Interview with young journalists: Part 2 - Starting work

 by Martin Belam, 20 April 2010

This week I've started a series of posts based on a Q&A interview with three talented young journalists Helia Phoenix, Priyal Sanghavi and Ann Danylkiw. I'm interested in why they wanted to get involved in the media, what formal training they had, and how that has matched up to their experience now that they are at work. Today's question is specifically about the work they've found themselves in.

Martin Belam@currybet: "What is your job title now, and how would you describe your work?"

Helia PhoenixHelia Phoenix: "For my day-job, I'm a web editor for the National Assembly for Wales (like the Welsh version of Parliament). The National Assembly makes the laws for Wales, and then the Welsh Assembly Government is where the Ministers work, and put the laws into policies and action here. I oversee the day to day running of the website.

I set up and maintain social networking profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube for the Assembly. We have over 30 content publishers within the organisation, so my role is really to oversee what they do, make sure they are keeping to our guidelines, and so on. Occasionally I'll have to edit or create new pages for the site. We have a language policy that means all our pages have to be published bilingually - one in English, one in Welsh. I don't speak Welsh, but I we have a translation department that I consult frequently. I also edit photos and video.

It's up to me to find new and innovative ways of engaging the public with the business of the Assembly, so I've built Wordpress blogs and set up Tumblrs, planned webchats and podcasts, experimenting with different communication channels. It's a very exciting area to work in as it's all so new and I'm basically in charge of everything - it feels like a new frontier. Much more exciting than radio!"

Priyal SanghaviPriyal Sanghavi: "I currently am a freelancer for, and BBC Have your say. Samosa is paid freelance political articles about South Asia, Bollyspice is about the Indian film industry and BBC work is looking after the Have your say section and social media."

Helia PhoenixHelia Phoenix: "In my spare time, I'm a freelance writer/author. I'm big into music, and have been working as the reviews editor for Kruger Magazine for the past 4/5 years. Last year I finished writing a biography on Lady Gaga , which was published in the UK in February. I'd like to start working on a novel one day, though I haven't quite found the time yet....! I'm also interested in getting more into digital fiction, perhaps an online novel which involves video, audio and images as well as a written narrative."

Ann DanylkiwAnn Danylkiw: "Listen up because this is important: I am a freelance new media journalist. Got that? When I interview people and write a feature and tell a story related to some economic issue, it’s not any different because I write for a dot com and not a print newspaper. I am not just a blogger. I do keep personal blogs to discuss issues I think are important. But the paid work I do is not in the form or tone of a blog, it is journalism.

I’m really tired of being shrugged off or told that I shouldn’t think of trying to be a journalist because I haven’t gone to journalism school. I’m tired of being ignored or laughed at by the entrenched media establishment who haven’t figured out that new media is here to stay and that the way they tell stories is going to have to change."


Picking up on Ann's last point about new media being here to stay, in the next part of this series the interviewees will be discussing whether the technology they were exposed to in their education was of the right sort, and the right amount.

Keep up to date on my new blog