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How to Get a Head Start in the Media while still at College Part 2

Student Television

In our last post Jaime Riley wrote about her experience of getting involved in campus television and journalism while at York University studying Linguistics. This is an ideal way to give yourself a head start if you hope to work in the media after your further education. In this second part she offers specific advice to anyone currently embarking on their college or university education. You can find part one of her article here: http://wanttoworkintelevision/how-to-get-a-head-start-in-media-while-still-at-college/

What advice would you give to freshers aiming for a media career who want to find the right clubs to join?

The best place to find out about University media is probably at the freshers’ fair, where hundreds of stalls advertise everything from cheap club nights to contents insurance, and most importantly, all of the student activities on offer for your time at university. At the fair, it’s useful to sign up to the mailing list for any society that you have even a vague interest in, as you can unsubscribe whenever you like.

Make sure you go along to any introductory meetings you’re emailed about, and maybe a take a friend along as it’s less daunting that way! From there you’ll be able to get more involved and become part of the team. Attending meetings is often the only way to find out what’s going on and who’s who in the team, so make sure you go along.

It’s also a good idea to get a few people’s contact details or add them on Facebook so you’re informed about any opportunities, and so that you can get to know each other a little better! Don’t be shy; most people in media societies are in the same boat as you and very willing to help out. Often students have the idea that university media is very cut throat and difficult to “get in to”, but I’ve found it to be very inclusive and easy to get involved with a wealth of opportunities, if you demonstrate commitment.

It’s also very, very important to go along to any socials – this is where you will make your friends and really become part of the team!

What do you hope to do when you graduate?

As soon as I graduate next year, I plan to move down to London in hope of finding lots of runner work, and then work my way up the ladder to become a TV producer. Hopefully I’ll be a fully-fledged and credited producer before I hit 30!

What have you done in preparation?

I’ve done a lot of placements and also become heavily involved in student media at York. So far, I’ve managed to work for the BBC, ITV, a London indie and also as a stage manager at a festival. I’d say I was able to secure placements at these companies due to my experience at university, which shows I have developed some of the skills required to be useful on placement – and that I am genuinely keen to work in TV.  Work placements are great and offer a real insight into the media industry, but I’ve found they often aren’t very hands on due to various restrictions. University media is quite the opposite – imagine running your own production company, writing and laying up copy hours before a print run, frantically editing a news piece for broadcast in just five minutes or battling against your editor in chief to print a controversial story – all of that really does happen when you’re part of student media.

Do you get any careers advice at uni and if so what do they advise regarding getting into the media/TV?

The careers service always stress that work experience is vital! It makes you stand out against other students/graduates who claim to have a passion to work in media but nothing on their CV to back it up. They also advise to research Masters degrees in case doing a conversion is right for you – for example to hone your skills as a cameraman, or become NCTJ accredited.

The careers service has put on networking events at York in the past, where professionals have given talks about entering the media. At the last session, a panel of TV producers and journalists advised students to get involved with university media in order to develop skills and a portfolio. They also explained how useful it was to know other students who would be entering the industry when you are – that way you already have many contacts and people who can help you if necessary.

There is huge competition for TV jobs. Do you worry about how you will find an entry into the business when you graduate? 

I am slightly worried, since I have pinned all of my hopes on working in TV and have little work experience in other fields! Though I am confident that my placements and involvement in student media has helped me to develop some of the necessary skills to enter the industry, and demonstrates my passion to work in the sector. I was lucky enough to get a job as a runner for BBC Three over the Easter holiday, so that’s definitely boosted my confidence.

If you’d like to see what sort of things you could produce whilst at university, here are some useful links:

www.yorkvision.co.uk and www.nouse.co.uk York Vision newspapers

www.thelemonpress.co.uk York satirical magazine

www.ystv.co.uk York Student Television

www.ury.org.uk University Radio York

nasta.tv

Thanks again to Jaime for all that useful advice and information. Plenty more advice for those wondering what to study in the hope of getting into a television career. You can find several other articles here: http://wanttoworkintelevision/category/work-experience-runners/

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