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GQ – Design Assistant Intern

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Location: London

Closing date: Ongoing

GQ is seeking a Design Assistant Intern to join its award-winning art desk on a six-month, fixed-term basis.

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Celebrity Contributors: Right Or Wrong?

Kate Moss Vogue Cover

Kate Moss has graced the cover of Vogue many times – now she edits for it. Pic: Eloisegiles

Student journalist Anna Fearon explores the ramifications of a very recent phenomenon: the celebrity ‘guest editor’…

Last month, James Corden stepped into the building of tabloid newspaper, The Sun. He wasn’t there to be interviewed – he was guest-editing the newspaper’s Friday edition in aid of Sport Relief. This was a great opportunity for the newspaper to rope in our favourite Gavin and Stacey character for some journo work – and Corden didn’t disappoint. He put himself on page three in place of the usual topless model and brought us an interview with Prime Minister David Cameron instead.

Whilst this may have been for charity, it isn’t the first time a publication has hired a celebrity to work for a magazine. Kate Moss joined Vogue as a contributing fashion editor in 2013, with her first assignment being to style model Daria Werbowy for a photoshoot. Of course, aside from her obvious celebrity status, it makes sense to have Moss on board from an editorial perspective. After working in the fashion industry for so many years, she obviously must have a lot of inside knowledge.

However, I think it would be safe to say that Kate Moss won’t be working the same long hours as the rest of the editorial staff. She won’t be in the office of Vogue House on a daily basis, sharing the stress of her colleagues as they prepare the magazine for publication. The fact is she’s a busy lady whose modelling career takes her across the globe, so there’s only so much she can do as a contributor.

The magazine responded to Moss’ appointment on its website by saying, “She will be a hands-on editor, joining the rest of the Vogue fashion team of stylists and working with her choice of photographers and models.” But how realistic is this?

Do celebrities really deserve to get such a job title when they have no former journalism experience and don’t put in the same hours that the in-house staff do? Getting celebrities involved in magazines can be good PR for a publication – but I can’t help thinking that it’s a kick in the teeth to journalists who have got the training and spent their career working hard and, in their early years, probably for nothing.

Getting into the industry is no easy feat and once you are there it doesn’t get any easier. News is 24/7, deadlines are short and standards are high. It’s not a career for the feint hearted. When a celebrity waltzes into an office and gets a role in an editorial team just because of their status it is certainly understandable that those who have worked hard to get into journalism should feel frustrated.

Of course, that isn’t to say that celebrity editors don’t work well as a concept. I once picked up a copy of US Glamour in 2012 which Victoria Beckham guest-edited. She then went on to edit the 2013 Christmas edition of Vogue Paris (naturally she was on the front cover).

Her contribution is invaluable to fashion journalists looking to gain an insight into the influences on her brand. It’s very hard to get interviews with stars like Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss. Public announcements from them are rarity, so at least if they edit magazines we can gain access to their outlooks.

But as journalists what should we do? Should we be utilising the stature of celebrities and employing them to work alongside us, or do we have a duty to ensure that only journalists edit publications? Our free press faces a real threat if more celebrities were to join editorial teams.

Imagine Hollywood A-Listers editing our broadsheets and tabloids – surely the outcome would be that nothing derogatory about them or their friends would ever be printed. Whilst I accept that there are many intelligent, cultured celebrities out there, I am not convinced that the right place for them is to play a key role within the editorial process.

What do you think? Should celebrities be editing magazines and tabloids? If you have an opinion, leave a comment below! Anna Fearon is Magazine Journalism MA student at Cardiff University. You can follow her on Twitter @Fearon91.

How I Became Editor Of FashionBeans

Luke Todd

Luke Todd being interviewed at a Sennheiser photo shoot in Berlin

At just 22, Luke Todd has already made rapid progress in his journalism career by being appointed editor of a leading men’s fashion website. He spills the beans on his journey…

I began my career path around five years ago when I finished giving every educator I came into contact with high blood pressure. I found school quite frustrating – it always got in the way of getting attention. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, just that I wanted recognition for doing it.

While I sat trying to figure out my future, I found myself constantly flicking through magazines. Then I realised that THEY were my thing. Towards the end of my sixth form career I was skipping classes and getting an hour-long train into London to intern at FRONT Magazine.

Having finally found my calling, I came up against the next hurdle — acknowledging the harsh reality that it might be too late for me. With only two A-levels under my belt, no university would touch me. So I took a year out and spent it making money as a builder’s labourer (a fact that still amuses everyone I meet to this day). I decided I would use this time to get some work experience in journalism under my belt and try again the following year.

I saw an advert on FashionBeans, which was at that time my now-Editor-in-Chief’s personal blog. He was looking for someone to come on and help with content. I applied and was one of the first to join the team – unpaid, but I didn’t mind.

When it came round to applying for university for the second time, it was déjà vu. No university would touch me with only two A-levels. Fortunately, things went my way when the University of Lincoln’s School of Journalism offered me the chance to study a foundation degree in community journalism, with the opportunity to prove myself and move up to the full BA programme. It’s an offer I was, and am to this day, eternally grateful for.

I did indeed progress to the BA programme and managed to graduate with first class honours. I met inspirational tutors who became inspirational friends, and made inspirational friends who are now also inspirational contacts. If it hadn’t been for the truly amazing (now Head of School) Deborah Wilson giving me that one chance, who knows where I’d be with my two A-levels now.

Not long after leaving I applied for a job at ShortList Magazine. I remember spending two days creating the best portfolio of work I could and making sure it was perfect before sending directly to the desk of an Editor there. 

I didn’t get the job but they did get in touch to ask if I would like to come in and help out with MODE, which is the magazine’s bi-annual style publication. I jumped at the chance to be associated with such a name. Within three months I was made Fashion & Grooming Coordinator, working across both the ShortList and ShortList MODE titles.

I’ll be honest though – I never thought I’d end up in fashion. I love clothes, I love the heritage of menswear and I love that we live in the home of Savile Row and the three-piece suit – but I don’t live for reviewing every collection or watching every show. I also love writing in a news tone but don’t want to report on the latest councillor’s meeting. So I found a happy medium: menswear-focused stories with a strong news tone.

So what’s my advice for making it? It is a tough industry to crack – but so are many others. My first tip for making it in fashion would be the same as if you asked me how to make it in the B2B magazine industry or the building game or as a taxidermist: Be polite, work relentlessly hard and do even the smallest job very well.

It’s also important not to let the rejection (or even lack of response) get you down. Just move on to the next thing. Knock on enough doors and one will open, or knock on the same one enough that the person on the other side gets annoyed and lets you in.

Learning to live on a few hours sleep is also a useful trait. All those late (sometimes non-existent) nights in the library writing a dissertation don’t go away if you really love what you do. They just translate into late (sometimes non-existent) nights in the office editing copy or setting up stories.

For some people, journalism at university can do more than teach you how to order facts, present quotes or send off a freedom of information request. It can show you how to open up, step out of your comfort zone and talk to people — it’s how all the best opportunities present themselves.

Luke Todd is the editor of one of the UK’s leading online style guides for men, FashionBeans. You can follow Luke on Twitter @LukeToddUK

Travel Writing: An Intern’s Experiences

Hannah Ricketts in Thailand

A keen traveller – Hannah explores the delights of Khao San Road in Bangkok

It may not have been as thrilling as backpacking in Thailand, but Hannah Ricketts’ travel mag work experience was still eye-opening…

If you like to write and like to travel, you have probably asked yourself – will anyone pay me to take a holiday and write an exciting article about it?

I somehow managed to charm my way into getting a two-week placement at Rough Guides, one of the most renowned travel guide publishers (and by ‘charm’ I mean, repeatedly sent them e-mails until they realised that I wouldn’t go away). I will tell you right now, this work experience was worth my harassing.

Everyone was so quirky and interesting. The men all had full and bountiful beards and no one was wearing a suit. Everyone had been to Mumbai, Lima, Paris or Berlin. There was a table where people would just leave snacks for anyone to enjoy. This, I thought to myself, was the type of snacky/beardy/travelly vibe that I would love to be involved with.

Granted, it was mainly admin stuff that they let me do; there was an abundance of checking for spelling mistakes and sorting out filing cupboards, but I didn’t mind. I never expected to be sent to Zambia in the brief two weeks I was there.

I did however get the chance to go out and take a few photos for the London guide, as well as being able to sit in on a conference call with their American office to decide on the front cover for some of the new issues.

Despite how busy everyone seemed to be, the editors took the time to answer the sack-load of questions I had about how to get into travel writing.

I met a lovely guy called Bearded-Neil (to his face he was just Neil) whom I subjected to a barrage of countless e-mails beginning with “Hey Neil, I have another question”.

He was extremely helpful, telling me he had done a French degree and started out selling publishing rights of DK books (which owns Rough Guides) to French publishing houses. From there, he got a job as a writer, going on updating trips for their “budget series” in Europe, South America and Central america.

After several years of this, he heard of an opening as one of the Rough Guide editors. Since editing for the Guide, he’s had the chance to go on updating trips to the likes of Panama, Bolivia, Honduras, France and Turkey for the new editions. It was great to learn from Neil that there is really no set route into the travel writing business.

From my short but wonderful experience at Rough Guides I realised that, although it might be difficult, it is not impossible to make a career out of travel writing.

I understand now that it is important to remain open and have more than one career goal – as travel writing is viciously competitive as everyone wants to go on holiday for a living – but it isn’t too far fetched to dream of combining all of the wonderful things that you would love to do in life and make it into an actual career.

Do you have experiences of travel writing that you would like to share? Get in touch with us on Twitter @Journograds and ‘like’ us on Facebook if so!

Fashion Journalism: An Intern’s Thoughts

Hannah Ricketts

Hannah McKellar-Ricketts is an aspiring journalist and has interned for various magazines

Interns shouldn’t let one bad experience put them off pursuing a journalism career, as Hannah McKellar-Ricketts explains…

My expectations of being a fashion intern were free clothes, sexy models trotting about everywhere and watching sexy models trotting about everywhere whilst wearing my free clothes.

To my dismay I soon discovered the world of fashion writing would not involve all of these wonderful things.

My foray into fashion journalism began when I saw an ad for a features intern on twitter. The company (who shall remain nameless) wanted someone for three to five days a week for a three month period.

I was on my second gap year and was working full-time, but I decided to apply. If I put on my poshest voice and shook their hands firmly, then surely they would give me the position. They did.

The internship was unpaid (here’s one we’ve heard before) and they didn’t pay expenses either. The office was pretty small so the editors left it up to the interns to do the returns.

If you aren’t sure what a return is, it is exactly what it says on the tin; traipsing around London to return any fashion items that have been used on shoots for the magazine.

I did it once and never volunteered again, no matter how much they hinted. I was there to build contacts, get advice and gain experience from this place. I was not there to be a postman.

Everyone knows that you’ve got to do your fair share of grinning and bearing when people ask for tea, but sometimes I felt they were taking advantage.

It wasn’t all bad though. I was there during fashion week and despite the fact that I so often had to inwardly roll my eyes every time an outfit was described as “so ah-maaay-zing” or “yah yah just fant-aaah-stic”, I still had a great time.

Getting free tickets to a various shows, exhibitions and screenings was really exciting for me. You can really understand why someone might become nuts about fashion after being front-row at a catwalk.

Even if this was not an internship I particularly enjoyed overall, at least I understand now that fashion is not my forte. From this experience, I am even more determined than ever that my real writing career, when I eventually find it, will be well and truly ah-maaay-zing.

Are you looking to break into fashion journalism? Post a comment below if you have experiences you’d like to share. Follow us on Twitter @Journograds and ‘like’ us on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest job and internships

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