MA Magazine Journalism graduate gives top tips to current students
University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) MA Magazine Journalism graduate Lucy Aspden is now the Social Media Editor and Content Executive for the UK’s best-selling and longest running winter sports publication - Telegraph Ski and Snowboard.
Taking time out of her hectic schedule, Lucy thought she would pay a visit to campus to share her experience and expertise with budding journalists from the School of Journalism, Media and Performance.
She said: “It felt so strange. When I got here, I went straight into Greenbank café and nothing had changed. Studying at UCLan was great and it actually brought back a lot of really good memories.
“I hope to get across to the students that journalism is about having so many skills. It’s about saying yes to everything, trying everything and remembering everything you do on the course rather than one particular area."
She added: “You’ve really got to have that full breadth of skills, because that is ultimately what the industry is looking for now.”
I absolutely loved magazines, ever since the day I subscribed to my first ever title Glamour magazine about 15 years ago which seems like forever now. It took a little time, but I finally realised that this was what I really wanted to do.
Graduating just two and a half years ago, Lucy now works with both the editorial and marketing departments across the Telegraph Event's travel portfolio. She writes and produces content and effectively manages social media for the Telegraph ski brand and the wider events department, which requires the need to continually come up with vibrant new ideas of how journalists can use social media.
Prior to studying her MA at UCLan, Lucy completed an English literature degree at another university where she also did a little bit of marketing and entrepreneurship, however, by the end of the three years she surprisingly found herself at a crossroads in life debating her next step.
She said: “I absolutely loved magazines, ever since the day I subscribed to my first ever title Glamour magazine about 15 years ago which seems like forever now.
“It took a little time, but I finally realised that this was what I really wanted to do, even though I was unsure of how to go about it.”
After doing some research, it was here that Lucy made the decision to embark on a mission to pursue a magazine media career.
“I began by doing a few internships with local newspapers and everyone kept mentioning how you need qualifications and that you can’t just go into journalism off the back of nothing, so I thought I would look into it.
“In finding that UCLan was so highly credited by everyone and that they did the NCTJ and a master’s course, I thought you know what, for a year it will give me all the experience that I need for the rest of my career” she commented.
In what might appear to be a smooth transition from studying a master’s to full-time employment, was actually quite to the contrary as Lucy described the internship application process as nothing one would expect.
“The internship at the Telegraph came up and it was a ski internship and it was actually my tutor at UCLan who knew I was into skiing. I had actually just taken a week off to go on a ski holiday and she said that I should apply.
“You just think job application, fill in the form and send it off, but I had to do two videos; two written answer questions; a full application form; and a CV. This was then narrowed down to an assessment day where I had to go to London and this was just for a 6 month internship - the amount of money I spent on Virgin Trains was incredible.”
When I applied for the ski internship, I honestly thought… not a chance. This is the first one I’ve done, this is not going to happen - but it did.
She added: “At the interview stage when they said that they wanted to offer me the position, they asked if I could start in a week’s time. I had absolutely nowhere to live, nothing, but obviously if you want the job you’ve got to do it and having to find somewhere to live in London within just four days, was a bit of a challenge.”
Despite journalism being a highly competitive profession, Lucy stressed that when it comes to hitting the job market you shouldn’t let this put you off.
She said: “When I applied for the ski internship, I honestly thought… not a chance. This is the first one I’ve done, this is not going to happen - but it did.
“In my application, I talked a lot about skiing and even sent in a video of me skiing to try and butter them up a bit. I also researched the editor to see what his interests were.”
She added: “Just apply, apply, apply and sign up to everything. Try and make it as personal and tailored to each job, rather than a generic application for each and look into the company that you’re applying for.”
As a result of Lucy’s ambition and her love of magazines and skiing, she discovered a profession that enabled her to combine both of her interests in an exciting area of the media which looks set to continue for many more years to come.