Archive for the ‘New Media’ Category

Networking: The way to advertise yourself in the media industry?

Every week, in my inbox, I receive a newsletter. In fact, I receive many, many newsletters with the majority being deleted before I even open them. However there is one that I always read with great interest. The Handbook Diary started appearing in my inbox every Monday a few months ago. I can’t actually remember signing up for it but I’m glad I did. It lists events that are going on that week. Amongst the odd Premiere and ExCel exhibitions, there are lots of press events that state “Invite Only”. Why these are publicised I don’t know. But they intrigue me. Today’s offering included two events that I would love to attend: the first being the launch of Dare2, a new high end magazine focussing on being luxurious and ‘good’ to the environment, with the second being the Sticky & Sweet Masterclass at Freggo (part of the Gaucho empire). The former sounds intriguing because it’s a new magazine launching in a time when print media is supposedly a struggling industry and yet Dare2 appears to be promoting their niche angle as being ‘green’. And as for the latter… Food journalism has always been the dream. I’ve left it alone for a while to pursue the more accessible music journalism, but, long before my Food & Travel internship, I knew that food writing was most definitely a career that I’d love to learn more about.

How does one go about getting invited to these ‘Invite Only’ events? I don’t know. But I’d hazard a guess that, as with most aspects of the media industry, it’s about who you know. Knowledge of subjects counts for a small percentage of working your way up the media ladder, knowledge of others further up the industry tends to help a lot more. Thinking about it, even I have benefitted from knowing people; my NatMags work experience was solely because my Dad’s childhood friend goes on annual fishing trips with the head of Sales and Marketing there. Additionally, I was kindly sent the press contact details for the Hard Rock Café and within an hour I’d been guestlisted to the Joshua Radin gig. Would this have happened had I emailed the generic front desk address? I can’t say for sure, but I’m guessing not.

I want to work in the media industry. In fact, I’m currently in the process of applying for another 4Talent scheme (Youth Advisory Panel) in the hope that this will help me gain more skills and knowledge (along with contacts) to progress. But will I get there if I stop attempting to network? Who knows, but I’m not going to risk it. Networking is fun and there is a wealth of knowledge out there that I’d love to have the chance to gain just the tiniest bit of.

So, if anyone wants anything reviewing, be it a music release, event or any other product, please let me know. You can always drop me an email (catherine92.may@btinternet.com) and I’ll be happy to respond to any questions that you may have.

I’m making myself available, so you don’t have to go searching.

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Fame goes to your head.

I’m a shameless media type.

Another summer of interning?

Last summer I spent four weeks in work experience placements. I spent a week in Sales and Marketing at The National Magazine Company, another week as an editorial intern at Grand Designs Magazine, concluding in a fortnight at Food and Travel. I had an amazing time at all of these and gained a real insight into the media industry. Having participated in Inspiration Week, I’ve been seriously considering another summer of interning. However it’s not the journalism industry that I’m interested in this year; this time round I’d love to get a placement that involves social media.

I’ve been doing some research on the net and discovered many (graduate level) positions that rely on the candidate having an excellent knowledge of social media, including blogging. I like to think that I’m pretty knowledgeable when it comes to these areas and previous feedback from placements has shown that my strengths lie in my written and verbal communication. I love to communicate. And when you combine communication and the internet (another of my favourite things) you get social media.

It’s a growing industry, with more and more companies turning to the internet to create a relationship with the consumers. At the moment, there are plenty of brands using social media to their advantage, but I know that many more are yet to jump on the bandwagon. I’d happily take a placement at a company who already have a well-established social media set-up, or somewhere where the process is only just beginning.

If I found the perfect internship, I’d genuinely be willing to spend my whole summer there. If necessary, I could be free from July 1st (though preferably not July as I’ve plans to go travelling) through to mid-September. Although I’d be just as happy with a week placement if that were to be offered.

So if anyone knows of any internships available, please let me know. Of course, I shall be doing my own research into positions as well, but two heads are better than one. I’m not expecting anything that’s paid, it’s the experience and insight that I’m really after. You can find my CV at the top of this page. Thanks.

4Talent Inspiration Week

Art installation 'Shelter', a giant number 4 made from discarded umbrellas by artist Stephanie Imbeau, winner Channel 4's BIG4 public art competition, stands in front of the Channel 4 building on March 4, 2009 in London, England. The piece, a representation of channel 4's logo, is constructed from unconnected blocks so that it only appears as the number 4 from a certain viewpoint.

Twitter is the reason that I discovered Inspiration Week. Having followed 4Talent I discovered the scheme and was delighted to be offered a place. I opted for masterclasses in Advertising, Journalism and New Media on the first day, with the latter being my workshop of choice for day two.

Day One was a great success. The two women presenting the advertising session were very knowledgeable and willing to answer any questions we threw at them, even when it came down to questions about salaries. Their openness impressed me as they realistically talked through the positives and negatives of the advertising industry.

After a (free!) lunch, I headed to New Media where I learnt about different positions and sectors within ‘New Media’, yet never learnt what the term actually means. Our mentor was none the wiser but his wealth of knowledge and time spent in the industry meant he had a lot to tell us. And I didn’t get bored or check the time once – which is pretty impressive for me…

Journalism was lead by a Radio Journalist who was frank about the industry but her session was interactive and enjoyable. We had to summarise press releases into three sentences, mimicking the time restraints within broadcast journalism. Whilst this is not a branch of journalism that I desire to work in, the session was informative and she tried to make it relevant for us all, despite our varying interests within the media.

If I have one regret about day one it would be that I didn’t choose Producing and Directing. Whilst I don’t have a huge interest in these areas, I discovered that Chris Atkins, the creator of Starsuckers, was taking the session. And if you’ve read my blog about that documentary, you’ll know why I’d have loved to meet the brains behind it all. I get the impression that many of the participants within that session hadn’t watched the film and so I would have loved to have been there, with the benefit of knowing about the documentary.

Day Two was a bit of a contrast to this. As opposed to a variety of activities we participated in just the one today. New Media was my workshop of choice. Having hoped/wrongly assumed it would be more about social media in relation to the internet (social networks/blogs), I was a little disheartened to walk into a session about gaming. However after an initial reluctance in the first half an hour, I embraced the workshop for the great opportunity that it was and threw myself into designing a Wii Surfing game. Our group’s complete lack of knowledge about surfing and minimal gaming knowledge didn’t hold us back and I think our pitch at the end of the day went pretty well.

Networking was a main reason I wanted to go to Inspiration Week. But it wasn’t what I came out with. Sure, I met many likeminded individuals who I hope to keep in contact with, but I came away wanting to go elsewhere and network. It inspired me to pursue more opportunities, and made me consider another summer of internships where I really could make the most of them. The 4Talent team who ran the event were all really friendly and approachable – I had a ten minute conversation on the first day with the alumni member who was taking photos about his background and his insight into the industry.

So whilst I found the second day to be different to my expectations, I enjoyed Inspiration Week for the amazing experience that it was. Would I recommend it? Definitely, but I’d advise you to think carefully about your workshop choices. Oh, and if you find yourself in a situation different to what you’d expected? Embrace it. It’s a chance to try something new. You never know, it could be something you fall in love with and inspire a total change of career choice.

Check out all the other 4Talent opportunities here.

Twitter and Other Social Networks.

A lot can be said in 140 characters. You can greet someone, share emotions, say goodbye. You can make a political stand, protest for what you believe in – change the world?

Twitter is a huge part of my life. Call me ‘sad’, I don’t care. It’s a great outlet, full of networking opportunities that you’ve got to be a part of to understand. For some people, Twitter is thought of as a way of telling the world one’s most intimate details about their mundane life that nobody in the real world cares about. Sure, there are accounts that are full of the gems of knowledge such as “today I ate a cheese sandwich”. But, when in the right hands, Twitter can be put to really good use.

For me, it’s all about the networking. Yes, I love to follow my favourite Australian musicians/TV presenters/Hamish & Andy. But also I’ve found so many opportunities because of it. I became a part of teentoday, I got myself a published, paid article at chocablog, I even discovered the 4talent scheme which has resulted in my two day placement at Channel 4 next week. I’ve even been the recipient of a plentiful supply of free sweets from The Sweet Treat Co, solely because of contact via Twitter.

I’ve made twitter friends. Sure, they might not be people I’ll be pouring my heart out to anytime soon, for all I know none of them could be who they say they are, but their tweets entertain me.

I’ve won prizes. A necklace, loads of books, crates of juice, a USB dance mat… all have come about through simply retweeting a link. It’s easy enough. You should really try it.

Twitter’s only had a small impact on my life, but it’s ability to show support to a cause is impressive. Twibbons can easily be added to your photo to display your support for a charity, political party or anything else (think X Factor contestants etc). When there was the controversy in Iran, people put a green tint over their photos which gained further media coverage for the situation.

One twitter account proved to not quite be enough for me. So I created another one with a different purpose. I’ve got a personal account for everyday rants, and then I created @teenevents as part of teentoday where I tweet about gigs, signings, releases and other events for teens. I can’t find anything else so relevant out there so I’m really embracing that account and currently have 320 followers, so I guess I’m doing something alright.

Facebook is great for real friends and family. Privacy is tighter on there and there’s stuff that I’ll post on Facebook that I wouldn’t ever tweet about. Then again, there’s things I tweet about that I’d never put on Facebook so I guess it works both ways. Social media isn’t just one site, there are so many ways to interact online that there’s a social network suited for everyone. Bebo worked for the tweens, Myspace still has a bit of the music market and LinkedIn is great for professionals.  

So I guess you’ve established that I’m a fan of Twitter. Unlike that intern at Morgan Stanley, I believe that Twitter isn’t just for “old people”. It’s for people who want to make changes, people who want to share things and for people who want to make more of their lives. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Got an opinion on this? Tweet me. @catherineelaine

The Virtual Revolution

The BBC’s latest technology documentary was most probably not aimed at teenage girls. Yet I have really enjoyed The Virtual Revolution.

A series made up of four hour long programmes each focussing on different areas of progress/concern within this new fangled invention that we like to call the Internet.  Presented by Dr Aleks Krotoski, the sheer amount of knowledge that it makes accessible to a wider audience is really impressive. And as for those who comment on the issues in between the shots of Aleks in the same blue dress in nearly every technologically advanced city throughout the world? Why, the Beeb must have some good connections/persuading skills money to entice the creator of the Internet itself, Tim Berners-Lee, alongside Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Wozniak (Apple) to suggest their own opinions on the dominance of the internet. Oh, and quite simply for the fact that the programme comes with it’s very own hash tag (#bbcrevolution), how on earth could I not become immersed in it?

Episode One looked at how anyone can leave their footprint permanently on the web, with sites such as Wikipedia and YouTube allowing anyone to upload freely whatever content they wish (until it is removed for huge inaccuracies in the case of the former, or for copyright issues or generally breaking the law in the case of the latter). Additionally, the programme looks at the rise of blogs and how they give a voice to anyone who wants one – something that we must thank the internet for providing an outlet for people to communicate in ways which would otherwise be impossible. Take the example of the Iranian conflict. Twitter became a great way of sharing the real stories behind the news reports with hash tags and twibbons being used to show support.

Politics are paid particular attention to in the second episode, whilst ‘The Cost of Free’ tells the truth about how easily accessible everything we post on the internet is and how it can be used against us. Search Engines like the formidable Google can track all our searches and form targeted ads specifically for us. This doesn’t worry me massively, but the fact that they can work out who you are and the intimacies of your life by tracking all the searches from you IP address proves to be a little more worrying.

Having enjoyed the first three episodes, the most interesting and relevant episode for me would have to be the final show. ‘Homo Interneticus?’ poses the question that a new generation of web savvy youngsters have been born who spend up to 18 (yes, EIGHTEEN) hours a day in front of a screen. Yes, I always joke about being addicted to twitter and checking my emails, but even I find it absurd that a young person can waste so many hours of a day being so inactive. The rise of social networking is a topic that’s regularly been covered in the media to much rolling of eyes from the teenagers themselves. However, this programme does show the issue in a less biased way with Stephen Fry proclaiming that adults should not moan at the youths for using these services as, had they been around in his childhood, he believes that they’d have been just as popular. It’s just a new media that scares the older generations because we, the supposed yobs of society, know how to use the internet better than our parents.

Ultimately, this is a great series. I’m not saying that other teens will enjoy it (I don’t think everyone is quite as obsessive with the web as me) but I reckon it’d be of interest to a lot of people. So thank you #bbcrevolution for providing me with four hours of knowledge and insightful information. I might not have been your target audience, yet your programme managed to really influence me.