3 ways to get media work experience

Emma Knowles, Editor
March, 2019

Explore your creativity and stand out from the crowd by building your portfolio as a blogger, vlogger or podcast host

Without personal contacts it can be difficult to secure media experience, as jobs are few and far between, particularly at the level graduates typically enter this fast-paced and exciting industry.

Being proactive and building a portfolio in your free time - whether you're looking for a job, already in employment or still studying - can help you get ahead and demonstrate to employers that you've got the skills, ideas and passion needed to work in the media.

It's possible to make money from a blog, vlog or podcast if it becomes very popular, although this is rare. View these projects primarily as a way to build experience.

Start a blog

An effective way to work on your tone of voice, writing style and editing skills as a budding journalist or copywriter is to set up and maintain your own blog.

A blog is a regularly-updated site, usually written in an informal, chatty style and focused around a niche topic - anything from extreme sports and rock music to vegan recipes and fitness advice.

Through writing your own posts, not only will your written voice mature, but you'll learn how to tighten up your writing to best engage your readers. You may also look into search engine optimisation (SEO) - using analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to discover what your audience is searching for and how to make sure your posts are being seen.

You don't have to financially invest in blogging - hosting sites such as Wordpress allow you to create a free site within minutes - nor do you have to be an expert in coding and website design, as these sites offer a range of free website themes. That being said, your blog is a great platform to show these skills if you have them.

There are plenty of benefits to setting up a blog - by networking with likeminded creators you open yourself up to potential job and event opportunities.

As well as specifically blogging related benefits, by uploading to a schedule you'll practice good timekeeping and organisation.

Blogging will impress potential employers if you're hoping to become an:

Become a vlogger

Vlogging - or video blogging - is an increasingly popular form of content creating. Like blogging, vlogging is the sharing of topics, thoughts and opinions, but in video format as opposed to written.

Your viewers are seeking more condensed, vibrant content, as opposed to blog readers whose priority is informative, good-quality writing. By becoming a vlogger you'll sharpen your video editing and public speaking skills, while demonstrating your ability to identify what your viewers are looking for and present it in the most engaging way.

Filming a video is just one part of the vlogging process. You'll also need to learn how to frame and edit your videos creatively, publish them on a hosting site such as YouTube, and market yourself to your audience.

Vlogging can be done from anywhere, giving you the potential to feature a range of locations and discuss whatever you're passionate about. On a basic level, all you need to vlog is a camera with a working microphone (the camera on your smartphone is fine), editing software (many computers come with free editing software and editing apps are available to download to help with this) and access to the internet.

Only a fraction of high profile vloggers are able to make a living through their vlogs by advertising. However, an online portfolio of vlogs can help you get a foot in the door towards becoming a film/video editor, television camera operator, actor or broadcast presenter.

Launch your own podcast

If you're a radio presenting hopeful you could start a podcast to develop your skills. A podcast is an on-demand series, delivered in the style of a radio broadcast and downloadable from hosting sites such as iTunes.

Launching a podcast is an easy way to gain valuable experience in a field where securing work experience placements, such as with local radio stations, is an increasingly competitive and difficult task. At the most basic level, all you'll need to get started is a computer with a built-in mic, access to the internet and ideas or a theme for your podcast to cover.

By starting a podcast you'll refine skills essential to a career as a radio presenter, such as:

  • the technological aspects of the job, through audio editing and publishing podcasts online
  • effective scriptwriting - you'll learn the difference between writing a script to read directly from and a script to prompt a conversational tone
  • growing and engaging an audience.

Like all other content creators, you're not guaranteed to make money podcasting. Base your podcast around a topic you're passionate about - you'll engage your listeners with your enthusiasm and find the experience more enjoyable.

Having a podcast in your portfolio could lead the way to a career as a radio broadcast assistant, broadcast journalist or broadcast presenter.

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