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2 magazine Issue 1/ May 2020


magazine2 Issue 1/ May 2020

On the Cover Yvette Streeter Editor Polly Harrison Contributing Writers George White Shannon Mountford Radka Feichtingerová Laura Phillips Charlie Vogelsang Chloe Weldon Chris King Helen Carys Rodgers Jacob Chamberlain Nathan Warby Sophie Gargett


4-5 The Road to Success Molly Makes editor Yvette Streeter shares her secrets of life in the magazine world.

The Unfortunate Truth Expolitation or opportunity: What does the future hold for unpaid internships?

10 Got You Covered It’s what’s on the outside that matters as we take a look at what makes an awesome cover.

3 Journo News Roundup Keeping you up to date with recent newstand releases and industry news.

Digital Editors Chloe Weaver Amanda Walker

6 Anecdote or anec-don’t Awkward interviews and redesigning the Mona Lisa - we’ve all got a rookie error to share!

Lead Graphic Design Sophie Gargett

12-13 12 tips & tricks to ace your way into the industry Honing skills and making contacts: 10 industry professionals share their tips for success.

Printed by Nottingham Trent Universtiy Print Services Cover photograph Jesse Wild

14 Two minutes with The Voice editor Rodney Hinds Looking back at our Back of the Book podcast.

Cover Design Millie Harrison

15 What’s in my bag? Essential items every journalist needs with our editor, Polly Harrison.

Find us online!

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14 Time to talk about burnout A psychologist shares their tips for recognising this chronic occupational hazard.

@MagazineCBJ @CBJMagazine @MAMagazine2019

15 An ode to the freelancer Sharing the pitfalls and positives of being your own boss.

EDITOR’S LETTER Welcome to the first issue of Magazine² Here at Magazine², we’re very passionate about helping journalists get to where they’re going in their careers, and this issue is jam packed with our industry insights and expert knowledge is just the thing to start you on your journey. Our cover star, Yvette Streeter, shares her journey to becoming editor of Mollie Makes on page 4, and reveals how even llamas can affect their magazine content. Being a journalist can be incredibly exciting and you never quite know what might happen (see page 9), these days it can

also be incredibly stressful and managing your mental health is more important than ever. On page 14 we spoke to Dr Phil Parker to learn vital tips on how to deal with burnout. And finally, be sure to read our opinion piece on page 7 about the unfair nature of unpaid internships, an issue that is very important not only to myself and our editorial team but also to the wider industry. I hope you find something between these pages to inspire you, and even entertain you.



© Lucrezia Carnelos

Digital magazine tax to be scrapped

Stay safe: Publishers are fighting back against Covid-19 This should help digital publications This tax decrease could make digital publications more accessible.

The reading tax on digital publications is to be cut by December 2020. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has said that the 20% VAT will be removed from all e-publications, including books, newspapers, magazines and academic journals. Owen Meredith, managing director of the Professional Publisher’s Association, described the tax as “unfair and illogical.” A letter calling for the tax to be dropped was signed by more than 600 authors and was presented to Parliament in October 2019. The decision benefits publications that have struggled to make money through their online content, who in turn may pass the savings onto the reader. Journalist and magazine lecturer at Nottingham Trent University Claire Suddaby said: “Obviously this is a very good thing because it makes these publications more accessible to people.” The PPA has estimated that removing the tax could give £210m back to UK consumers. Suddaby added: “There has been a big difference between print and digital reading products and to bring both platforms in line is a very good thing because it’s the content that matters not how it’s delivered. “This will be a big boost to an industry that’s doing well despite the challenges of the print market.”

Say Hello / Wave Goodbye © Formula 1

n Racing fans now have an extra fix of content as Formula 1 has launched a new publication. It features exclusive interviews, news and reviews, plus a guide to all Grand Prix races in 2020. F1 Magazine released

n Despite a recent boom of interest in veganism, Vegan Living magazine closed in January after a span of 37 issues. Neither publisher Select nor the Vegan Living editor have commented.

Coronavirus: impact on the industry BIG TROUBLE FOR THE BIG ISSUE

Due to the coronavirus lockdown, The Big Issue faces “permanent death” according to founder and editor-in-chief John Bird. Editor, Paul McNamee, said “this is the biggest challenge The Big Issue has ever faced.” Bird suggested the magazine would be secure if they get 60,000 subscribers, extra donations or patrons to buy the digital edition.


Media outlets across the United States have let people read coronavirus coverage without subscribing. News organisations such as The New York Times have lifted the paywall as a public service. The Columbus Dispatch had more than a million page-views from the coverage last week, Executive editor Alan Miller hopes their


public service will be appreciated and lead to more subscribers.


In light of the recently issued lockdown, Time Out magazine has temporarily rebranded as Time In to encourage people to stay inside. Print production has ceased, but they will continue to publish digitally. Editor Joe Mackertich said, “We will help and support Londoners coping with this catastrophe.”


In an open letter to the public, CEO of Playboy Ben Kohn has announced that the Spring issue will be the last printed issue of the year. He added that this wasn’t directly because of the virus, but that they were forced to accelerate what they were already considering because of it.



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Yvette (centre) celebrating at the Handmade Awards 2019.

The road to success Radka Feichtingerova talks to Yvette Streeter, editor of the crafter’s bible Mollie Makes, about changing career path, filling a gap and incorporating llamas into craft projects.


vette Streeter had a diverse career before she became editor of Mollie Makes. Starting out as an administrative assistant before moving into finance, it was only in her late 20s that she started the English degree that would lead her into the world of journalism. “I’ve always loved writing,” says Streeter. “Journalism had always been at the back of my mind.” After finishing her degree, Streeter applied for a work placement at Immediate Media and spent time at Cross Stitch magazine. She found the transition from finance to journalism really enjoyable. “My work

experience was the best thing ever, I felt so important working in this new world.” Streeter recalls how great it was to get her name in print for the first time and how her editor instantly made her feel a part of the group - despite coming from a different industry. She decided to stay in the crafting sphere and has been at Immediate Media for three years. Eventually she moved over to Mollie Makes , initially working as a production editor.

“I had never thought about being and editor until I became one.”

Be versatile

“I had never really thought about being an editor until I became one,” says Streeter,


who admits that she hasn’t looked back since. Entering the world of journalism can be quite intimidating, especially when making the jump from a different industry. Yet Streeter believes there is little need to worry as everyone has to start somewhere. The important thing to remember is that journalism is not just about writing, it is much more than that. “My first job was in administration and finance and everything I’ve learned transferred to the editor’s role,” she says. “Because you’re not just doing one thing, there are lots of different aspects within the job.”

Editor’s to-do list

As editor, Streeter gets involved in most aspects of the magazine, including

commissioning, strategy and analytics, to ensure that every issue of Mollie Makes is a success. The major responsibility of an editor is the magazine production, and the first step of this is strategy. “I have to think ahead in terms of what’s going to be on the cover, or what gift we will add to the issue,” Streeter explains. She then heads up a planning meeting with the rest of the editorial team to discuss content ideas, how the issue will be designed and potential headlines. Finally, she is responsible for checking over the final product. Only when she approves the issue is it ready to go to print. Despite this being a team game, the editor still has the final say.

Crafting success

Mollie Makes initially attracted a huge audience as it was the first magazine to cover a variety of crafts rather than just one, like knitting. “It filled the gap in the market,” says Streeter. “It’s about trying to get there first, but not so early that people


Yvette (front) at the Handmade Awards 2019.

“Give people what’s interesting to them, but with your own twist.”

aren’t interested. With Mollie, people could try a bit of everything without buying many different magazines.” With more magazines now using a similar method, it has become difficult for Mollie Makes to maintain their position. They have to offer something extra. “You have to give people what is interesting to them but put your own twist on it,” Streeter explains. “Give people what they want before they realise they want it.” Mollie Makes features a range of different independent designers in every issue, providing something that people cannot see elsewhere. There is also a strong emphasis on trends, with the magazine looking to highstreet shops for inspiration. “If there is a llama theme in Sainsbury’s or John Lewis, we pick it out and transfer it into our craft projects.”

Promote the brand

Streeter also emphasises the importance of brand extension, with magazines now needing more than just a place on the newsstand to survive.

Mollie Makes sponsors the Handmade Festival every year, using the event to increase their presence within the crafting community. The event is packed with workshops and talks with makers, and is a place for people to go for inspiration. The team also gather old and new projects dedicated to certain types of craft and publish these as hardback books to sell to their readers.

Stay determined

Streeter’s career proves that you don’t always have to think about becoming a journalist early on. No matter when you decide to go on this path, the key is to go for it. Determination and passion are essential, but work experience can give you an idea of what the industry involves. However, don’t discount your previous jobs - the skills you’ve learned may prove useful in the media industry. Journalism is very diverse and every role is about more than just writing. The most important thing, though, is to really care about what you do.

My time at Mollie Makes - Radka Feichtingerova I had the opportunity “toInjoinFebruary, Mollie Makes magazine for

Work tasks were fun. I gathered craft patterns for the Mollie blog, work experience. I was nervous created weekly newsletters and but after meeting the all-female scheduled social media posts. The editorial team I knew the worrying best part was a meeting about was unnecessary. We had coffee an upcoming issue. We discussed breaks together and shared biscuits potential headlines and what goes from a box on the office desk. You where, and they listened to my could grab a biscuit whenever you opinions which made me feel like a felt like it! key part of the team. It’s impossible to feel pressured My advice to others is to always there. If you need a break, there is say yes to work experience. You this great place called The Courtyard can imagine how it might look in on the ground floor where you can go the office but nothing compares to to read a book or listen to music. actually being there.


Radka Feichtingerova, 22


Anecdote or Anec-don’t?

Seven journalists recount the most embarassing situations they’ve found themselves in Sophie Gargett Freelance journalist I went to interview a local eccentric who had a bizarre penchant for collecting sharp items. The walls of his home were adorned with guillotines, razors, knives and vintage farming equipment. At one point he donned a purple cloak and began dancing at me with an antique sword. I was also, unfortunately, rather hungover at the time and the smell of joss sticks and cigars was hurting my head immensely. Luckily he was a lovely chap and I left with some brilliant photos and all of my appendages intact.

George White Freelance journalist I had a meeting with a councillor in Nottingham and didn’t realise I’d gone to the wrong coffee shop until five minutes before. I had to sprint to the other side of town to make it in time and I spent the first half of the interview sweating like a pig. I’ll always double-check locations from now on.

Polly Harrison Freelance journalist I interviewed a man who was restoring a WWII gunboat for

the 75th anniverary of D-Day. After the interview I got to see the boat and I was told I was the first person outside of the team to see it. The boat was about the height of a double-decker bus and as I stepped onto the deck I lost my footing and nearly tumbled straight over the edge, only just catching myself in time. The worst part is I did it again not ten minutes later.

Jonny Greatrex Reporter I had the opportunity to interview Alexandra Burke [singer] and I ran out of questions to ask her. In the background, Wimbledon was playing on the TV screen so I ended up asking her, “Do you like tennis?” I don’t think anyone else had ever asked her, so at least I was the first.

The average worker makes 118 mistakes a year.

“I spent the first half of the interview sweating like a pig.”

Julie Holt Freelance journalist I was working as a freelancer for The Times. I wrote an article and went over the word count by around 300 words. I didn’t think too much of it until my editor contacted me to make it clear that this shouldn’t be done as it doesn’t fit with the flat plan. It is fair to say I have never gone over a word count since.


Claire Suddaby Magazine journalism lecturer When I was working as chief sub-editor at Radio Times I didn’t notice that a picture of the Mona Lisa had been flipped until the editor said to me, ”Oh, I see that you have redesigned the Mona Lisa.” Thankfully the image was only about an inch in size but I still remember it 10 years later.

Helen O’Hara Editor-at-large, Empire I did a comedic interview with Robert Carlyle and I was assured that he’d been told I had weird questions, but of course he had no idea. The first few questions I essentially got a yes or no answer and I thought, “This is not good.” Eventually he plugged into it and was delightful but the time to get into that space was a bit awkward.

The Bigger Issues

Exploitation or opportunity: What does the future hold for unpaid internships? Words by George White



‘It is time for organisations to practice what they preach’

The unfortunate truth The journalism industry has long relied on unpaid internships and free work experience to bring through new generations of inquisitive minds. Is the industry losing out?


staggering 83% of internships in journalism are unpaid, according to a piece of research done by The Sutton Trust research centre, a vastly higher percentage than other industries. In an increasingly difficult period for media outlets, unpaid jobs, such as the editorial assistant role at Luxe Media LLC and the Editorial Intern position at Players Publishing Limited, provide the perfect opportunity to bring in highly-skilled talent for zero cost. These are painted as mutually beneficial. Trainee journalists are given the chance to gain networks and insight into an industry which is notoriously difficult to crack. But in a developed society, is it really fair to ask anyone to work for free? Are those less fortunate priced out of an opportunity? Are the only interns left living on trust funds or have the extra cash just lying


‘Free internships advantage rich people who can afford to work without pay’

around, ready to be used? “Journalism is still mainly dominated by white, middleclass people” says film magazine Empire’s editor-atlarge, Helen O’Hara. “Free internships advantage rich people who can afford to work without pay. Not everyone can, so they have to find another way to get into the industry, or somehow find the money to make it work.” Dominic Penna, 22, now an editorial graduate at The Telegraph, was one aspiring journalist who found himself in this position. “When I was at university, I did work experience at The Guardian which came to around £350 for a week on housing and food. I understand why they didn’t pay as that’s all too common, but it was slightly dispiriting at times and it’s an expensive experience.” A spokesman for The Guardian said that, while

longer trainee schemes are paid, opportunities shorter than two weeks in length are “voluntary”, meaning applicants must find their own funding. It goes without saying that not all of us can afford to spend several weeks working unpaid while also shelling out for transport, accommodation and other expenses. The high costs were almost enough to put Dominic off going to London altogether, he says “The placement was great and I was grateful for the opportunity but that is all it offered. It’s definitely deterring potential talent and it’s high time news brands which often have a very liberal ethos put that into practice themselves.” Certain organisations are starting to take note of the issue. Jem Collins, founder of Journo Resources, started the organisation to specifically tackle the issue of unpaid internships, which she sees as

Work Experience in the Capital

“...there is no chance of me going back to the capital.”

I was offered the opportunity to gain experience at i News, a brand I love and a quality national newspaper. I had an excellent time, and I grew as a person and journalist while I was there, but it cost an absolute fortune. Like Penna, I was there for only a week - but I, too, spent upwards of £300. I managed to afford this as I had funds saved from previous jobs, but there is no chance of me going back to the capital for any further opportunities which is a shame, because there are so many incredible ones on offer. George White, 22


Is unpaid work crowding out new talent? a major barrier to diversity in the industry. “If you’re putting up massive barriers to entry, like unpaid internships, it goes without saying that you’re locking out a lot of amazing journalists who simply can’t afford to work for free.” She acknowledges that not everyone can afford to spend several weeks working unpaid while also shelling out for transport, accommodation and other expenses. “And why should they have to?” She added: “For journalism to be the best it can be, it needs

to represent the whole country. Otherwise we miss the stories that matter and people lose trust in us as an industry.” Collins has a strategic plan for knocking barriers down: “It’s a two-pronged offensive: we share information and lobby for structural change. We give people the information they need to navigate entry into journalism and put pressure on companies publicly. We’ve clearly got a long way still to go.” Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists says that “unpaid internships exploit dreams and exclude new talent,


undermining the diversity of our profession. Employers in the media should be warned; we will continue to take on those who seek to exploit young people and newcomers to the industry.” This push for improvement has had some success. In 2015, the Financial Times agreed to start paying all interns the national minimum wage after agreeing a deal with the NUJ. And within its first two years charity organisation PressPad matched more than 50 underrepresented students with top quality, paid opportunities. Yet there is only so much change outside forces can drive. Currently 94% of journalists in the country are white and more than half are privately educated. Progress has been made but not quickly enough, and it shouldn’t be down to non-profits or unions to make the difference. It is up to publishers to appreciate the talent and passion of all aspiring journalists, not just those from a certain background. Multi-million pound companies should be able to afford at least some sort of financial contribution, and it would be in their interest as they could uncover talent they otherwise wouldn’t find. And, as Penna says, it is time for organisations to practice what they preach. Until then, the journalism industry will continue to miss out on the diversity and vibrancy that underrepresented groups would bring to a publication.


Got you covered

Conventional or rule-breaking, which makes the best cover? by Nathan Warby


hey say to never judge a book by its cover. But, in the world of magazines the opposite is true. While editorial gives your product substance, it’s the style on the front that turns heads. The cover is make-or-break − the difference between jumping out from the newsstand, or just being another masthead in the crowd. Think of it as a shop window, a visual summary of everything you want your product to represent. It should be a ‘best-of’ compilation of the engaging content you are providing in that particular issue, giving the potential buyer no choice but to invest. For some magazines, a formula of sorts has been developed. A masthead at the top of the page so the it can be seen on cluttered newsstands, a striking kicker that promotes the main feature of that issue and a handful of snappy cover lines which relate to listicles or other editorial. But that doesn’t work for everyone. Sometimes, following the rules is the exact opposite of what you need to do to get noticed. This is exactly what Esquire, a long-running men’s magazine in America, did for their cover in April 1968 featuring Muhammad Ali. As seen above, Ali is in the

Esquire’s 1968 cover took the world by storm

‘The cover “gave millions of young people courage’

same position as the infamous painting of Saint Sebastian by Piero del Pollaiolo, a biblical martyr who was known for his unwavering beliefs, with six arrows piercing his skin. It symbolic of Ali’s own decision to sacrifice his boxing career and heavyweight title in order to stand up for his views on the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. Both were highly contentious issues in America at the time and the heavyweight and Ali had become a symbol for both. The cover “gave millions of young people courage” in a moment when they were feeling pressured into joining the military, according to George Lois who created the cover and was Esquire’s Art Director from 1962 to 1972. Esquire encapsulated a divided country in a single image


and their cover immediately transcended the magazine it was selling to become something far more poignant. While Esquire’s sales certainly boomed thanks to this issue, the image itself has gone down in history as a shocking and relevant piece of art − one that laid America’s problems bare for the world to see. A good magazine cover is life or death. They play a huge role in your publication attracting new readers and forming part of a treasured collection on their shelves. As Esquire shows they can even represent a point in time and draw attention to complex cultural issues in a creative way. You don’t always have to stick to a formula if your idea is good enough. Maybe you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a magazine by theirs.




12 tips and tricks to ace your way into the industry

Editor of FourFourTwo


Online: “You need to be more web savvy, know about SEO. You need to know about social media, what does well for the audience, what they want to click on, and how you get real time results. You can tell straight away if an article is doing well online because you’ve got the facts and stats right there. I was the last generation of coming through in print and moving to online. It used to be print first and online second. Now it’s very much the reverse.”

Ten professionals reveal their best advice to help kickstart your career in journalism.


Claire Suddaby

given. You’re not going to walk into your dream job, you’re going to create it over time.”

Freelance Sub-Editor & Writer

Be Accurate: “Always be accurate. Interest and knowledge go a long way, so keep up to date with what’s happening and the issues that are going on around you, so you are well informed. Remember to proofread – spelling mistakes and grammar are a no-go.”


Hannah Swerling Deputy Editor of

The Sunday Times Style

Make Contacts: “I have been in this industry for 12 years and to this day, I build relationships for future positions. Once you start on placements and meet people, you’re an insider. Jobs aren’t advertised as transparently as other industries, there is a lot of word of mouth.”


Stay Motivated: “You have to be an ideas person and you can’t be too proud about the kind of work you’re meant to do. It’s about being hungry enough to not be too precious about the jobs you’re

“Once you start on placements and meeting people you’re an insider”


Rosie Fletcher Editor of Den of Geek

Read and Write: “Read everything and write a lot. Hone your writing skills, don’t pitch too early and come up with a cool and different angle. Writing for your blog is useful, but the most useful thing to me early on was writing for somebody else’s website and having an editor. It’s important to have somebody else read your work and to be accountable to have deadlines and word counts.”


Work Experience: “Make sure you focus on work experience and not just internships. There’s a lot of debate about it at the moment! I did work experience, unpaid and I used to run a two-week work experience programme at Total Film which we got lots of good freelancers out of. So, if it’s a short period of time and you



Gustav Temple

can take that off work, it can be very useful to be with people. To be learning, teaching and freelancing is good.”


Nick Clark Features Editor of The Stage

Find a Niche: “Find an area that you can build a specialism in, build contacts in and find stories that other people aren’t finding to pitch. You can quickly become a go-to person when an article is wanted on that subject. Having an expert knowledge about things, knowing who to go too and being able to turn that around was one of the biggest lessons I learned.”


David Jenkins Editor of Little White Lies

Reviews: “When writing reviews, provide a sense of your own voice. Don’t just describe, drill down on what the product is attempting to do and be as objective as possible!”

Carve out a strong identity based on what you write and know about


Matt Alagiah Editor of It’s Nice That

Social Media Savvy: “As a journalist, social media is your best friend. If you can understand how Facebook, Twitter and the other platforms work, you’ll be able to drive your content and get the most views. You can also learn which headlines work best for each platform. From this, you can really understand your audience and learn so much about the content you should be writing.”

“As a journalist social media is your best friend”

Emma Cooke


Content Travel Editor of The

Telegraph Online

Pitch Perfect: “Your pitches need to be concrete. Hit the sweet spot with something new whilst still being compelling. You should look at existing stories that are already published in print and online. This will give you inspiration and help you understand the content that already works for the publication. If you know the brand, you should be able to pitch the perfect story.”


Editor of The Chap

Create your own Identity: “Start your own magazine! Carve out a strong identity based on what you write and know about. The thing is, to not become a general hack who will write about everything. If you can narrow the market and find a niche, you will become the expert that everyone comes to when they need that specific information. As you build contacts in that universe you will be able to make a successful brand and publication.”


Matt Townend Editor of Total Carp

Working for a Specialist Magazine: “You need to know your topic inside and out. This combined with a genuine interest in the magazine will get you far. If you write about something you love you’ll never work a day in your life!”



Time to talk burnout

Helen Rodgers spoke to Dr Phil Parker, psychologist and lecturer at London Metropolitan University about ways to deal with burnout.


urnout, which is the result of chronic workplace stress, has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as an occupational phenomenon that affects 600,000 people in the UK every year.

‘You won’t be able to focus or be productive’ Unfortunately, journalists are particularly susceptible to the syndrome as they are constantly multitasking, striving to meet deadlines and battling for perfectionism within their writing.

Catching it before it’s too late

“People are able to function just on the edge of burnout for quite a long time,” says Dr Parker. The key is catching it at this stage. Burnout can

stop you from getting out of bed and curb levels of focus and productivity. This can mean weeks, or even months signed off sick from work and could result in the need for counselling. Signs to look out for include feeling exhausted, detached and cynical, as well as struggling with sleeping and digesting food. At this stage, it is crucial to learn how to de-stress and take time to sleep properly.

Resolving causes

Dr Parker believes with or without professional help you can get over burnout quickly, but you must be careful when you start your job again. “You need to be equipped with something different when you go back to work,” Dr Parker says. “If you immediately fall back into the same habits when you return then the same thing will happen again.” It is important to be aware of the behaviours you exhibit when you’re

starting to have too much on your plate, so you can reduce your workload. This could be something as simple as talking too fast to yourself or others and overthinking at bedtime. Burnout can happen to anyone in the newsroom. Being aware of what it can do and how to stop it before it starts will help everyone, and create a better and safer working environment in future.


Dr Parker’s tips for relaxation


Notice your breathing. Focus on making each breath in and our last about 3-4 seconds. Keep going until you feel more relaxed.


Look around you and find three things you can see, hear and feel. Focussing your attention on the world around you brings you down to a calmer level and allows you to be present.

Looking back at Back of the Book


Rodney Hinds, sports editor for The Voice

ffable, relaxed and disarmingly charming, Rodney Hinds is the picture of confidence. But it wasn’t always that way, something he reveals as we discuss his role at The Voice. “I started as a freelancer. I had an eye on a full time position, and it never seemed to come. But you’ve just got to hang in there sometimes. I was ready and I took my chance.” On freelancers: “They’re integral. I’m quite empathetic, I understand what it’s like to be on that freelance


treadmill.” On pitching: “Be consistent. You have to be tenacious and find ways around barriers. For me, I just want good copy on time.” On interviewing: “I was dead nervous interviewing people early on. Now I’m totally comfortable. It’s just having a conversation.”

The Voice is the UK’s leading Black newspaper and Rodney has been writing for them for over 20 years. Listen to the Back of the Book Podcast on Spotify.

What’s in my bag? J

“You’re going to need a full bag of kit.”

1 2 3

ournalists are constantly on the move. Whether you’re a freelancer going to an interview or a reporter looking for a story around town, you never quite know what your day is going to look like. Not only are you going to need a good pair of shoes, but you’re also going to need a full bag of kit. Here are a few of our suggestions of what you need to build your Batman utility belt of being a journalist.

A good bag – This one is self-explanatory, but your bag needs to be big enough to hold all of your very useful gear. Preferably a waterproof backpack with lots of pockets. An external charger – phone batteries are pretty good nowadays, but the last thing you need is for your phone to die while taking the perfect photo or looking up directions to your meeting spot. Your phone is your best friend as a journalist, so ALWAYS make sure you have a charger. Just in case. A notebook – sounds obvious, but always carry a notebook and a pen, in fact carry two pens. No, three pens. Actually, you can never have too many pens. You never know when you might need to scribble something down.


A water bottle. Journalists talk - a lot. And you never know when you’ll get a break, so stay hydrated.


A dictaphone – this is a bit old fashioned but having a high-quality audio recorder can really make the difference and it looks very professional. There is an app for that, but it’s never bad to have a backup.


A tripod – Probably a bit unnecessary for your standard journalist, but if you’re going to need picture or video to go along with your story a tripod can be a great way to get quality video.

These are just a few ideas to get you started – everyone’s kit will be different depending on their job, their approach and just generally the person. But every little helps, now go out there and get your story!

By Polly Jean Harrison

Ode to the freelancer

Oh, the wild dreams of freelancing. You’ve left the rat race of the office life to take control of your own routine. With fabulous hair, a shiny laptop and endless income for lattes, you tap away at keys in chic coworking spaces or cute cafes, finding stories and producing endless streams of work. Now that pesky nine-to-five is out of the way, time moves at your own pace. You’re making connections, writing about your passions, and taking long leisurely lunch dates with your equally exceptional friends. Perhaps this Carrie Bradshaw-esque fantasy is what pulls so many into the freelancing life, but any newbie will quickly discover that the reality is somewhat different. Most likely, in your groggy morning haze, you’ll opt to save 30 minutes of personal grooming and remain in the comfort of your dressing gown. You freeze when the doorbell rings and pretend not to be home for fear of presenting like an idle, mad-haired wastrel. You may become nocturnal, the cat becomes your most trusted advisor and because no one really knows what you do for a living, you have to constantly explain that, no, you don’t watch Netflix for five hours a day. A freelancer’s greatest skills are self-motivation and knowing how to separate work and play, especially when your living room and office are combined into one. It can be a lonely vocation, spending more time with your Google Drive than your loved ones, but it’s also mightily rewarding. For those who favour autonomy, variation and learning as they work, freelancing offers a diverse, exciting career. Just remember to leave the house once a day, take the ups with the downs, and go chase those stories. You never know what you might find.

By Sophie Gargett



Meet the team...

Magazine Squared is brought to you by MA MAgazine Journalism students from the Centre of Broadcasting & Journalism at Nottingham Trent University.

Helen Carys Rodgers

Radka Feichtingerovรก

George White

Laura Phillips

Chloe Weldon

Nathan Warby

Polly Harrison

Shannon Mountford

Sophie Gargett

Amanda Walker

Charlie Vogelsang

Chloe Weaver


Chris King

Jacob Chamberlain

Profile for CBJMagazine


A one-off magazine all about magazine journalism by Magazine Journalism students at Nottingham Trent University


A one-off magazine all about magazine journalism by Magazine Journalism students at Nottingham Trent University


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