LIFE AS A JOURNALIST! 📚

Wednesday 1st Jun 2022

LIFE AS A JOURNALIST! 📚

Ever thought about blogging or reporting on ground-breaking stories? Meet Lateefah Jean-Baptiste a Freelance Journalist. Lateefah studied Media and Communications and instantly fell in love with PR and turned her passion into a career. Read more to find out how she got started…

What does working in PR entail?

No two days are the same. As a PR professional, it’s your responsibility to create, develop, and implement PR plans and strategies that help promote your brand/organisation’s key messages to specific audiences. You’ll be expected to write press releases, organise media interviews, build relationships with journalists, assist with press events, monitor media coverage and source media opportunities for your organisation.

How long have you been working in PR?

I have been working in PR for about four years now, and I have been a freelance journalist for five years.

When did you first become interested in Journalism and PR and was there a moment where you knew you were going to be a become what you are today?

I became interested in PR and journalism whilst I was at University. Studying media and communications really helped me to carve out my career choices after graduation. When I realised that I could have a career as a successfully freelance journalist, whilst working in PR I knew I had found my path!

Did you take A Levels, if so, what did you study?

Yes, I studied History, Sociology and Media Studies. I did an AS in English language and literature.

How would you say the topics you studied in school helped you get to where you are today?

Yes, it was my interest in English that made me realise that I had a genuine love for writing.

What would you say are the top 3 qualities, someone interested in Journalism, Media and PR needs to have in order to succeed within the industry?

Resilience, Initiative and good communication skills.

How did you go about finding a career in Media?

I decided to study media studies at College because it was the closest I could get to journalism. However, my course ended up having nothing to do with journalism. I always liked writing and thought I wanted to be a full-time journalist. However, when I started doing my PR module at University, I really started liking the idea of working in PR.

A year after graduation, I started applying for entry-level journalism jobs and PR roles. However, after unsuccessful journalism job applications, I decided to focus on applying for PR roles instead, and I started looking into freelance journalism. I knew nothing about the freelance world, so I would attend events, watch YouTube videos and do free courses online.

Did you undergo any relevant work experience to help get you to where you are today, and if yes, how important would you say this was?

Yes, I interned at two multi-award winning PR agencies. This gave me the opportunity to get a taste of PR agency life in both the consumer and corporate PR industry. These internships also prepared me for life as a PR professional.

What would you say is your favourite thing about working in Media / Journalism?

I love working as a freelance journalist because of the freedom and control I have over what stories and articles I write. The rejection I received when applying for full-time journalism job was a redirection for me, as I couldn’t be happier with my decision to venture into freelance journalism.

I enjoy working in PR because it allows me to utilise my story-telling skills. I also get the chance to meet so many exciting and inspiring people.

Are there any final tips you would give to a young person who wants to do what you do?

There are still so many people who believe media or any kind of communications related course is a ‘Mickey Mouse Degree’. They see Media Communications as being an easy degree with hardly any job prospects,  which is definitely not true. Ignore those people – and focus on your own path. Every brand or company you can think of has some sort of Media Communication and PR function.

Degree or no degree, it’s important for you to focus on getting yourself an internship, look for networking events, and get a mentor to help you understand the industry and what kind of career route you want to go down.

If you want to learn more about PR and Journalism apprenticeships or opportunities, make sure to sign up to Pathway CTM and be the first to hear about our events. We have also recently partnered with the School of Communication Arts 2.0 who have a network of over 1,000 industry leaders and over 100 top agencies supporting our programme, they’re the premier destination for creatives who want a fast-track into the industry. You can register for their opportunities here.