Getting into paid journalism

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Anyone interested in starting a career in journalism today often finds themselves confronted with a fairly pessimistic narrative. Journalism, we are told, is either dying or so impenetrable as to not be worth pursuing.

The question is, are they right? The short answer, as you may have guessed from the headline of this article, is no. Journalism is certainly changing. Some of the opportunities and routes taken by current successful journalists are simply not available today.

It’s also true that journalism remains extremely unrepresentative, on par with law and politics. In 2019, it was found that 44% of newspaper columnists had been educated at independent schools. A report by the Guardian in 2016 also showed that 94% of British journalists were white and 55% male. However, there are also new and evolving options for young journalists today that offer a more innovative and inclusive route into the profession. Figures like those I’ve just cited are damning, but they must not be allowed to stay the status quo. We all have a responsibility to change them, and one of the best ways we can do that is by actively working to democratise discourse, making room for a new kind of journalism that allows anyone to gain experience and get paid for their work.

There are also new and evolving options for young journalists today that offer a more innovative and inclusive route into the profession.

This is something that everyone interested in journalism should strive for. Telling certain groups of people that journalism is not ‘for them’ is simply not good enough. Writing for a student paper while at university can be a great way to hone your journalistic skills and take the first step on the careers ladder. It can also give you the edge in academic work, improving your ability to construct an argument in your tutorial essays.

This has certainly been my experience. At Oxford especially, I also think we benefit from a broad range of options for those interested in student journalism. Personally, I’m an OxStu shill, but there are a vast range of publications available to choose from. Working for one of the student publications can be useful for more than just writing, and there are a whole range of opportunities to try everything from editing and publishing to creative design and marketing.

There are more ways to get into journalism than being involved with a student publication, much as I might recommend it. A good list of opportunities for work experience and skills development is available here.

Writing for a student paper while at university can be a great way to hone your journalistic skills.

What I want to talk about today though, is Thred Media. I was approached by Thred a few months ago and was instantly intrigued. They’re a newer name in journalism, founded just last year, but they have already gained an online following of over 250,000. They describe themselves as a ‘Gen Z’ platform and focus on writing about ‘social change’. And they are particularly keen to get new, young voices interested in journalism and social change involved. Speaking to me earlier this week, Thred Media’s Business Development Manager, Suha Al-Dabbagh, said this: “At the end of the day, we hope to be a positive and unifying force that will galvanise social spirit by supporting and integrating with the Gen Z movement globally.”

In light of this mission, Thred have established a ‘Social X Change’ server on Discord, where young people can connect and contribute to the wider discussion. It’s a great space for discourse, and they are hoping to use the platform to launch further events and talks with special guests, activists and entrepreneurs. It is something I highly recommend getting involved in, for anyone with an interest in social change. You can check it out here.

What really captured my attention though, and what I think will excite anyone with an interest in getting into journalism, is the launch of their Change Maker Network. This will give students like us the chance to become involved with Thred, with the option of a paid retainer arrangement, as Ambassadors, Champions, Interns and even Remote Writers.

“We hope to be a positive and unifying force that will galvanise social spirit by supporting and integrating with the Gen Z movement globally.”

This sort of opportunity could be a real game-changer for anyone thinking seriously about a career in media and journalism after their degree. You can learn more about this program here.

I think what I personally find most exciting about this opportunity is the fact that it’s a platform for Gen Z, run by Gen Z. It reflects where journalism is going and allows us to break away from the traditional paradigm that has become so toxic and exclusionary. Opportunities like this provide a real chance for young people to be involved with positive change within professional institutions.

Whether you choose to get involved with Thred or not, being open to less conventional routes into your dream career could give you the edge in realising your ambitions.

Image Credit: NS Newsflash via Creative Commons

 

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