5 minutes with the media – Alison Ring

5 minutes with the media, entertainment, Irish Journalists
April 10, 2017
by Conor Hawkins

Media HQ are running a series of short interviews with some of the country’s many talented journalists. In this series you can see why they do what they do, what they love, what they hate and who they look up to.

In this post we speak to Alison Ring

What is your current role in the media? 

I’m a digital journalist with EVOKE.ie. I write a little bit of everything from news to showbusiness, entertainment, soap news and all the rest!

Did you always want to be a journalist? If so, why? If not, what persuaded you to become one?

Not always, but when it came to filling out the CAO I knew I wanted to write for a living and I was reluctant to pursue a general Arts degree, and given my interest in the media I decided to go with journalism.

How long have you been working in the media? Is it what you expected it to be like?

I’ve really just started in the media. As part of my course I did a two month internship with EVOKE during the summer of 2016 and following my graduation in November, I was lucky enough to land a full-time job with them in December.

To be honest, when I started the internship the most surprising thing was how enjoyable it was. College gave me an incredibly unrealistic impression of what it would be like to actually work in journalism, and I’d definitely say that the internship completely changed my mind on it as a profession. Now that I’m working full-time, I kind of know what to expect everyday but originally, I was pleasantly surprised by being a working journalist.

What has been your own biggest challenge to date?

Responding to breaking news is always difficult. When things break later in the evening or early in the morning and there’s not as many people writing, I always feel the pressure to get the story up quickly and accurately.

What do you feel is the biggest misconception about your job?

Throughout my three years in college we were consistently told that we would struggle to get jobs in the media, that unpaid internships were more realistic and that we would have to be incredibly lucky to land ourselves actual real life jobs. I only discovered how untrue this was when I began working in the industry.

I know very few people from my graduating class who have failed to secure either a full-time job or enough freelance work to pay them adequately. There are probably more jobs in the media now than ever before. While so many people are worried about the future of print media, the world of digital media appears to be rapidly expanding, and I think that’s probably the biggest misconception.

What is your favourite thing about your current job?

I’m really lucky that with EVOKE there’s a really good atmosphere in the office, it’s a lot of fun to work here, and it always helps when you look forward to going to work.

I love the instant feedback. Working online you know how many people have read your article, whether or not they ‘liked’ it (on Facebook say), who they like reading about, what stories interest them the most. It becomes very easy to profile your reader which means you know what kind of stories to pitch, and what is likely to do well.

I also love the fact that you never have the same day twice in a row, there’s always something different and it rarely gets boring.

What is the most valuable thing that you’ve learned in the early days of your career?

Given that I’m still in the very early days of my career, I feel that I’m still learning a lot, and probably don’t have a lot of wisdom to impart for this section. I think never be afraid to ask questions is a big one. If you’re unsure of how to cover something, what angle to take, which picture to use, just ask. You’re not expected to know everything when you come in as a graduate and editors are more than happy to answer questions, especially if the answer might prevent a mistake.

What, in your opinion, is the biggest challenge facing media in the future?

There are many. Monetising the web is a huge one. I also think it’s going to be difficult to maintain high quality journalism in the digital age. The focus can easily shift to getting stories up quickly rather than quickly and accurately.

We’re also seeing a huge increase in the amount of video being used, with Facebook Live now being utilised as a tool to broadcast ‘mini-series’ esque-episodes every week. I think that’s going to further draw people away from newspapers, radio stations and even televisions, which is an issue that those respective arms of the media will have to combat in some way.

What would your dream job in the media be and why? Is this your career goal?

I’m really very happy in my job at the moment, and I couldn’t honestly tell you what my dream job is, but I do think my work with EVOKE is probably going to shape my path for the future. I would love to work in broadcasting someday, but maybe not forever, and I would also love to try my hand a sports reporting at some stage. I hope to dabble in a lit bit of everything, but for the moment, I feel very lucky to have a job in such a great place.

Finally, what advice would you give to anyone who is considering a career in the media?

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you there are no jobs. Your portfolio starts immediately, so write for whoever you can, whenever you can. Be persistent, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, send emails, ask for freelance shifts and be pro-active. And if you do get a chance, make the most of it. College media is an incredible way to get started and it can be a great pathway which leads to bigger and better things.

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Conor Hawkins