Six Tips For Breaking Into the Media

Copyright: Rachel Hagan

Copyright: Rachel Hagan

Rachel Hagan meets Kenny Campbell, the man behind Metro, and gets him to share some tips on breaking into the industry.

After accidentally placing a double order of brussels sprouts in M&S and stinking out not only the food, but the lingerie department too, Kenny Campbell decided that retail was not the career path for him. Before this, Kenny was applying to be a sub-editor after seeing an advert in a free newspaper…while stuck on a train in a blizzard.

All these elements combined… plus fate, and destiny, maybe, meant that Kenny was well on his way to a career path that would change the way we absorb news today.

Kenny is King Metro.

If you commute or use public transport daily, Metro is probably a huge part of your journey [not me: that’s my precious book-reading time – ed.]. And Kenny is the man to thank for the publication of the newspaper! Up until recently, Kenny was the editor of Metro, until leaving to join his wife’s PR Company.

It’s fair to say that his 25 years of journalism experience means he knows a fair bit about the media. His paper has been distributed to over a million people at train stations across the country. I jumped at the chance to go and learn a few things from him when Go Think Big offered me and eight other aspiring journalists the chance to interview him.

What follows is some of his key advice.

…do what you are comfortable with, but do it well…

1. It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish. 

Whether you begin in a high flying job or just start out making teas. It gets you to where you want to (hopefully) end up in life! And the smaller opportunities are often the stepping stones into your dream career.

2. Make a Decision.

As an editor you spend your days making decisions. You need to make things happen. Often bad decisions are better than no decisions. Even if you do make a mistake, for example, a controversial article – this will get you noticed!

Copyright: Rachel Hagan

Copyright: Rachel Hagan

3. Why?

Whilst writing a piece or an article, ask yourself the question ‘why’. You will find this often leads to an informative and meaningful piece with purpose. Never leave room for question, at the end of the article.

4. Is University essential?

A degree is obviously an excellent way to gain valuable skills, which you cannot self-teach. Also, to gain industry contacts. However, industry experience is also extremely vital. Networking and experience really make you stand out.

5. What can under 18s do on the path to journalism?

Get on as many platforms as you can! Blogging, YouTubing, Tweeting, starting your own magazine, getting involved with school publications! If you aren’t doing any of these things, then you are doing something wrong. Particularly for media jobs, any sort of media experience is applicable. If you want to be a journalist, but there is photography experience at your school – get involved. It’s all in the media field!

6. What do you look for employing or hiring new interns?

In an application, it’s all about basic competency. Once that has been established, they look for people who have done experience which makes them stand out.

‘Remember to smile, journalism is a serious business, but if you make someone smile you have made a friend.’

Go to gothinkbig.co.uk, for your chance to get involved with the industry. Also, let us know your top tips for breaking into journalism: @rifemag