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Is there life after a journalism course? The Coventry Class of 2009 – James Robinson

At the end of the academic year John Mair, senior lecturer in broadcasting at Coventry University, asked just what would happen to his undergraduate journalism class of 2009. In the face of the biggest media recession for many a generation where do they go? Is there life after a journalism course? A few months on, we are re-visiting the students.

James Robinson graduated this summer with a degree in journalism and media and is now pursuing a career in PR.

After graduating with a degree in journalism and media this summer, it quickly hit me that a career in ‘journalism’ wasn’t for me. A wasted three years? No. The skills I learnt have helped me embark on the career in PR and Comms that I wanted to pursue.

With the huge financial debt hovering over every recent graduate, the initial hunt is for a job that pays.  Well, this is not easy, especially in the economic downturn which is still causing havoc across all industries.

The searching is generally the easy bit. Trying to stand out on a piece of paper is really tough and doing enough to secure an interview is near on impossible. I boast an e-mail inbox that has 48 ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letters of reply.

It’s safe to say that it became a demoralising task. Knowing that you put in three years of hard work and then there is nothing for you to do after, was tough both emotionally and financially for me.

I then decided that the relevant work experience I had might not be sufficient for a permanent job in journalism. I then starting researching internships in PR. This proved more fruitful: companies suddenly began to notice me and actually invite me in to meet them. After searching, applying and the odd interview my dream opportunity in PR and Comms suddenly arrived.

In the space of two weeks, I applied, had an interview and was offered a position as communications assistant at the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust. This six month internship, already over a month in, has given me the opportunity to show the organisational skills I already obtained from my time at Coventry University.

My job, which I am thoroughly enjoying, consists of many PR and Comms tasks: writing press releases on different events that either the Trust or Dame Kelly have attended and ringing up journalists to ask them about a story or event we are holding and if they would like to come and write a feature.

Working for the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust has sent me all across country: Bognor Regis, Manchester, Portsmouth, Liverpool. And the list is growing.

My main project at the moment is organising the entire local and national PR for our Charity Runners who are running in the Great South Run in Portsmouth at the end of October. We have nine runners taking part and my job is to create local and national ‘buzz’ around them.

I think taking this internship was the perfect opportunity for me. I will gain experience in working for a high profile figure like Dame Kelly, learn valuable PR and Comms skills that will set me up, for what will hopefully be a rewarding career.

James Robinson can be contacted via kcr [at] dkhlegacytrust.org