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LAMMA 2021

LAMMA 2021

Olivia Midgley - Farmers Guardian Deputy Editor

‘I had no intention of pursuing a career in agricultural journalism, but when I saw Farmers Guardian was recruiting for a reporter based in London, I knew I had to go for it.’ 

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Olivia Midgley, Farmers Guardian Deputy Editor
Olivia Midgley, Farmers Guardian Deputy Editor

I remember being 13 and deciding I wanted to be a journalist. We had been discussing careers at school and my friends were looking through a book of vocations and the salaries attached to them.


Lawyers, doctors, vets, RAF pilot etc. I excitedly looked up ‘journalist’ and saw the starting salary I could expect was £11,000 (this was the 90s).


Horrified but not deterred I read what I needed to do to become one.


‘Gain work experience, get a byline’, would be key it said.


After looking up ‘byline’ in the dictionary (Google had not arrived yet) I wondered how I would attain all this.


How do you get work experience when you have no idea what you are doing and who would take the risk on publishing someone young and inexperienced?


Luckily for me the news editor of my local paper was willing to give me a shot.


I submitted stories to her on and off over the years and she published what she could.


When I was 16 she offered me a week’s work experience and to my amazement it was paid.


I did a lot of unpaid work experience too, writing for various newspapers and magazines in the north west of England.


While I was studying for a journalism degree at the University of Sheffield, I kept up my work experience, writing for entertainment magazines in Leeds and Sheffield.


When I went for my first job at the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group, it was this experience the editor said had stood me apart from the other candidates.


I worked at the group for four years, gaining tonnes of experience and friends for life, as well as my qualifications to become a senior reporter and move up a pay bracket (NCTJ, NCE including 100wpm shorthand).


I had no intention of pursuing a career in agricultural journalism, but when I saw Farmers Guardian was recruiting for a reporter based in London, I knew I had to go for it.


I grew up on my parents’ smallholding in Yorkshire and was familiar with FG, so luckily for me everything fell into place.


This month marks 10 years since I joined the team. The time has flown which I think means I have enjoyed it!


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Top tips:

  • Speak to people who work in your chosen field and garner as much knowledge from them as you can, they will be willing to help and advise you.
  • Do your research, find the best training colleges and courses and what you need to eventually get a job.
  • Be prepared for and listen to criticism – it is the only way to be a better writer.
  • If you do want to go into journalism, check out the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and if it is agriculture you want to specialise in, get in touch with the Guild of Agricultural Journalists (GAJ) which offers an excellent range of training and skills workshops, awards, networking and incredible travel opportunities.

Watch the video: #ThisIsAgriculture

As part of National Careers Week #ThisIsAgriculture showcases agriculture at the cutting edge of modern technology and at the forefront of innovations in key areas, such as IT, forensics, engineering, automation and design.

 

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