The importance of academic reputation becomes painfully apparent when applying for skilled jobs. Chances of getting to the interview stage are judged even before your actual qualification, because a first from Derby University isn’t the same as a first from Oxford University. This kind of presumptive classification can unfortunately be damning for us all. But if you happen to be on the positive end of the scale more doors in society open.
And opening more doors in society, and the world of media specifically, is exactly the effect that I hope being an MA student of Goldsmiths will have on my future.
I’m thankful and proud of the teaching I received while in Nottingham, but part of me has always felt slight inadequate calling myself a ‘journalist’. The core of this has been because my university course was heavy on cultural studies, while the print journalism students got to work in a newsroom environment and learn all the practical skills to be ‘serous reporters’, such as law and shorthand.
On the other hand, the realisation I’ve had in my four years pursuing a career in journalism is that taught skills alone do not make a good journalist. It’s about getting out there, talking to people, witnessing events and learning from experience. It’s about having ideas for angles that nobody else has thought of and having a tireless love of your art that keeps you writing every day.
Through my commitment to Platform and especially my freelance work in the last 12 months, I’ve proved to myself that I’m just as worthy to call myself a journalist as any other upcoming writers. Goldsmiths is the next step on my career path and the final step in my full-time academic education. This is about acquiring new skills, new experiences and pushing myself in new directions. I have the knowledge to be a good journalist, but to survive in the unstable media landscape and keep my services in demand, I’ll need to become a great journalist.
I’m ecstatic to have earned a place at Goldsmiths as its MA Journalism course suits my interests perfectly. Firstly, its PTC accredited and has a healthy focus on magazine and online media specially (other NTCJ courses still appear to be fixated on newspapers and some barely cover new media). The tutors, lead by course leaders Angela Phillips and Terry Kirby, have heaps of knowledge between them and have collectively worked for The Independent, The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, GQ, Cosmopolitan and more. Being a respected course in the heart of London, its links to newspaper and magazine publishers are near unparalleled. Finally, scanning the MA postgrad success stories solidifies the courses credentials (Olivia Solon of wired.co.uk fame went to Goldsmiths, nuff said).
I’m leaping headfirst into my toughest academic year yet, but if I survive it the career rewards will be so sweet. Although, most of all, I hope the small class size will make for a close-knit community feel (read: with all the excitement, irreverence and camaraderie of The Hour) and, at the end of it all, I hope I’ll have at least a couple good friends to make my time at Goldsmiths worthwhile. I can only be sure of one thing: I’ve know idea where the river will take me next.
Image: Ewan Munro/Flickr