Media careers: The editorial assistant

lauraLaura Donaldson, originally from Edinburgh, graduated from Caledonian University over the summer, and now works in London as an editorial assistant at heat magazine.

What does your job involve day to day?

Completing administration tasks such as answering the phones, handing out the post, and booking transport for colleagues, transcribing interviews for the team and overseeing work experience placements.

What inspired you to get into journalism?

I have always been obsessed with magazines and the entertainment industry and have also always loved writing, so for me it was the perfect way to combine the two.

How did you get started in journalism?

I started writing for Source when I was in my first year at university and had the best time writing features, reviews and interviews. I then started doing work experience placements at Bauer magazines like Closer and Grazia in my last year of university before being asked to come back and do freelance work. I then was asked to be the Acting Editorial assistant at Grazia for 2 months before applying for the role I’m in now.

What’s your educational background?

I went to Glasgow Caledonian University after I completed sixth year at school and graduated from the Multimedia Journalism course in 2015 with a 2:1 degree.

What skills and qualities are important for your role?

You definitely have to be very organised and pay a lot of attention to detail. It’s also important to be patient and friendly when dealing with more trying tasks. I think determination and passion are also vital to keep you going and keep you focussed.

What’s the best bit of your job?

The best part for me is doing shifts for heatworld.com – writing and posting stories on the website as well as the magazine’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. And working with the team, everyone is so lovely!

What’s the most challenging?

I think being at the beck and call of an entire team and trying to figure out how everyone works individually can be tricky, but once you realise what is expected of you from the team it gets easier. Remaining calm when talking to rude people on the phone can be challenging too!

What’s your ultimate career aim? 

I think in the future I would like to come back home to Scotland and work as a reporter or content writer – I would love to write about music and/or films.

What’s your advice for anyone wanting to work in journalism?

I think you have to be patient; opportunities can pop up when you least expect it so don’t lose faith if you’re not hearing back from people or places. Keeping in contact with people you meet is always a good idea too – I never understood what networking means and I’m not entirely sure I do yet but I think just keeping in touch with people and letting them know you’re there can lead to opportunities. And work experience is key! It’s so important to get experience, whether that be a placement or writing for your own blog, as it shows dedication and improves your skills, making your CV so much more appealing.

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