Deputy Editor, When Saturday Comes
MA Magazine Journalism, University of Sheffield, 2010–11
Over the years I've done everything from sub-editing, commissioning, writing and interviewing to T-shirt folding... It's pretty much my dream job, and I don't think I would've ever got it without my MA from the University of Sheffield
Towards the end of my MA in Magazine Journalism I found two weeks away from our final project to do some work experience at a small, independent football magazine called When Saturday Comes. It's six and a half years later… and I'm still here.
From joining as publishing assistant I have clawed my way up to deputy editor, and am now also editor of Kickaround, our brand new monthly football magazine for ages 7–12. Over the years I've done everything from sub-editing, commissioning, writing and interviewing to plenty of T-shirt folding.
I love working in a small business where I get to be involved in all aspects of the magazine's production. It's pretty much my dream job, and I don't think I would've ever got it without my MA from the University of Sheffield.
One of the many great things about the course was that it gave me such a breadth of knowledge of the magazine industry. It wasn't just focused on writing, interviewing and news gathering, though that obviously formed an essential part of what we did. It also taught me sub-editing, InDesign layout and digital skills which meant I could be adaptable when applying for a real-life job.
The chance to put these skills into practice by creating a complete magazine from scratch, including everything from business plan to finished product, has proved invaluable throughout my career, as I have dealt with the different aspects of magazine production. It also gave me the versatility to do other freelance work alongside my main job, such as subbing shifts on The Guardian's sports desk.
In an interesting turn of events, one of my MA projects was actually working on the development of a children's cricket magazine. It's not something I planned to do but the research that I did during my course actually proved to be a very useful starting point when exploring the possibility of launching Kickaround – you just never know what the future holds.
Alongside the more practical skills it provided, the course also offered something even greater – a sense of camaraderie. From late nights in the newsroom to intense sessions forcing each other not to give up shorthand or flicking through Mark Hanna's immensely useful media law handouts, we all supported each other and pushed other coursemates to produce the best work we could. This was, of course, all overseen by Yvonne Illsley and Peter Genower, whose experience and dedication to the art of magazine making and good journalism really rubbed off on the rest of us. Their support throughout the course was incredible.
That togetherness has not gone away, either. The majority of us are still in contact, and many of us still find time from working in our various areas of journalism to meet up – after a few pints the conversation invariably comes back to our various MA adventures.
I don't know what I'd be doing if I hadn't taken that course, but I doubt it would be as satisfying.