Here Alyson Lowe, Bright Network member and digital writer at You & Your Wedding shares how she got into the competitive world of journalism and what advice she has for fellow graduate Bright Network members interested in becoming journalists and writers.
Name: Alyson Lowe
Job Title: Digital Writer at You & Your Wedding magazine
My education in a nutshell:
- BA Hons English Literature from Durham University, graduated in 2012 with a 2:1.
- AAAA at A Level: English Literature, German, History and Biology
- 10A* and 1A at GCSE
What three words best describe your job?
Busy, rewarding, creative.
In brief, tell us a little bit about your job, what it entails and how it fits into the overall structure of the business:
In brief, I write articles for the You & Your Wedding website, look after all editorial for the You & Your Wedding Venues project, assist with social media, assist with external press releases, write SEO-based copy for the website, and help out with various other ad hoc duties!
Tell us a little bit about how you got into your current position.
Work experience and internships are also vital. My best advice would be to get some under your belt before graduating.
I joined Immediate Media as an intern in my current department; essentially as a more junior version of my current role. When my internship came to an end, I was offered a permanent contract as a Digital Writer.
The way I found myself in that position is a slightly more convoluted affair. After graduating, I had no real plan of what I wanted to do career wise. However, I knew what I liked doing, and that was to write. I had kept a blog secretly through my final two years of university, but had never been brave enough to publish anything. I eventually swallowed my fear, and began contributing to a number of online magazines. The response I got was amazing, so I began interning at various magazines, and writing for bigger publications who would send me to events and previews.
In total, I interned at 5 magazines, two of which I worked on the digital side for, then began at You & Your Wedding as a paid intern before being kept on as a permanent member of staff.
What was the application process like for your role/company?
Pretty simple! I saw the internship advertised on Gorkana (probably the best site for journalist jobs), applied with a CV and cover letter, than had a one-on-one interview with the department MD, and was offered the job later that day!
What have been the most interesting projects on which you have worked?
I was brought in to work on the Venues project, and it has been amazing to watch a digital product grow in the 9 months I have been there. (If you want to take a look, this is You & Your Wedding's new venue finding tool, youandyourwedding.co.uk/venues)
It's been fascinating learning how a 30 year old print brand, with an incredible authority in the industry, can be used to shape a new digital venture, and how the two work together. As it's been a new venture for the magazine, it's been very hands-on, which has meant I've been able to learn about digital marketing, social media, PR, and even a spot of web development!
Being upbeat, positive and not afraid to work hard will get you noticed.
What is the best thing about your job?
It's incredibly satisfying. I love nothing better than seeing my name next to an article I've worked hard on. At the same time, there are endless opportunities to learn, grow and improve as a writer, and also to develop into other areas of the industry such as social media and marketing. I am also blessed with a fantastic team and some pretty inspiring managers who make every day a dream to come in to work!
And the less good?
It can be tough, and the amount of work (and words) I have to shift is not for the faint hearted.
What skills, qualities and experiences do you believe are essential for your role?
Being a strong writer with excellent grammar is a must, and having a real interest in the media and magazine industry has definitely served me well. Work experience and internships are also vital and my best advice would be to get some under your belt before graduating.
In terms of personality qualities, being upbeat, positive and not afraid to work hard will get you noticed. Once when I finished an internship, the editor called me over and gave me her card, telling me to keep in touch because I was the most positive intern she'd ever met!
What top advice tips/s would you give to someone looking to go into this sector/job?
Don't give up and be prepared to graft. And never lose faith - if someone does the job that you want, it's attainable! And, as above, experience is vital. Read more about how to get into Journalism.
Your typical day:
- Get up @6.45am
- My transport to work is: Train and tube
- Journey time is: Just over an hour
- Arrive at work @ 9.10am
- My morning consists of: Working on some editorial for the Your & Your Wedding Venues page, choosing and writing our beauty product of the day, working with my team's intern to set her some tasks for the day, and maybe a team meeting to discuss new editorial/technical ideas.
- Lunch is @1ish in the amazing Immediate Media Cafe area
- My afternoon consists of: Perhaps working on an article for the website or pulling together some ideas for an external press release, liaising with PRs, and scheduling some social media activity for the evening.
- Leave the office around @5.30pm
- Evening meal around @9pm
- Head to bed around: 11.30pm
And finally...your bright life...
Optimist or pessimist? I am not a natural optimist but have had to train myself to be this way.
Most proud of: The fact that if I'd told my 15 year old self that I'd be working at a magazine, I wouldn't have believed it for one second.
Would like to meet? Arianna Huffington or Liz Jones.
Success is: Believing in yourself and defying the odds to achieve what others thought was impossible.
Best advice you have ever received: To give yourself a break once in a while (from my Dad).
Personal motto: Choose a job you love and you'll never do a day's work in your life!
Favourite hour of the day: 9am. I enjoy planning my day whilst sipping a much needed skinny latte!
Most inspired by: Louise Court (editor of Cosmo) and Jo Elvin (editor of Glamour).
If we've inspired you, browse internships available in Journalism and publishing.