Journalism is a notoriously difficult industry to break into – but it can be done!
Ally Faughnan, King’s alumna and previous Engagement Assistant at Careers & Employability, shares the career decisions that led her to a job on the editorial team at Google Arts and Culture.
What do you do now and what steps did you take to get there?
By day you can find me working on the editorial team at Google Arts and Culture. By night (e.g. my ‘side-hustle’) I run The Gallyry, an online magazine for women in the arts.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve gained a range of experience, from interning at magazines to being a runner at fashion shows. However, it wasn’t until my final year at university that I started writing for the student publications and did an internship at Dazed that made me realise journalism was the path I wanted to go down. Alongside starting my own online magazine while still a student, all this experience gave me the confidence to take the next steps in my role at Google Arts & Culture.
The King’s Careers Take: As Ally’s experience shows, career paths are not linear – instead, we’re all in a constant cycle of Discover, Focus, and Action, and its only by trying out new things that we find out what we do and don’t like!
Why did you decide to work as an editorial co-ordinator?
Since I was really young, I’ve always liked the idea of working in a magazine (probably alongside everyone else who wanted to be the Editor of Vogue) and I find writing a great way to explore my creative interests. Despite dabbling in events, marketing, programming, and other career paths through volunteer and work experience, by my final year of uni I had gone full circle back to journalism and now, being part of an editorial team allows me to build up my experience working for a digital platform.
What barriers did you overcome on your career journey? Were there any barriers that you couldn’t overcome and had to work around?
I think one of the barriers that many people face when going into journalism is trying to get your first bylines. Without a writing portfolio, many publications are reluctant to commission you, but utilising opportunities such as writing for my university publications and setting up my own online magazine gave me a platform to start publishing my work.
What have you learnt through your career journey?
I feel that I am still only at the start of my career journey but it has definitely been a bit of trial and error. There’s no harm in giving something a go to see if it is what you want to do. Without trying so many different pathways through internships and volunteering, I wouldn’t have found my passion for working in the arts and cultural industries, particularly the work I’m doing for women in the arts.
Do you have any top tips for anyone wanting to join the industry?
Journalism is a big industry, so try and find out what area you’re interested in and makes you stand out. Whether it’s fashion, art, sports, pop culture, or politics, there are so many different platforms and publications out there. And if you can’t see anything out there that fits your interests, why not create it yourself!
Check out the recording from our recent Discover Careers In Jounalism and Publishing panel to hear more from Ally and others! You can also look at our journalism sector guide for more industry insights.