. My experience at Wannabe Hacks has been invaluable. My masters degree has taught me so many new skills that I wouldn’t have had at this time last year. Both have added so much to my CV. But, really, that’s not the point.

I decided to study – and pay – for a masters in Broadcast Journalism and, rightly or wrongly, thought it would be a fast track to a career in radio or television. Radio was my dream last summer. I’ve since learned that so many other avenues are open to me and, as such, I’m applying for jobs in many different sectors. Broadcasting is, however, still my dream. Read more at Wannabe Hacks.

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