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Posted By: paulajw
Posted On: March 5, 2015

Blaise Tapp, head of commissioned content at Johnston Press talking to students at Brighton Journalist Works

Blaise Tapp, head of commissioned content at Johnston Press talking to students at Brighton Journalist Works

Blaise Tapp, head of commissioned content at Johnston Press talking to students at Brighton Journalist Works. Picture by Caitlin Webb

Guest speaker Blaise Tapp from Johnston Press, ignited interest among Journalist Works students, when he talked about making a good impression in job interviews.

NCTJ trainee Angelika Rusbridge shares her thoughts on the advice given in her blog.

Arguably the hardest thing about starting a career is finding a job.

Wait, actually, who am I kidding, it is by far the most difficult part and we all know it.

Luckily for my fellow students and I at Brighton Journalist Works, we’re currently much too busy studying to even have a spare moment to think about it; but that doesn’t mean the prospect of future employment (or not) isn’t looming.

Blaise Tapp, head of commissioned content at Johnston Press, visited us with advice on these matters, which was like free ramen to a hungry student – which we all are (students, not ramen).

He began by pointing out some must-do’s for making a good impression during interviews.

Mr Tapp is an authority in these matters, having held hundreds of interviews himself, and though seemingly evident, these details are so important that it is not a mad idea to drill them into yourself.

Wear a tie, shine your shoes, brush your hair, know your patch, have ideas ready for the editor, and in his own words: “Always, always, always, read the bloody papers.”

He went on to suggest that we might want to get fluent in swearing; a language I’m sure we all look forward to practicing, as it is surely easier than shorthand.

“Journalism has changed an awful lot,” he said, referencing the inevitable permeation of social media within the profession.

Though I was initially reluctant to admit it, Twitter has been an absolute must, and I can’t imagine being a journalist without this free, widely available, and priceless source of news.

“Follow as many journalists as you can,” he said.

I have found that most of my favourite journalists are on Twitter, and though there are a wide variety of social media platforms, this is the one that seems to take precedence within our chosen field of study.

The only downside is that it can all be a bit overwhelming and it never seems to stop, but Mr Tapp points out: “Some of the best journalists I know don’t look at the clock.”

He followed with indisputable advice, like having a tidy CV, taking any chance for work experience, and bringing your personality to the table in a world where newsrooms are shrinking and close proximity makes working closely an absolute must.

I welcomed the opportunity to hear him say that journalism isn’t dying, just changing, that papers are still recruiting (my bank account is grateful to hear it), and that “being a journalist is the best bloody job in the world.”

I am quickly coming to the realisation that it just might be.