5 things a Media & Journalism degree doesn’t teach you

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Having recently completed a Media & Journalism degree, I decided it was about time I gained some hands-on experience. And while my degree provided me with a wide range of knowledge, it lacked a certain practical element.

To learn more about how the PR industry actually works, I swapped the lecture theatre for the office. So, I went and embarked on a three-week placement at Golley Slater. During my time here I have been assigned numerous responsibilities that have given me a real insight into the workings of a PR firm. And to say the least, it’s taught me a range of new skills that a Media & Journalism degree hasn’t.

1 How to write a press release

Writing a press release was something I had never done before, and the format definitely contrasts to the essay writing that I’m used to. Being able to contribute press releases for BAM Nuttall and Shanly Homes taught me a lot about how the press receive stories, and it was interesting to see how this is translated into published coverage.

2 Confidence is key

While presentation assignments at school and university certainly develop communication skills, Golley Slater took it a step further. Having the opportunity to reach out to third parties taught me how to negotiate and arrange partnerships for clients. Over time I have become far more confident, which has improved my communication skills massively. I have also learnt how to ‘sell in’ stories to journalists – and what ‘selling in’ is for that matter!

3 How to research

From compiling media lists to finding partners for client events, a large part of my role at Golley Slater has involved researching. Before arriving, I’ll admit that my answer to research was to just ‘Google it’. While Google has certainly been a useful resource over the past few weeks, it’s not the only tool available. I have also learnt how to use programmes such as Gorkana to be far more efficient in gathering information.

4 How to tweet

Little did I know, all those hours vacantly scrolling through Instagram, Facebook and the like were actually training me for a career in PR. I have seen how valuable a resource social media is for clients, and have created several content calendars outlining future posts. It’s been great to see my posts uploaded and the response they have generated.

5 How to keep up

A Media & Journalism degree teaches you how to work to deadlines and perform under pressure. But, I didn’t anticipate how fast-paced working at Golley Slater would be. With plans constantly changing, keeping up is vital and I’ve had to continually adjust my priorities to ensure everything was completed in time. The energetic nature of the job has kept everything exciting, and my three-weeks here have absolutely flown by.

Ultimately, working at Golley Slater has taught me how to transfer the skills I have developed at university into a work environment. I have had such a fantastic time working with the team, and cannot thank everyone enough for being so welcoming!

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