Writing for Magazines: our advice and guidance.

Following a comment I received yesterday I decided to put out an advice blog about writing today.

Here’s the thing, I here the words “I have no experience” too often. Some of the best journalists I’ve met had little to no experience, I started with no experience. Every writer out there regardless of what they write started because someone liked something they wrote and gave them an opportunity.

Don’t get me wrong if you want a job as a journalist with a newspaper or magazine that accredited qualification is essential and invaluable if you work in news journalism it teaches you the legal framework what can and cannot be done as well as how the world and journalism works. But let’s take blog writing for instance every business has a blog these days it’s basically a conversation, the blog is a conversation you have with your public, your supporters much like this conversation I am having with you right now. Reviews contain certain elements but can be learned quite quickly by reading reviews by other journalists brings me to my number one tip.

1. Read as much as possible i.e if you want to write for a local community magazine read all their articles.

Before I wrote my first review I read every article Carl Marsh – Cardiff Times/Buzz Magazine had written to date, then I read articles from the two other journalists at Cardiff Times. (I tend to extremes, but you get the idea.).

2. Develop your own style, people are likely to remember you for the things you write. There’s no right or wrong here just be you. I was called “you wrote that “Hair” review” for months in Cardiff. (Hair the musical, I am rubbish at hairdressing.)

3. There are straightforward book that teach you the basis on writing reviews, features etc I will put recommendations at the end. At my very first interview for a job in a media office at Journal Publishing Plc in West Midlands, the manager interviewing me said “I give everyone a chance, but you never know who’s going to be good at this job” and it’s true, it stayed with me through the years and I adopted it as a sort of mantra in the end.

4. You will learn more from practical experience and colleagues, than you will from a book. Honestly I am starting to practice things now a colleague suggested a year ago. and I constantly and annoyingly picking Rob Turner’s (Reynard City) brain on stuff.

5. Write about what you know, start with something your confident with you may just fall in love with the theme.

6. It’s about trying, editors tend to be busy people and therefore are quite straightforward: they will let you know politely (hopefully) if they think its not for you. and if you’re lucky enough to work in a media office, remember not all media offices are the same, I can remember walking out on one media office declaring I would only write freelance from then onwards only to walk into another one 2 weeks later and love it.

Oh if you should write and love it and decide to do a qualification research the accreditations each section of journalism has there own body for accreditation.

Resources:

Feature Writing for Journalists by Sharon Wheeler –

Available from amazon.co.uk £10.71

Writing for Journalists by Hicks Wynford , Sally Adams et al –

Available from amazon.co.uk £15.21

National Union of Journalists Code of Conduct available here: https://www.nuj.org.uk/about/nuj-code/ – I use this as a guideline its mainly common sense.

http://www.issu.com – read magazines for free.

You can read the Norwich Nights Magazine blog regularly.

The message of this is if you want to write just go for it.

P.S and just ask, have fun. The best journalists have a natural curiosity about everything around them.

Melissa Compton (Editor)

2 comments

  1. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my agreement. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

    Like

    1. Hi, first of all, you need to understand the concept of fair use, also check your sources it’s not uncommon for something to be sent to more than one publication blog, magazines etc, the copyright symbol is easily added to the bottom of any document as well but essentially as long as you publish the article first you can legally prove you have the copyright. Is it popping up word for word, in the exact same format and are there any regular offenders in terms of where it’s popping up. If it is popping up on a particular site/blog maybe contact them and offer to do a guest blog which may deter them from copying any content, I would start with the copyright symbol at the bottom of each article you can do this easily on MSword just goggle it. If someone really wants to copy your article you will not stop them, you can use legal action as long as you have the funds to back that up.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: