Getting into student journalism at university

By Jenna Colaco


The student newspaper seemed like a daunting prospect for me when I was in first year. I was worried to pitch (put forward) my own ideas for stories to someone I didn’t know for a long time.

I didn’t believe in my own capabilities at the start of the year. I saw many posts advertising for editors for magazines and newspapers on Facebook but I was too scared to apply to be part of a team, I didn’t think I had enough experience.

My first experience of writing at university was writing simple articles for an online education platform which I had to fill a google form to apply for. It seemed much less intimidating than applying for a newspaper or magazine team.

It really helped build my confidence in writing and by the end of the year, I felt ready to write my first article for one of the student newspapers.

I wish I had the confidence to do it sooner. The editors are students and are very approachable. It is also a very straightforward process to pitch an article.

A few tips on pitching an article:

1) Outline very concisely what the focus of the piece will be and your main points

2) If you want to interview anyone, or base your idea off a book or academic study, mention this in the pitch

3) Check the name of the person you are pitching to and send them an email or FB message

Sometimes the student newspapers commission writers to write ideas the editors have brainstormed. You can then message the editors who made the post and tell them that you want to write about the topic they suggested.

The best way to have access to these ‘content calls’ from editors is to join the Facebook groups at the start of term. It is usually as easy as typing the name of the student newspaper and the word ‘group’ or ‘contributors’ to find it. If not, you can just email the student newspaper and ask for a link to the groups, or ask your college parents about it. You could even ask about it at a (virtual) freshers’ fair.

You don’t even need to be an English student to write for a student newspaper or magazine. Student journalism at Oxford is a hobby for many students, regardless of their degree subject.

For any freshers thinking of getting involved in student journalism— give it a try. If you always think that someone else has more experience than you, you get stuck in a loop of not applying for anything and never gaining experience.

Many students come to university and get involved in new things, even with no prior experience. Student journalism is just like that, you can try it and decide if it is something you enjoy or not. If you want to learn how to edit and format a newspaper or magazine, fill out the application to join the team at the end of every term.

You could even create your own publication!

Here are a few Oxford student publications that I read:

Newspapers

- The Oxford Student

- Cherwell

- The Oxford Blue

Magazines

- The Isis

- Common Ground Journal

- Oxford ACM (African Caribbean Society magazine)

- Onyx Magazine

- Jericho Arts Review

- The Oxford Review of Books