As a student studying Journalism in Leeds, I’ve quickly realised that getting opportunities in this exciting yet competitive industry means I may have to search a little harder to land my dream job than I’d have to in the capital. For as long as I can remember, creative jobs in Media, Journalism and PR have all been very London-centric — and for obvious reasons. The accessibility of contacts, events and jobs that London has to offer means that the road to success is ordinarily much smoother when you live in the capital, but I’d like to emphasis that there are myriad benefits to beginning your creative journey up North, too.
The North of England is gradually becoming a place which encourages the growth of creative individuals: Media city in Manchester is continuing to expand, creating job opportunities for Northerners, and Channel 4’s choice to build their newest headquarters in Leeds shows that companies are beginning to realise that it’s about time the rest of the UK had a chance to prosper in this business.
To shine and stand out when you’re not in the capital, it’s important to make use of your city’s resources, no matter how small they may seem. As a way of establishing myself as a journalist, I regularly check Facebook and Eventbrite to find out about relevant events, talks and workshops I can attend that can enhance my degree, or even work as networking opportunities.
Paying attention to local events and issues can give you a leg up in journalism, and a completely different perspective to someone living in London.
Camille Stanley, a 21-year-old blogger and writer studying in Cardiff, told me: “Honing my journalistic skills outside of London has meant I’ve had to be more creative with finding outlets for my interests and often I’ve been exposed to local bands, issues, experiences that are unique to smaller cities.”
It’s also important to familiarise yourself with who and what is thriving in your area and ask yourself why it’s working. Networking and building connections with people in the same field is hugely beneficial for learning new things and gathering support, as well as seeing what’s not yet being covered. Speaking to Atalya Alexis, a Leeds University student who founded her own zine, she told me: “There are so many more creatives out there than you think that are trying to do the same as you, so networking and building relationships is really important. Then, find your niche – something that makes you stand out.”
In the digital age we’re living in, it’s crucial, as a creative, to take advantage of social media. Roshan Gurung, a 20 year old studying in Southampton who regularly posts his music on Soundcloud, explained: “Social media has allowed me to collaborate with people who don’t even live in the same country as me. I’ve been able to work with other artists who have bigger platforms than I do, which has allowed my music to garner more attention.” The beauty of the online world and the possibility of freelancing means we don’t have to be tied down to one place, or work solely with people nearby, so your net is really as wide as you cast it.
Speaking to different creatives on the subject, it’s clear that living outside of the big smoke doesn’t mean the end of the world when it comes to kick-starting your career. It’s important to remember that living in London isn’t a substitute for a great personality or a strong work ethic, and if your drive is there and creative flow present, you’ll succeed no matter where you are.
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