Every month here at MediaHQ, we chat with a member of the media landscape to get an insight into what it’s like to work in the Irish industry.
This week, we spoke to Denise Curtin, Content Creator at Maximum Media.
What is your current role in the media industry and what does it involve?
I’m a content creator at Maximum Media working on both Her and HerFamily. I do everything from writing editorials to interviewing celebrities and presenting at events–my job is ever changing and you never know what opportunity will land on your desk at any given week.
Did you always want to be a journalist? What made you want to become one?
I think I did, yeah. There was a fear instilled in me as a teenager that there were “no jobs in media” which made me think of pursuing careers I wasn’t even interested in because they were seen as “good, sturdy jobs”. Then, in fifth year I came to the realisation that there’s absolutely no point in doing something I wasn’t interested in. In sixth year when it came to filling out my CAO I decided to go with my gut feeling and do journalism, it was the best decision I’ve ever made. I always tell people when they ask me about doing journalism in college that, like any job, if you’re determined to make it your career, you will.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part of my job is getting to interview celebrities–as cliched as that sounds. I really love the thrill and buzz around meeting actors and artists, getting that one-to-one time is invaluable from both a work and personal point of view. These interviews give you the key to creating original content for your website plus, with every interview you do you learn to hone your skills even better. Also, getting starstruck never fades…well, it hasn’t yet.
The worst part of my job would have to be the long and often unsociable hours. Working until 10pm at night or at the weekend isn’t the norm for many jobs but when you’re in the media, it’s kind of part and parcel of the gig. Sometimes, I find it very testing and it does exhaust me but, you just need to make sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard and still making time for your work-life balance, that’s really important. I think it’s definitely something I struggle with at times but I’m very aware of it.
How do your experiences in the industry so far compare to the expectations you had while studying Journalism and New Media in college?
I think my work placement in third year was a real awakening for me. My degree prepared me well but, you never really know what it’s actually like until you get hands-on experience. Getting experience is vital. You can only learn so much in a classroom but it’s when you’re thrown in at the deep end, editing and producing against the clock that you get a taste of what it’s actually like to work in the industry. So, for me, placement was a massive asset in learning what working would be like after I graduated plus, it does make it easier to get a job when you’ve experience under your belt.
What are your next set of career goals? Where do you see yourself in five years time?
Hmmm, I try not to plan too far in advance. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but I’m always changing my mind on what it is I’d like to do next. I definitely want to see myself doing more presenting work and potentially venturing on TV, I think I’d love that because it’s unknown territory for me.
What advice would you give to those considering a career in journalism today?
Be determined and don’t doubt your abilities. The industry can often feel like a lot of closed doors but you can’t let that put you off. If you’re driven, you will succeed. Getting experience is obviously vital and I cannot emphasise that enough. Always be on the lookout for ways you can contribute to college newspapers, local radio stations, send emails, do work shadowing and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
To contact media professionals like Denise, MediaHQ has you covered. For more information, click here or call Gaye on (01) 254 1845.