Nearly two weeks ago now, I got in touch with journalist/blogger Hannah Beth Healy to learn more about working as a journalist in the Irish media. Her.ie has always been a huge influence, (on my Twitter feed anyway), so when their very own Megan Roantree agreed to be a part of my investigation into the Irish media, I jumped at the chance!
Q1 Why did you become a journalist?
I wanted to become a journalist since I was about 12, only I didn’t realise that what I wanted to do was called journalism. I fell in love with the likes of Kiss Magazine, Bliss and Sugar and loved the layout, design, colour scheme of magazines and wanted to become a design editor or something along those lines. As I got a little older I realised the content in the magazines wasn’t always the best. You would often see magazines slating a woman for having a curvy body or becoming thinner. I realised that the magazines that young women were reading probably weren’t the best for their mental health and didn’t promote women in the right way. This is why I wanted to write for a magazine when I got older and ensure the content was about educating, informing and encouraging readers. I’ve never been a major breaking news journalist so my main aim is to create content for women that will not hinder them in any way.
Q2 Where did you study journalism?
I studied Journalism in DCU and only graduated in October, but have been working in this company since May.
Q3 Can you tell me about your first media job experience?
Funnily enough, this is my first full-time media job. I found it interesting, as in college the focus is on newspapers and print, which is something very little of my class ended up doing. I was interested in how important figures and stats are all the time. We can always see in real time how many people are on which stories etc, so it is an interesting focus I never thought about before college.
Q4 What journalists inspire you?
I am a features writer primarily so Róisín Ingle from the Irish Times will always be my #1. Una Mullaly is also great and I also like Sunday Times journalists such as Camilla Long, AA Gill (who recently died) and Irish journalists from the Times such as Ellen Coyne.
Q5 What advice would you give an aspiring journalist?
My main advice would be to pitch a lot. The Journal, The Irish Times student hub, Campus.ie and even Her.ie often take contributor pieces and that is the most important thing when starting out. Getting published and getting feedback from people in the industry is always a good thing. Never be afraid to re-pitch or follow up on something if you haven’t heard back from some places. Also, it’s important to be aware how much Journalists and the concept of journalism has changed in recent years and that the typical newspaper journalist you hear about in lectures, doesn’t really exist anymore. Be flexible, be open to all types of journalism and media and pitch a lot.