Creative Access partnered up with media and publishing giants to deliver the final masterclass of 2023 for our community of creatives. Two back-to-back panels featured industry experts in journalism and publishing working at News UK, HarperCollins UK, Wall Street Journal, Financial News, The Times, The Sun and Dow Jones. They discussed everything from what the future of the creative economy, in particular media production & publishing, will look like, as well as the latest trends, and what these brands are looking for in a candidates’ applications. Keep reading to find out their top tips and stay up-to-date on the latest insights from senior leaders and diverse voices!
First panel: The future of the creative industries
Will Payne, Director of Digital (Editorial) at The Sun
Shruti Tripathi Chopra, Editor in Chief at Financial News & Private Equity News
Ken Wilson-Max, Publisher at HarperCollins Children’s Books
Josie Dobrin (chair), Co-Founder & Executive Chair at Creative Access
“Anyone who says they know what the industry will look like in a few years time isn’t telling the truth. We are at a significant changing point.”
For those curious about the changing landscape of digital media, journalism, and publishing, this panel hits the spot. The panellists are senior leaders in these industries and navigate topics like AI and diversity every day in their roles. Senior figures in journalism, The Sun’s Will Payne and Financial News’ Shruti Tripathi Chopra, discussed how they are adapting their business strategies to fit the world of news with advancements such as AI rolling in.
Challenges bring change
Payne predicts that amongst the AI-produced low-quality, high-density content flooding the internet, there will be a growing hunger for high-quality, in-depth content that utilises digital and podcast forms. He also thinks that this gives publishers and writers the opportunity to mark themselves out. An important bit of advice here from the man who essentially deputises The Sun, a newspaper which digitally reaches 25 million readers per month. Chopra said that the strategy at Financial News (which is behind a paywall) is to make their mark by keeping it simple: “Understanding your reader and treating them like a human being, keeping it simple and keeping it interesting”. Her advice for budding journalists is: “Ask ‘How would you explain it to your nan?’ We say it as it is, and I encourage you to always question why you are writing the way you are.”
We touched on the impact of AI on publishing too, with food for thought shared by HarperCollins’ Ken Wilson-Max arguing that there may be blurred lines on the issue of ownership in the future: “Who owns the content if AI created it? And will the audience notice? Or care?”
The future of publishing
For the publishing hopefuls in the room, we were thrilled to have publisher Ken Wilson-Max, who set up Kumusha Books, HarperCollins Children’s Books first imprint. Its globally focused list is a strong mix of inclusive and commercial storytelling from underrepresented voices.
“I look out and see potential in this audience, and think wow, this is great. When I entered more than thirty years ago this audience wasn’t here in the same way. For every book that has been published, there is an inclusive alternative version waiting to be created. We can find the good stories and retell them.”
How does Wilson-Max make sure the books he publishes are reflective of his readers? A brilliant answer on Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) strategy: “It’s actually not that hard, but it has many steps. You have to treat everyone the same, and really listen. I sell stories to the world, but try to bring stories from around the world. Keep it simple and do it well, repeat, repeat, repeat.”
Tips for candidates in publishing and journalism
Chopra: Put your hand up, send that email, go talk to people, no one is expecting you to know everything, everyone is winging it. Be relentless about trying.
Wilson-Max: I would look for someone who is very curious, who could take creative risks, take criticism, and still have a smile on your face and come back tomorrow. Technical skills I’m not so worried about, because the level is high, but the attitude of the person is so important.
Payne: Hardwork and determination always resonate. If you’re prepared to put the hours in, dedicated, and creative. A creative spark will set you apart.
Second panel: Starting your career in the creative industries
In this panel, three incredible industry professionals answered burning questions all about how to kickstart your career with top tips galore. Khurana entered publishing via an advertising apprenticeship and emphasised the transferable skills between these two industries (take note career switchers!), Mukuru was a business journalist in Kenya and came to the UK to study finance journalism, and Khalique-Loonat got in through a graduate scheme having been inspired by some inaccurate sports analysis he saw on TV.
Hamzah Khalique-Loonat, Football reporter at The Times and The Sunday Times
Simran Khurana, Senior Sales and Marketing Executive at HarperCollins
Miriam Mukuru, Reporter, Credit Markets at The Wall Street Journal
Advice for starting out
“You sort of apply for the first few, and get rejected. Then you apply for some more and hmmm, don’t worry. Apply for some more, but it seems personal now. But you sometimes just need a little luck, so persevering is key. Brilliant people can spend a long time looking, but if you persevere you will get it.”
Mukuru: “Don’t aim for perfection. I read a lot of journalists’ work and compare it to my own, and then think ‘I cannot publish this!’ but you have to start somewhere. If you don’t then you’ll have nothing to show when you’re trying to get the internship and they want to see some of your work.”
Khurana: “Research is very important. It can be hard to get your foot in the door, but it’s easy to move around once you’re in. Whether it be editorial, marketing, design, do your research on their websites, as well as Twitter and Facebook groups. Social media is a powerhouse where you can gain experience and see what jobs you can apply for.”
Tips for networking
Khalique-Loonat: “Often when people do internships they will network in a way that’s very formal. We have people join us and the ones that make the biggest impressions usually let themselves be themselves. Networking comes with connotations of formal engagement, but building lasting relationships is through knowing people better so just try to do that.”
Mukuru: “I reached out to journalists virtually a lot, and they really helped and guided me, so I recommend doing that.”
Khurana: “Recruiters often go on TikTok and give advice – honing in on those platforms is key so make sure you’re building a brand for yourself and establishing a social presence.”
Lots of audience questions on career highlights, how to avoid burnout and diversity followed, until the networking session started and LinkedIn search bars were popping off. To make sure you’re signed up with us to hear about the next masterclass in 2024!
A BIG thank you to our host News UK, alongside Dow Jones and HarperCollins, the brilliant speakers and of course our fantastic community for coming.