In Alumni, Career in Journalism, Top Story


Brighton Journalist Works alumna Emma Laurence., now working as a freelance journalist based in Dubai

Brighton Journalist Works alumna Emma Laurence, now working as a freelance journalist based in Dubai

Since completing her NCTJ Certificate in Journalism at Brighton Journalist Works in 2009, Emma Laurence has worked for some of the biggest names in the magazine industry.

She reflects on her seven-year career in journalism.

Where have you worked since finishing your NCTJ at Brighton Journalist Works?

After completing a subbing internship at The Mail on Sunday’s You magazine at the end of the course, I freelanced there before moving on to online chief sub roles at both Net-A-Porter and Sky.

I then joined Red magazine, where I was promoted to deputy chief sub after a year, and given lots of writing opportunities along the way.

I am now a freelance journalist based in Dubai.



Red Magazine, January 2012 front cover, featuring Nigella Lawson

Describe your average day

Dubai is four hours ahead, so I make the most of the morning head-start by firing off emails and scanning the web for ideas – then, after a few hours at the pool, the afternoons are all about writing.

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you while working on a story?

I found a workout I actually enjoyed while researching a feature – never thought I would see the day.

What are your favourite stories you have worked on?

I love writing magazine features – from funny first-persons to thoughtful memoirs – and recently got to interview rising fitness star The Body Coach, which was pretty cool.

He wrote on Instagram that my piece on him was “without a doubt my favourite article to date”.

What work are you particularly proud of?

A column I wrote for Red on alternative New Year’s resolutions. I had a day to turn it around and the response from readers was overwhelming. It is amazing to think your words can actually make a difference.

What is your happiest memory at BJW?

Probably doing the vox pops. Taking real people’s voices and threading them together to create my own story was not only very satisfying but a lot of fun.

What skills did you learn at BJW that you still use today?

Fundamentally, to keep it simple, whether subbing, writing, or applying for a job.

It is where I learned the importance of a one-page CV, which in my opinion is vital in this industry.

What advice would you give to aspiring journalists?

Persistence is everything! I applied to Red twice and was rejected twice, but because I kept in touch with the chief sub and she eventually gave me a chance.

I took a pay cut and a demotion to work on a title I believed in, and it paid off. I am now doing the kind of work I could only have dreamed of a few years ago.

Have confidence in your words. Never use two when one will do.

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