Right then, this is serious stuff. People, I need your help. As a proud Northerner, born and bred in Salford, I have spent my year in London bemoaning the prices, the tube, the accent and just about anything that is worthy of a decent whinge. So with that in mind this is going to be hard for me to say and believe me I don’t want to admit it (“Just say it for God’s sake”). OK, here goes…I think London is the best place to be as a Wannabe Hack.
As we all know the more traditional routes into journalism (grad schemes, traineeships etc.) are rare and ridiculously competitive. And local papers don’t seem to be offering many jobs in recent months. But the chances of bagging one of these precious spots should they become available seem to increase by being in London. The wannabes I know who have job offers have been helped in their efforts by doing shifts on nationals or regular freelance work for such titles. This would be near impossible without being in London.
But the real point here is focussed more on those wannabes who haven’t got the traditional spots. These aspiring hacks need a foot in the door, that opportunity to impress and it seems there are far more of those available in the capital. Several classmates from City, having missed out on grad schemes, are currently undertaking paid shifts at nationals, have signed part-time contracts with major broadcasters or are working on more small-scale projects which are just starting up. They are all taking opportunities to further their careers and those opportunities seem to be in London.
Far worse than acknowledging the successes of others is that I too have had first hand experience of the benefits of the big smog. Since moving here I have done some freelance work for the Independent on Sunday and also did some brilliant shifts on the sport desk of City A.M. Both of which have significantly improved my CV and both of which I wouldn’t have been able to do had I been back in Salford.
And I am fairly sure the Freelancer would back me up on this, but it seems that if the opportunities I speak of do not turn into permanent jobs then there can surely be no better place to freelance than in London? Hacks interested in sport in particular are going to find so many opportunities for work and pitching with that little sporting contest being held in the capital next year.
Now, this is where you can help…prove me wrong. Someone tell me how they don’t need London to make it in journalism. That there are plenty more opportunities across the country (And the BBC doesn’t count, last time I heard they had about one million applications for 12 jobs). Someone tell me that freelancing can be just as profitable in Bolton or Bournemouth. Someone give me something to cling on to, some ray of light that means when people ask ‘do you think moving to London is necessary for a wannabe?’ I don’t have to give a dejected nod.
Today I am on my way back to Manchester for a few days and if one of you lovely people hasn’t dismissed my point and heralded their success in somewhere, anywhere, other than London then those friendly Northern foke my not be so friendly to me anymore. I don’t want to be right on this but it seems that for a wannabe hack, in this ultra-competitive climate, it really is all about location, location, location.