How To Become A Magazine Journalist - An interview With Alyson Lowe

Name: Alyson Lowe 

Age: 22

Degree: BA English at Durham University

Current job title: Digital Assistant (Editorial) at You&Your Wedding Magazine

Current workplace: Immediate Media

Career/long term goal: To be digital editor of a large consumer title

What made you pick this job?

I chose to apply to work on theYou & Your Wedding brand because it is a highly respected and influential title. The role was also on the digital side of things, which is where I have inadvertently gained a lot more experience, so I essentially thought I could do a good job. Also, having bought BBC magazines last year, Immediate Media is a fantastic company to work for.

How did you get your position?

After reams of applications, a few solid internships with well-respected titles and consistently building up my writing portfolio, I gradually began to get interviews for jobs I actually wanted. I found the job online, was invited for an interview, and was offered the job a few hours later.

What skills do you feel are the most important in your chosen line of work?

Tenacity, integrity, determination, strength of character… to name just a few. Without beating around the bush, this is by no means an easy world to get into. And once you’re in, that’s when the hard work really starts.

In terms of real ‘skills’, my natural creativity (I was one of those arty kids at school) has stood me in great stead. A flair for writing is, obviously, a pre-requisite of the job – as is the diligence to check your work meticulously, and a wide vocabulary. The immaculate grammar and punctuation skills I learnt throughout my degree course have been invaluable.

How is your job developing these skills further?

My days are dominated with writing about wedding venues; essentially what I do at the moment is more like commercial copywriting than investigative journalism in its purest sense. I know that I was hired because of my way with words, but regularly writing thousands of words each week has really stretched the boundaries of my skills, and I now seek new and innovative ways to use language. To tick the good old ‘transferable skills’ box, I also carry out detailed research, set my own targets and deadlines, and frequently check-in with everyone else on the project.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your working life, including the application process, and how did you overcome it?

For me personally it was having the self-belief to do what I do. When I was at University, I desperately wanted to write and get involved with the student journalism scene, but didn’t, for the simple reason I thought I was rubbish. Instead, I wrote short stories and feature articles that never made it beyond my hard drive. When I saw The Daily Touch was being established, my boyfriend persuaded me to apply. I was offered the fashion writer position where the continued success of my articles began to drag my confidence off the floor. From then on, writing took over my life, and I completed work experience and internships with BlissMore!NowTeenNow and Woman&Home magazines. The vast majority of this work was unpaid, so I juggled a 30-hour-a-week job and these simultaneously. Having the stamina, determination & belief to keep going is essential.

Is your job helping you to achieve your long term goal?

Yes. I work at a fantastic, progressive company that although young, is rapidly becoming a big player in the consumer magazine world. I have gained exposure to the wide variety of elements that come together to make a successful publication – some I didn’t know anything about – like product development, web development, digital marketing, multi-platform management, and so on…

And finally, do you have any advice for students and graduates reading this article?

On a professional level, don’t be afraid to go in new directions and embrace new opportunities. It’s obviously important to focus on your long-term goals, but my journey has exposed me to many industries that I didn't know even existed when I was still at Uni.

On a slightly more philosophical note … you can prepare and research all you like, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to love what you do. If not, your determination and ambition could start to falter and, in such a competitive industry, employers will instantly see through a candidate who isn’t 100% dedicated. The old saying really is true though: love your job, and you’ll never do a day’s work in your life…

If anyone has any questions about the world of magazine journalism, I will aim to answer them as best as I can. Tweet me at @ally_lowe, or find me on

Would you like to write for The Daily Touch like Alyson did? Seize the day & apply here.


© 2016 GradTouch. Terms | Privacy