It was Wednesday 22nd November and I had had no previous experience with Cosmo magazine so my expectations were high; this is one of the highest selling glossy magazines in the UK, after all. Upon entering HQ, the only thing I could see was rose gold. Pretty soon I had made up my mind on the establishment just from seeing this colour before a single word was spoken. After being given some interestingly flavoured gin and tonic, not my favourite anyway, I realised that the setting was entirely new for me. I had never experienced such a formal environment trying so hard not to be: it is like if you suddenly heard an elderly relative using slang and really trying to relate to you, that kind of uncomfortable. The team I was “meeting” consisted of the Editor in Chief, Beauty Director, Digital Director, and the Associate Editor who all shared their stories and wisdom of getting into the journalism industry. Despite my negativity, it was interesting to hear from a completely different perspective of journalism to one I had been given before.
My only prior knowledge of the industry originates from Vogue, where I spent a weekend learning about how the magazine is made. I was told to work hard and follow my dreams and I would expect to wear Elie Saab to every formal event I’m invited to. The idealistic view of my future career was put back into reality – probably for the best – by Cosmo. Although I completely agree that hopes should be grounded, I do not believe in lowering aspirations to get there. They told one young audience member that if she does not have a job after three internships she needs to ‘reconsider [her] life choices’. Inspiring.
When they had finished promoting the introvert (and shaming the extrovert) they eventually gave out advice for young writers like myself. So for you, reader, here are Cosmo’s top tips for getting into the journalism industry:
- Don’t stay in a job for more than four years because boredom and regularity will likely set in and creativity will stop. (Personally I’m not sure I agree with this one because if you’re in a stimulating job the creativity will not run out.)
- Be prepared to work for nothing and to start from the very bottom.
- To write an interesting feature, read side stories on newspapers and use friends for good sources of stories. Also remember, opinion articles are not feature articles. Good articles have a crisis, struggle, and resolution to tell a story to the reader.
I know that I must work hard to get the job I want. But I did not find the Cosmo team’s white feminism to be inspiring at all and I was made to feel quite uncomfortable in the atmosphere. Not to mention the fact that I was not given anything interesting in my goodie bag!