by nicola slawson
Around a month ago, I emailed the co-founders of PressPad Olivia Crellin and Laura Garcia some initial thoughts on how the coronavirus pandemic might impact PressPad. At the time some of our hosts had already got in touch to cancel hosting and we were beginning to hear from young people whose placements had been postponed indefinitely.
Many media companies were closing their doors to external guests while others had already begun to work from home. I wrote that young people we would normally host or who follow us on social media in order to look for opportunities might be feeling anxious about their career prospects.
The impact of coronavirus
Reading back on the email I can see that I had begun to have a sense of what might be coming for the UK having seen what was happening in Italy but I wasn’t sure if I was being overly concerned.
Now I know that actually I should have been even more worried. Things have moved very quickly since I wrote that email. We’re now four weeks into lockdown in the UK and each day the death count rises and even our own Prime Minister has been in intensive care.
It’s a worrying time for everyone and we’re thinking of you if you are struggling or have a loved one who is ill.
The situation is also having a devastating impact on the economy, and journalism in particular is at risk as it still relies on advertising revenue, which is the last thing struggling or temporarily closed businesses will be spending money on.
We know that as well as internships not running, news organisations have frozen hiring, made pay cuts and in some cases laid staff off. It’s a worrying time to be a journalist in terms of job security but equally there is a greater need than ever for good quality journalism to ensure the whole story is being told.
JOURNALISM AFTER LOCKDOWN
We don’t know what the future holds and we don’t know when lockdown will end or even how it will end. So far as we know, there is no real exit strategy.
While we may lose publications, and just last week the Jewish Chronicle announced it was going into liquidation, I am confident we will always need journalists. Sooner or later media companies will once again advertise for entry level positions.
In the meantime, if you’re an aspiring or student journalist reading this, it is important to hone the skills you already have and brush up on new ones so that when the time comes you are in the best possible position to apply for that internship (and apply to be hosted by PressPad!) or entry level job.
INTRODUCING PRESSPAD REMOTE
To that end, we have put together PressPad Remote, an exciting programme of activities, which includes masterclasses from the team and special guests, Q&As with top journalists, CV and pitch clinics and even speed mentoring.
We have other ideas in the works, which we will be announcing in due course and we are also open to any ideas you might have. Our aim is to try and support as many young journalists as we can, while also helping you to connect with each other and with established journalists as you would if you were currently doing work experience in a newsroom or attending networking events after work or Uni.
If you are one of our brilliant hosts or a journalist who is interested in helping out, we have created a form for you to fill out so you can get involved as well.
Once again, we are always open to trying new things out so please share any bright ideas you have!
SOME GOOD ADVICE
I am going to leave you with this video of Olivia spelling out some great advice if you are worried about your career, which she filmed for News Associates.
Stay safe and stay at home!