Credit: Roxanne Cooper-Costello (above)
When you think about all the units and modules you cover in a journalism course, you realise that a journalism degree is incredibly varied and can lead to all sorts of jobs and careers.
Take, for example, Roxanne Cooper-Costello, who recently graduated from Bournemouth University with a Master's degree in multimedia journalism.
She had first completed a fashion media and marketing undergraduate degree at the University of Winchester, before her passion for radio and podcasting led her towards a new career path.
She has recently been taken on as digital content producer for Funnel Fillers, an agency which creates content for brands across their websites and the major social platforms. That mainly includes promo videos, photography, graphics-based content, news posts and Instagram stories.
It was her journalism course and university side-projects, she said, which gave her all the tools to take on a demanding entry-level position; a job she describes as "striking gold".
Journalism.co.uk spoke to Cooper-Costello about her experience of landing a job in the creative industries.
Being busy at university
Getting this job would not have been possible without demonstrating the full extent of her creative skills whilst at university. Cooper-Costello spun many plates: she was editor of regional university news website The Tab; contributor of student-led news site The Breaker; and a radio presenter for Nerve, the university radio station.
What stood out more on her application though, is her podcast The Painfully Average Podcast, which she co-hosted with fellow student Euan Thomas from the university radio studios. It is billed as "mediocre advice to answer life's biggest conundrums", but is deceptively comedic and topical for students. For her, the podcast demonstrated initiative and a chance to stand out in future applications.
"The podcast gave me amazing skills in learning to produce a show and understand the structure of what people want to listen to. It also taught me about the importance of your audience," she says.
"As well as this, it honed in my presenting skills as well as technical editing skills. The great thing is finding something that brings you genuine fun and joy, that is also expanding your skill base at the same time."
Getting creative on emerging platforms
She stresses the importance of getting comfortable with emerging platforms like TikTok. The only way to become fluent is to be brave and experiment.
"They can feel quite intimidating. Platforms like TikTok seem like a minefield to navigate, but learning how to utilise them and creating regular content is the best way to increase your skill base and become more appealing to potential employers," Cooper-Costello advises.
"I used TikTok to create lots of videos for uni and now I use it for work."
@roxy_costello will be teaching us how #TikTok can be more than just dancing...and used for business purposes and curing boredom in the #covid19 pandemic. More to come later. pic.twitter.com/vT1ULARPQb— The Breaker (@BUBreaker) May 14, 2020
Find your spark during work experience
Before studying multimedia journalism, Cooper-Costello managed to land an internship on the Scott Mills Show at BBC Radio 1. She said that work experience is a chance to discover what your skills and passions are, and to make the most of the opportunity.
The internship involved lots of shadowing the producer, but also chipping in with ideas for the show, and helping to select which audience texts and emails would be aired. She also filmed content for the website with guests such as singer Freya Ridings.
"That's how I worked why launching a new brand, for example in the job I do now, is so exciting because I have a lot of creative input and ideas," she says.
"Getting as prepared as possible for the desired job while being at university is still the key that will open the doors of the future for you."
A final piece of advice
Throw yourself out there be it by starting a blog or maybe a podcast with some of your friends. Get involved, inspired, creative. Do not be afraid of the consequences, as they will turn into benefits later on.
"There is so much to gain outside of your course. Look for work experience and give it a go even you’re unsure about it. You’ll always learn something," Cooper-Costello concludes.
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