Tab Presents Fleet Street Secrets

Hello again, and we are properly getting stuck into Autumn weather, aren’t we? Well, it is September now! In the UK, September is synonymous with a lot of changes and restarting your life. In some ways, it can be more powerful than New Year’s Day! With many people changing schools, entering ‘big’ years of their educational lives, becoming a fresher/second year/finalist/graduate; they’re all major steps into the real world. This is particularly daunting for anyone, and although I may not vocally express it, I do hold some worries for my future! The career paths that I dream of going down are just so competitive that I need to get insider knowledge now in order to stand any chance of working for a top company.

Recently, I’ve been open to many career paths all relating to the media industry. Whether it be straight journalism, press office work, communications, public relations, researching for TV shows… you name it, I’ve probably thought about it and maybe done a little bit of research on it. On 2nd September 2015, I went to an event in London hosted by The Tab designed to give some Fleet Street insight into your average Joe street mind, and it really did open my eyes to the world of journalism, something which I had strongly been thinking about. However, if there’s one thing I learned yesterday, it’s that I actually don’t want to become a journalist when I’m older, as I prefer researching events that have happened, and working out why they did, rather than researching and writing about the present with the fear of being wrong. It also opened my eyes once again that doing a History degree is really the perfect degree for me. I enjoy learning about the past and applying what has happened to present and future situations. The event made me realise that a career researching for TV programmes is my dream path! As cliché as it sounds, I do just love to learn, and I always want to keep learning, but once my BA is completed, I want to get into the real world and earn. Take my next year of my degree as an example: I’ll be learning plenty about 15th century world history, the development of the human mind and human nature, American, Russian, Polish and Ukrainian history; I’ve never studied such a breadth of history before! I can’t wait to get stuck in, learn and work out how we can apply past events into the present and future scenarios and how programmes can remain historically accurate in order to gauge a wide public interest as well as being fun to research.

(I may have just worked out my career destiny, oh my god. I’m 19 and I’ve done it!)

Whilst the event may have been specifically focused towards journalism, it did give some great tips for my blog writing and essay writing from a very different, more real-world and less solely academic viewpoint. The first talk was from the creator of the Tab, Jack Rivlin. He discussed how he went to Cambridge and was aggravated by how the student newspaper didn’t necessarily focus on what the people wanted, so created the Tab where people could write their own content and attract a greater student audience. It really does have a left-wing feel that’s very synonymous with Cambridge about it. Anyway, Jack was a delight and a breath of fresh air to what you expect from the journalism world as a bunch of middle-aged people who control the press and manipulate some of our thoughts (Murdoch).

We were then spoken to by many leading professionals in the business, such as Neville Thurlbeck who was a Chief Reporter at the News of the World. He gave us some great tabloid secrets into the Ken Livingstone and David Beckham cases. However, what was refreshing to hear was his morals. He disagrees with publishing distressing images in order to get readers as this can cause distress that is un-needed. He related this to the recent tragedies of the journalists at WBDJ in America, and how we didn’t need to see the bullet… are the images now important than the words?

Martin Stabe from FT would definitely agree, as he was discussing the strength of being able to code within journalism, even though this is perceived as particularly ‘mathsy’. Helen Lewis concurred with Neville Thurlbeck, discussing just how important it is to write for specific audiences. She gave such easy tips, which in reality are so simple and obvious, yet it was clear that we all needed to be retold these. Helen gave a great analogy, don’t be a Madonna. Don’t grow your armpit hairs out, tame them and tame yourself. Write in the right way. She also made the idea of pitching an idea to a newspaper to write an article so easy. She gave me inspiration to write something for the Guardian! (Scary, and no I’m not sharing what my idea is).

The day wasn’t just full of advice, it was full of excellent stories, some coming from Joshi Herrmann who is about to become Editor of the Tab in New York City. He showed us his amazing feature pieces that have included a murder case at Victoria Station, London. Andy Rudd also told us some wonderful stories about Cheryl Cole/Tweedy/FV/member of Girls Aloud and Kate Winslet’s sister, demonstrating just how beneficial it is to create good, stable relationships and how important it is to be polite.

At the end of the day, and after a couple of free drinks, I definitely felt that the day had been worthwhile, and as I was sitting on a crowded train home, it really did give me food for thought as to what I see myself being in the future. I’m very glad I went to this event, as it’s made me realise that I want to be a researcher and working in the media industry, not specifically the journalism industry. I definitely want to keep in touch with my History roots. It’s always been my favourite subject at school, and I’m not going to stray from that anytime soon. Now, time for a song and it’s one that I just downloaded onto my iPod, and I’m already addicted to it. I’m 19 and I shouldn’t like a Little Mix song this much but it is great!


Sophie x


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