Creating Specialist Careers Advice for Journalism Students: Tailoring the Message to Suit the Media

Creating specialist careers  advice for journalism students: tailoring the  message to suit the media

Liz Milly, University, St Mark and St John Plymouth

Abstract:
This paper is based on research related to improving employability outcomes for journalism graduates by creating specialist careers workshops aimed at getting jobs in the media sector. While many universities have centralised careers departments, media employers are often looking for tailored one page CVs and cover letters that require specialist knowledge of the industry. Journalism and media students face a particularly competitive employment market as an increase in the number of courses offering these undergraduate programmes combines with a contracting pool of paid entry-level jobs. Those from widening participation backgrounds are at an even greater disadvantage. Using action research methodology, this paper aims to analyse student experience of university careers advice and gauges their preparedness for the jobs market. Research consists of semi-structured interviews following a specialist careers workshop with a group of third year students. Theoretical texts, including Wolf’s Does Education Matter (2002) and Collini’s What are Universities For? (2012), inspire discussion points, such as the role of work experience and internship, building confidence in widening participation students and the importance, or not, of a vocational degree to succeed in the profession.

Introduction
Education today is a socially acceptable way of ranking people which most employers would find it hard to do without.  Wolf 2002, p29

Graduate-level employment is no longer a given for a sizable proportion of this year’s university leavers. Over the past ten years the number of students failing to get graduate-calibre jobs within two years of leaving education has doubled to 40% (Futuretrack, 2013).

When the degree studied is vocationally geared towards the highly competitive media industry, which has already undergone a recessionary contraction, the possibilities of employment become even tougher. It is for this reason I have chosen to focus on employability prospects for the journalism students at my university.

After some informal discussions with third year students about to graduate from a relatively new set of journalism-related degree programmes, it appeared they might benefit from some specialist careers advice on breaking into the media market. While there is a general careers service at the university, it offers generic advice for all courses, and no specific emphasis on journalism.

With a low-tariff entry of 220 points to three programmes, Journalism, Sports Media and Journalism and Media Production, and a growing number of students who have chosen to remain in their home town to study, there is considerable scope to assist graduates with their first job applications.

As hackademics (Engel, 2003, Harcup, 2011), we are well placed to give careers advice because many of us are still working as journalists or remain in close touch with editorial staff on newspapers, magazines or websites. Practitioner journalists will have experiences of how to get an entry level job, although this may have been in the pre-intern era.

To contextualise this project it is necessary to understand the expansion of the higher education sector over the past 50 years as well as changes in the training of journalists and media professionals.

As university attendance has risen, within a generation, from being relatively uncommon to an increasingly normal part of education, employers have been provided with much larger pool of graduates.

When everyone, or almost everyone, has a degree, employers will obviously become more and more picky about the type of degree they want, and, justifiably, or not, will create new dividing lines: right subject, right result, right institution.  Wolf  2002, p185

In 1980 there were around 300,000 students in forty-six universities. However, as polytechnics, then higher education colleges gained university status there are now 130 university level institutions teaching over 2.5 million students (Collini, 2012)

This increase of almost nine-fold in student numbers in the past thirty years means an inevitable rise in those applying for graduate-level jobs. Evidence comes from the latest annual study by High Fliers, which reported a 7% upturn in competition for graduate vacancy jobs with 56 applications per post (High Fliers Research, 2013).

In this research paper I analyse what effect introducing specialist career’s workshops might have on the future employment prospects of students. The first part examines how journalism training has changed, looks at the concept and definition of employability and analyses the background of successful journalists.

The second half of the paper is concerned with data collection from students and analysis of their perceptions of the purpose of a vocational degree, engagement with careers advice and understanding of their employability as graduates.

Background: Do journalists do journalism degrees?

Journalism as an undergraduate subject is a relatively recent addition to university degree programme portfolios. It used to be a trade almost entirely learnt through practice, with qualifications provided by industry body the National Council for Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

However, as university expansion has continued apace in the UK, where over a third of teenagers follow academic routes into higher education (Wolf 2002, p174), a wider variety of degree programmes has been created to “professionalise” specific jobs.

Increasingly, universities were involved in what has been termed the ‘credentializing’ process, a mechanism for assuring society that only those with approved qualifications will be allowed to practise a particular profession.  Collini 2012, p26

More than 60% of journalists are now graduates, although it is not specified whether they studied media related courses, and the past fifteen years have seen a rapid proliferation of related degree programmes. In academic year 1998 to 1999 there were 1,972 students on undergraduate journalism courses in the UK, by 2008 to 2009 this had increased fourfold to 8,095 students. (Caeser, 2010)

It was a similar picture for media studies courses with 7,416 students in the 1998 to 1999 cohort, increasing to 25,335 in 2008 to 2009. However, despite this huge potential workforce from a diverse range of universities, high profile positions in the media industry tend to be filled by individuals from select educational backgrounds, who may well have studied a different degree.

A survey by the Sutton Trust (2006) showed that 54% of leading journalists went to public school and of that sample, 45% went to Oxbridge.

In 2006 just 14% of the leading figures in journalism had been to comprehensive schools, which now educate almost 90% of children. My fear is that in another 20 years the chances of those from non affluent homes to reach the very highest strata of society – including the top of the media – will have declined still further.  Lampl 2006, p1

In addition 72% of journalists in 2006 who went to university attended one of the 13 leading institutions identified by the Sutton Trust (Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, Edinburgh, Imperial, LSE, Nottingham, Oxford, St Andrew’s, UCL, Warwick and York). These establishments have consistently been ranked top of major league tables, lending credence to Wolf’s comments on “picky” employers.

As journalism and media-related degree programmes tend to be offered by the post-92 universities and other institutions, we might infer that many leading journalists did not study on a vocational course at undergraduate level.
If those not studying journalism are scooping some of the media jobs, then how employable are graduates of journalism programmes in other sectors? To examine this broader question we need to define employability in the graduate context. The Higher Education Authority, through its Enhancing Student Employability Co-Ordination Team (ESECT), laid down several criteria when unpacking the concept including:

•       Getting a (graduate) job

•       Possession of vocational degree

•       Formal work experience

•       Good use of non-formal work experience and /or voluntary work

•       Possession of ‘key skills’ or suchlike

•       Skilful career planning and interview technique

•       A mix of cognitive and non-cognitive achievements and representations

Yorke 2006, p6

Yorke argues that many employers are merely looking for “graduateness”, with no specific discipline, and that undertaking degree level study is seen to confer a particular set of skills and understanding that signpost “employability”.

Echoing Wolf’s comments Yorke states that “where many possess degrees, a degree confers no positional advantage in the labour market”. However, he goes on to suggest:

… the institution a graduate attended has a positional value. As Hesketh (2000) points out, some employers have a list of institutions from which they prefer to select graduates – and criteria such as the match of a curriculum to an employer’s business and the reputation of the institution can affect the graduate’s chances.   Yorke 2006, p10

When we are dealing with a degree programme that seemingly defines a job within its title for example “journalism”, this raises several further questions for employers, students and academics. This research aims to examine whether students anticipate getting a journalistic job, or see the “graduateness” of those skills as transferrable.

Boosting confidence should enhance employability
When working with students from a widening participation background, one of the key areas to address is boosting confidence in making the first application for an entry-level job. This is highlighted by Buckingham in a recent article on pre-vocational and vocational media courses.

In general, the media industries are a buyer’s (or employer’s) market, with a huge supply of potential workers, but limited demand; in this context, social capital (the ability to network, or to sell oneself) has become vitally important.  Buckingham 2013, p30

Whether, as academics, we can be expected to teach students how to develop “social capital” is questionable. But, given the focus of this project on careers guidance, students can, at the very least, be reminded of what they have learnt as a result of undertaking three years of study.

As one of the most frequently asked questions at open days and student visits (particularly from the parents) involves job prospects, it seems that in the university “marketplace” we need to produce alumni who are working in the industry in order to have credibility as a journalistic education provider.

Several students from the graduating cohort of 2012 now have jobs in the media, but none of them received “structured” help in getting those positions. Instead lecturers helped with CVs, gave advice and pointed students in the direction of relevant media jobs websites as well as providing references.

The drive towards gaining, and retaining, industry accreditation from the BJTC and PTC for the journalism programmes also has a major role to play and final destinations of graduates is one of the criteria on which the institution is being judged.

Methodology: Planning and implementing a media career workshop
The methodology I have chosen to examine the effects of this workshop is action research. The project is necessarily “small, focussed and manageable” (McNiff and Whitehead 2010) because the number of students engaged on these degree programmes is relatively low.

Action research in this instance endeavoured to glean rich, qualitative data from a small group. This involved planning, collecting, analysing and reflecting on data (Henning, Stone, Kelly: 2009).

I began the cycle by planning my careers workshop, after gauging some interest from third year students. Researching CV and cover letter writing, jobs websites, and getting “breaking in” tips from two alumni now working at the BBC and local newspaper group, I prepared a presentation for my student audience.

The careers workshop was held in May and data collection was gleaned from two sources: a focus group before the presentation, and a series of semi-structure interviews with individual students after the workshop.

The relationship between myself as questioner and the student as respondent was possibly influenced by the fact that I am not a careers professional. Also, my status as a journalism lecturer (and a freelance journalist) may have skewed responses in a more favourable way towards that profession than if I was engaged in another area of academia.

The workshop involved a small sample of eight students from a third year cohort. Because of the small sample size no wide-ranging conclusions can be drawn, however, in analysing responses, many participants express similar opinions around the subject of future employment and their preparedness for the journalism job market.

Without including the entire third year it was difficult to gauge the perceptions of this cohort about their prospects in the media industry and whether that was why they chose to study particular subjects. It may be that the students who chose to attend were the least confident about getting a job in the media. Conversely, they might have been the keenest in the cohort, or a mixture of the two.

In order to provide some triangulation to the process and give a different environment for the students to voice their opinions, I held an informal focus group before the presentation. I chose to do this to enable me to gauge the levels of confidence and preparedness around applying for jobs before the advice was given to the students to try and allow some measurable outcomes for this research.

Data collection
My motive, in questioning the focus group, was to draw out the intentions of the students after graduation and examine how many planned to chase a job in the media. I also intended, as with the semi-structured interviews, to analyse whether students believe that a vocational degree only has one useful area of employment, or whether they perceived that graduate level skills are transferable to other sectors.

Work experience was raised as a key area of concern for students within the focus group. One student was chasing up employment following work experience on a football website, where he had already been published. With over 90% of recently qualified journalists having copy published during work-experience placements, this is becoming a wellestablished entry route. (Caesar, 2010).

A potential obstacle for students is the lack of integral exposure to work experience during the three year programme. This is particularly important when it comes to CV writing as evidence of practical engagement is perceived as more important than academic results for many employers. “They are all looking for work experience” (Student 2, 2013). Another added that he felt like he had the skills, “but they are all looking for people who’ve done work already.” (Student 8, 2013)

This is not just true for media, but across all industries according to High Fliers Research. Over half the top 100 graduate recruiters questioned warned that:

Graduates who have had no previous work experience at all are unlikely to be successful during the selection process and have little or no chance of receiving a job offer for their organisations’ graduate programmes.  High Fliers Research 2012, p1

Some respondents perceived that a media degree is only useful for one type of career. “I’m not sure why you would do the degree if you weren’t expecting to get a job in the media. There’s not really anything else you can do with the degree.” (Student 2, 2013).

Finally, the reasons for coming to the workshop were voiced by Student 2 (2013) who said he was there: “To feel more confident, to know where to look for jobs and how to go about making yourself as employable as possible with the skills we’ve got.”

Questionnaire
The first step in data collection was to construct a questionnaire balanced between general and specific answers. Some questions needed to be factual, while others were designed to draw out more detailed responses.

My introductory questions aimed to examine whether students had chosen the programme with a specific vocational goal in mind. This is integral to this research project because degree programmes such as journalism are increasingly seen as “pre-career” choices borne at the expense of the embryonic practitioner.

Whereas journalists might have received on the job training from the NCTJ (and many still do), some areas of the industry, particularly magazine and online content generators, are reliant on students effectively funding their own instruction through undergraduate, and increasingly post-graduate qualifications.

For our Journalism, Media Production, and Sports Media and Journalism students, the nature of the degree title suggests they are undergoing training for a particular profession so it seemed pertinent to examine their perceptions of career prospects.

Other questions were designed to look at issues around skills learnt, student confidence, and the lengths to which these graduates are prepared to go to find work. In the highly competitive and London-centric media industry this is an important factor, particular as the Destination of Higher Education Leavers data shows that last year 83% of this university’s graduates chose to take jobs in the South West, where there is limited provision for media employment.

As well as highlighting inequalities in the educational background of leading journalists, the Sutton Trust report also notes the unfair conditions for entry level employment that may prevent less-privileged students from being able to pursue these roles.

Low pay and insecurity at junior levels and the high cost of living in London; the increasing cost of postgraduate courses; the stronger skills, such as well-developed selfconfidence, deemed to be exhibited by those from private schools; and a bias towards those with family or personal connections. (Elliot Major 2006, p4)

Four years after that report was written the author, former news editor, Elliot Major suggested that the “problem has got worse”.

The newspaper industry, in particular, is going through a period of entrenchment, and it’s harder than ever to get in. I do believe the profession is meritocratic, once you’re there. The problem is this crucial early career stage in journalism. Typically, what people do is they go to London and work for free, or for very little, and hang around until they get somewhere. A very talented journalist from Newcastle who hasn’t got somewhere to stay in London is not going to be able to do that.

(Anon, 2013)

Despite the profession seemingly favouring London-based graduates of Russell Group Universities, there are still openings for other students and with the right attitude it is still possible to break in according to Bull (2007).

Although you will need commitment, perseverance and doggedness to get your first job as a journalist, it can be done… recruits get their jobs because they show a number of things. They show that:

They are really keen to become journalists;

They have pursued this ambition by gaining relevant work experience;

Often, they have pursued their goal by getting the necessary training before applying for jobs; and that

They are determined to succeed, whatever it takes.

Bull 2007, p5

Reflections on the data
One of the purposes of my research was to analyse whether the students I questioned are intending to work in the media. This helped me understand whether they regard the degree as “training” for a specific end, rather than education that instils “graduateness”.

Additionally, I wanted to ascertain whether they have received any help in applying for jobs prior to the specialist careers advice session, and then attempt to measure their levels of confidence following the advice given.

In order to achieve this, I analysed the responses and chose several topics that fitted the subjects under discussion: vocationalism; careers advice (and what that might entail); and attitudes towards employability and employment. The first section examined the student’s intentions on graduating, why they chose the degree originally, and whether they consider themselves employable as journalist practitioners or as graduates per se.

The next section examined confidence levels pre- and post careers workshop, looking at whether this was a useful implementation and if it could be enhanced or developed in future years. The final section focused on the determination of the student to get a job in the media. This is an area which is harder to measure because it may be more related to the personality and confidence levels of the individual, family background and as well other factors outside the influence of the university’s degree content and careers advice.

Vocational degree?

Examining the responses, the majority of students interviewed expressed an interest in working in the media, marketing or public relations. Sports Media students also tended to express an interest in their specialism. Student 4, 2013 expressed a typical response: “I’ve got a passion for football and other sport and I sort of already knew I wanted to be a writer.”

Others made the choice to study a journalism-related degree based on their A-Level or B-Tech courses in Media Studies or Media Production or said that they had always been strong in English.

Linking the answers to responses from the question about how having a degree affects employability helps further analyse students’ motivation in choosing the degree programme. Many expressed views that seem to chime with Wolf’s view that a degree is becoming an increasingly essential qualification for many jobs.

She contends, with the help of two bell curve graphs, that as numbers in the high ability group have grown significantly between 1950 and 2000, young people feel compelled to join this group, to improve chances of employability.

So long as only a small proportion have the given tag, the pressure is not very great. But when you move into a situation where the numbers with an upper-secondary qualification, or a degree, have moved well into that big middle bulge, then the pressure suddenly ratchets up. If you don’t get that qualification, then what you are effectively saying to the world is that you belong in the left-hand tail. And in that case employees will have no reason to look at you, because they have plenty of people on the right-hand side to choose from.  Wolf 2002, p179

Students generally agreed with that view of the need for further education and the “professionalization” of the job:

I don’t think you could even attempt to be a sports writer unless you had a degree in sports journalism, it sort of reassures them really. I don’t think it makes you any better, I probably could have done it three years ago, but it convinces them you are better because you’ve got a degree.  Student 4, 2013

However, in choosing a degree with a vocational title, the students seem to perceive that they are not only proving that they are in the right hand camp, but they have further identified themselves as wanting to work in a specific job. Student 4 considers he has been trained for this particular role, and at this stage can’t imagine doing anything else, although, with the realities of the employment market many have to change their plans.

The choice of occupation is, for many graduates, likely to be constrained. They may have to accept that their first choice of post is not realistic in the prevailing circumstances, and aim instead for another option that calls on the skills etc they have developed. (Note here the value to the graduate of adaptability and flexibility).  Yorke 2006, p9

This currency is clearly understood by the students questioned. Respondents expressed the perception that being a graduate gave them more employment options aside from the vocational title of their programme.

You’ve got the skills, and obviously the degree shows that you’ve done that. You can get onto graduate programmes, like if there’s a graduate programme for marketing. That’s what you can apply for, if you don’t have a degree you can’t apply. Student 5. 2013

I think it increases your employability, but at the same time, especially in a practical industry, like the media, it runs alongside work experience. Student 1, 2013

There seems to be a sense among the respondents that being an undergraduate could provide the key to a higher status job than they would have qualified for before attending university.

That means that degrees are perceived by young people as the way they get a shot at the good life, and even the very top, rather than just a form of imposed time-serving that permits them, at twenty-two, to do jobs their parents did at sixteen or eighteen.

Wolf 2002, p177

However, respondents were very clear that while they felt they had the necessary training to do a journalistic or media-based job, just having the degree was not enough to gain a foothold into the workplace. There is a strong understanding that their “graduateness” will get them so far, but connections, “positionality” (Yorke) and work experience is integral as we see from these responses.

You can’t just get a degree and nothing else. Even if it’s just a couple of articles a week, it’s your spare time anyway and it goes a long way. Student 4, 2013

I’ve got the skills to get me into the job industry, but you are always going to be learning…. but I’m not sure I’ve got the experience of the work itself. Student 1, 2013

Yes, I feel like I’ve got the individual skills, and it’s not that I haven’t got the knowledge, but I haven’t got the confidence to assume that I can fulfil a role without the same sort of guidance that you get at university.

Student 2, 2013

Here there is a sense that the actual “training” is really achieved on the job and that perhaps employers may regard a journalism degree as education. With the media evolving so rapidly, respondents also appreciate that learning is a continual part of professional development.

Careers advice so far
When gauging how much career’s advice students have already received, it was striking that none had consulted the official career’s department at the university. Some had taken a second year work based learning module, which gives some CV and interview advice.

Most reflected this view that the hackacademics on the staff were better place to help with job advice.

You might be better off talking to lecturers rather than the careers department. The lecturers need to tell you what should be on your CV because they have worked in the media.

Student 4, 2013

So, did the students feel more confident about their prospects after this specialist careers workshop, and did they feel it would be a good idea to introduce at least one session as a permanent part of the third year programme?

On the whole the respondents were positive about the workshop and said it had helped with writing CVs, looking for jobs and generally reminding them about how much they already know (but might have forgotten they had learned).

It’s given me confidence in where to look for a job and that’s one thing I wasn’t entirely sure of before. There are a few places I knew to look, but there are places that I’d never heard of that I can look in now. It’s also given me the confidence to develop my CV and what to put in and where to put it. Student 2, 2013

It’s made me a lot more confident now I’ve got a more professional CV because before it was geared towards finding part-time work. Student 4, 2013

After today I would say yes. Up until now I wouldn’t even know where to start looking. I’d still be looking at the Guardian. I didn’t know anything about Gorkana. Without coming today I wouldn’t have known where to start. Student 1, 2013

Other suggestions about how to improve the nature of the workshops came out of the “any other comments” question. These included more emphasis on work experience (Student 4, 2013), “forcing” students to come to careers workshops as part of the degree programme (Student 3, 2013) “offer more workshops, maybe try and get people in who have got jobs in the media”.

(Student 1, 2013)

This generally positive response has to be examined with the knowledge that none of the students had received any substantial careers advice from any professionals, and were therefore not in a position to contextualise their experience. Also, some of the students were possibly thinking about asking for help with applying for jobs and references, and so, are likely to be uncritical of the assistance I offered.

Internships

In the UK and the US, it has increasingly become a necessity, not least for university graduates, to undertake unpaid work as an ‘intern’ in one’s chosen field in the hope of obtaining more permanent employment – although this option is one that largely depends upon parental support, and is therefore more readily available to those from wealthy families (Perlin 2011). (Buckingham 2013, p30)

More than a third of this year’s vacancies will be filled by applicants who have already worked as an intern or in work experience at the employer according to High Fliers Research (2013).

While an NUS poll revealed 20% of 18 to 24 year olds has undertaken an internship compared with 2% of the same age 30 to 40 years ago. Nearly three-quarters (73%) in the same age bracket say that internships are a vital first step for a career in the media. (Boffey, 2012)

Among the respondents in this research, the question of unpaid internship is largely a financial and practical one as taking this action generally involves moving to a bigger city, and the cohort tends to come primarily from the South West area. Internships are also a class issue, with 10% of ABC1s undertaking an unpaid internship and just 3% of those in C2DE (Boffey, 2012).

Some students expressed the willingness to move, but none saw themselves in a position to work for nothing for any length of time, if at all. Very few expressed themselves in the terms of Student 7 (2013) that he would do whatever it takes. I’ve listed these responses in order of how “hungry” the students appear to be to get work in the media industry (Bull, 2007), with the keenest at the top.

Yeah, I’m prepared to move away and do an internship, possibly unpaid. Whatever it takes really to get the right job, rather than a non-media job. Student 7, 2013

Yeah, I’d move anywhere to a job, even London or Bristol… but I’m not sure about moving for free. I’ve done loads of writing stuff while I was at uni. If I didn’t have any other education or uni work, then I might try and get experience like that. Student 4, 2013

I would move away from home, I would work for nothing. But obviously if you work for nothing you kind of need a set up. I can’t move to London and then work for nothing. You can’t live on nothing. Student 5, 2013

An unpaid internship is great if you’ve got the money to support yourself, but I don’t think I’d be willing to get into a lot of debt for it, or extra debt. I would do unpaid work for a period of time, if it would help.

Student 6, 2013

With paid jobs in the media contracting for the well-qualified it is unsurprising that graduate level positions have also dropped. According to High Fliers Research 245 students were recruited by December 2012 to work in the media, down 50% on the previous year, making it the worst affected sector of all the industries surveyed.

While the discussion around internships is detailed and complex, for the purposes of this research it might be useful to classify the practice as “unpaid further training”. As most internships are taken by graduates, it might appear to be a cheaper way to an entry level job in the media than undertaking a post-graduate course.

As internships become more established in the media, often replacing entry-level jobs, the practice might, at surface-level appear to imply that employers don’t believe graduates have enough training to make them employable. Although the economic arguments around getting graduates to work for free are probably more compelling.

Conclusion
In Britain… the question becomes less ‘Does a degree pay well?’ than ‘Can I afford not to have one?’   Wolf 2002, p177

My purpose in undertaking this research was to understand the views of students regarding their career prospects and gauge how important specialist careers advice is for journalism graduates to improve employability.

The outcome of the workshop was to try and better prepare students in their applications for media and journalism jobs, recap their key skills, and help them produce a well written CV and bespoke covering letter.

As a result of the first iteration, these students now know that steps such as engaging in work experience, joining Linked In, setting up a professional Twitter feed and writing a blog, can have a strong positive influence on employability.

By building on this first careers workshop the department will be able to teach students not only to become better journalists, but also to be better graduates. A more rigorous approach is undoubtedly needed to improve graduate employability at the university and following this first iteration of the learning cycle there are several plans to develop careers advice in the department.

These include:

Running starter workshops for first year students highlighting the importance of working on the student website, starting a blog, building a Twitter and Linked In profile and gaining as much work experience as possible over the three year programme.

Working with the careers department to develop regular third year workshops to assist with CV and cover letter writing skills, as well as guiding students to job websites.

Inviting in previous alumni to talk about how they got their first break for informal discussion with students.

Setting up interviews with media professionals to practice interview skills.

Embedding work experience into formal assessment as an essential part of the programme.

This research has hopefully contributed towards the future employability of journalism and media students, and with the implementation of the steps above will continue that drive.

Institutionally we can provide scaffolding to support the journalism students in their search for employment, but ultimately, as Yorke says, they will have to approach the final stages unaided.

The best that can realistically be achieved may be for higher education to facilitate the development in students of the understandings, skills and attributes that will help them to make a success of their careers. There comes a point in students’ live when they have to make a step-change: higher education can take them so far, but then they have to deal with the challenges that employment throws up. The situation is a bit like a rocketpowered aircraft being lifted by a conventional one up into the stratosphere so that it can maximise its performance at altitude without a prohibitive expenditure of fuel to get there.  Yorke 2006,  p11

In summary, the conception and realisation of this new specialist careers support has given a group of students, who have received no official advice from the university careers department, some essential tools to aid their confidence and employability.

My research indicates that for the future improvement of graduate employability in journalism and media programmes this type of specialist careers workshop can provide a good basis for application to entry level jobs.

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