How to start a career in journalism….

In order to break into journalism in England I was forced to become a financial journalist on leaving university. This was not, as you can imagine, my natural environment. I worked for the gripping title ‘Trade Finance Magazine’ which shortly after I joined became ‘Project and Trade Finance Magazine’. You can imagine my relief. I am still unsure of the difference between the two.

Anyway, for ten years I struggled on, despite an inauspicious start. I got back from my first ever meeting to find my editor fielding a call from the person I had interviewed who had called to ask her why she had sent “this bimbo who knows less than nothing about trade finance” to interview him.

Finally I gave up journalism altogether, only to reinvent myself as the Sunday Times French Mistress and lifestyle journalist years later.

I have now broken into French journalism which is extremely exciting. Barring the obvious problem that I am unable to write French I think it will go swimmingly. I am a columnist (which is rather like going straight in at number one) for a magazine called Santé.

My first column is Me and my foot cream. I feel I have finally found my level….

Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008

8 thoughts on “How to start a career in journalism….

  1. go for it helena! well done! will you have to write it in french? i’ve just finished to hell in high heels and found it really enjoyable and helpful(i am 59). but please will you write that book about italian women!i lived in rome for many years and i’m still trying to work out why i can never look as good as the women i saw in italy…even the older ones !

  2. Hi Linda
    I will write it in English and my lovely friend Jacques who translated Two Lipsticks and a Lover will translate it. I have been thinking about the Italian book (as has the publisher) but we will have to see how To Hell goes first. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Meanwhile I am working on a novel.
    Hx

  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself: I well recall that seminal piece you wrote on the dutch flower market. “You have to get up early to visit the dutch flower market in Antwerp…” That was the intro. Can hardly be bettered!

  4. H,
    I have had a week of sending off pitches into the cyber-space dustbin but I did get a reply from Easyjet Magazine! Lovely Piers the Editor there decided that my excellent, funny piece (ok my words) on the Swiss and their recycling habits as seen from the frontlines of a Brit living in a Swiss village was too “observational” (er yes..funny that) and “chatty”.
    Do you think I should break it to him that he is working for Easyjet?

    See http://julesritter.com/?p=212 and please let me know whether Piers is right.

    I’d take a column on foot cream any day.

    Jules Ritter

  5. I gave up sending query letters in a few years ago as the bloody letter and/or proposal was harder to write than the piece itself. Well done for persevering!

  6. When I looked at the cover, I thought your inaugural piece might be “Je suis bipolaire”.
    Just kidding!

    Greetings from sunny (not) Seattle. I’m still doing that facial fitness routine.

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