Magazine journalists need to be able to uncover a great story and report it accurately, but they also need the ability to communicate with people. They need to empathise and connect with people from all walks of life who have a story to tell. This is a very special skill.
Reporters who specialise in magazines must also be aware of how their stories will affect the business of the magazine. They need to ask: Will it please the readership demographic of the magazine? Will it attract advertisers to the magazine website?
Magazine teams tend to be small, and you’ll often find yourself doing a bit of everything. The first rung on the editorial ladder is often editorial assistant, which involves a lot of admin work but also provides the opportunity to research articles for other writers, do some writing yourself, maybe source photographs and sub or rewrite contributed copy.
You need to have a passion for magazines in general, plus a demonstrable interest in the area the specific magazine covers. This should be backed up with basic skills that mean you will be useful from day one.
A qualification in journalism may not be essential, but if you have one it will show that you have sufficient training to be able to research and write. You’ll have the advantage over other applicants if your course has taught you a bit about subbing and if you are familiar with different software and design packages.
To improve your chances of getting a job be able to demonstrate that you have taken every opportunity to learn about magazines and work on them. Editing or contributing to school or university magazines is a good start. Having work experience placements is another bonus. If you can also show a portfolio of cuttings – ideally with bylines – so much the better.
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