Intended for healthcare professionals

Student Careers

Working in the media 2: Getting a foot in the door

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/sbmj.0406240 (Published 01 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:0406240
  1. Graham Easton, assistant editor1
  1. 1Careers Focus, BMJ and senior producer, BBC

Even when you're raring to go, the media world can seem like a closed shop. Graham Easton and others offer some tips on getting a foot in the door

Getting into the media is one of life's catch 22 situations: the more you've published or broadcast, the better your chances, but it's hard to get published or broadcast in the first place. Infuriatingly for the enthusiastic newcomer, you do need some luck. But there are things that you can do to help yourself. And perhaps more important, there are some traps for the unwary which are worth avoiding.

Associations and organisations

You may or may not be naturally drawn to “organisations,” but they can offer the perfect opportunity to meet and learn from people who share your interests and ambitions. Over coffee or a beer, pick the brains of the doctor who's already succeeded in doing what you want to do; swap tips with a colleague who's in the same boat as you; keep a look out for any interesting work; write articles for their in-house magazines.

Several thriving organisations exist--some devoted mostly to writing, some to broadcasting, and some to both (see Student BMJ.com). Most circulate newsletters or magazines, often flagging up possible work opportunities, and many hold regular meetings, workshops, and conferences. For example, the Society of Medical Writers' annual conference in April 2004 is on “The Medical Writer: Responsibility, Censorship, and the Call to Publish,” and twice a year it publishes its own magazine, the Writer. The Guild of Health Writers recently held an evening seminar in London on campaigning health journalism, with speakers including three experienced journalists and a media law specialist.

Work experience

Just as a clinical attachment can be the first step to getting a substantive NHS post, work experience at a newspaper or a radio station can …

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