I recently enjoyed the BBC’s new drama Industry, in which we follow five graduates that vie for a permanent job at the fictional investment bank, Pierpoint. The clashes, the deceit, the egos and the excess draw you into their storm in a teacup. Yet I couldn’t help but notice that none of this rivals the tempest that gathers around graduates trying to break into the world of journalism.
Being one of them myself, and on one of the most competitive and well-respected journalism courses in the country, I can say with confidence that they’re a maverick and driven bunch. Since we spent last semester enjoying in-person teaching but with very little social life outside of the course, the long days, intensity of work and shared dream have led to a sense of village community.
But as with any village, there is also drama and intrigue. There has been suspected ‘ideas stealing’ and the reckonings to follow. Meanwhile, the psychological warfare of group chats reveals how many grad schemes and jobs people have applied for.
Some want to infiltrate, investigate, and expose terrorist organisations, whilst others are fiends at trawling through suspicious MPs’ expense record. Others just want to write about cricket. There is depth and there is range to their pursuit to make a living out of words.
Then there is the world of freelancing – like banking, one with its own quirky words and rules. Freelancing can be very rewarding and is an excellent way to introduce yourself to publications you one day hope to work at full-time. It is also another way of quantifiably comparing yourself to your journalist peers. Some will already be working on documentaries; others are writing features for national outlets; and the relentless Twitter stream can all seem a bit much sometimes.
Investment banking may be competitive, but it’s got nothing on journalism. More graduates than ever are interested in journalism as a career-path, and unfortunately there are fewer jobs waiting for them. The result is a highly competitive but undoubtedly exciting atmosphere.
Photo credit: Austine Distel on Unsplash