Broadcast Journalism: Handling rejection

When I tell people I’m a broadcast journalist in TV news most people usually respond with “that must’ve been very competitive”. And it’s true that when you go into journalism you expect to get knocked-back a fair few times.

With yesterday’s BBC pay revelation news, transparency now seems to be trending… So I’ve decided to do the rejection maths and count up how many journalism opportunities I’ve applied for and failed to get, tidying up my documents folder on my laptop in the process. Win-win!

Hopefully this will either make you feel great – if you’ve been far more successful than me – or will just give you one picture of working as a broadcast journalist in TV news.


In total, since wanting to work in news, I’ve applied for 11 different full time jobs in journalism and have been successful 4 times.

Then, on top of that, I’ve applied for 11 unpaid work experience placements and I was offered 6 of those. I’ll repeat, that it’s unpaid work and I still didn’t get it!

So in total I’ve filled out 22 applications and failed to impress 12 times. Or if we look at the glass as half full – I’ve been selected 10 out of 22 attempts.

I’m not sure how that compares to other people’s experiences who aren’t journalists but I would guess it’s pretty common for my colleagues. Perhaps it’s actually good going in my field?


Applying for jobs is really really hard work and, all you can do is, be resilient. Every one of those 12 rejection emails has led to a very miserable day. But, if your fixed on your goal then you just keep applying, trying to improve those applications and interview techniques, and you do get there eventually. I’m now doing a brilliant job that I love in central London with lots of talented people in higher positions that inspire me.

I keep a copy of every job application on my laptop so I can see where I got it wrong and where I got it right.

Additionally, after every interview I write out the full list of questions I was asked. Adding how I answered and what I wish I had added is SO useful as you can read through it again if you re-apply and pass it onto friends you want help.

I’ve bought two books to help me with interview preparation. They are: JOB INTERVIEWS by John Lees and WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR PARACHUTE by Richard N Bolles.

The BBC careers website also has some tips for journalism in particular, but personally I’ve found the above books much better – especially the John Lees book. Keeping a positivity diary or gratitude journal has helped me stay cheerful recently too.

If you’re applying to work in news or TV then “gambatte” as they say in Japan. It means ‘keep fighting’.

You can always google “successful people who got rejected before they made it” to lift your spirits when you get that dreaded email… or get Sia’s ‘The Greatest’ on reapeat on Spotify which works too 🙂  xxx


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