Featureworld becomes a family business…

As a mum of three, I imagined seeing me glued to a computer a lot of the time would have put all of them off joining me at Featureworld. FeatureworldBut here Jonathan, 21, who recently graduated with a 2:1 Honours degree in Psychology, tells Sell Your Story UK why he has now decided to become a trainee journalist.

Have you always wanted to be a journalist?

Ironically, given that Alison has always worked as a journalist, even before she had me, no! I never actually planned on being a journalist. Alison’s 25 years plus in journalism eclipse my 21 years on this Earth so I’ve grown up around it, seeing writing as normal. I might’ve even kicked against it because after all I know how it certainly isn’t the glamorous career some might imagine – but there have always been piles of newspapers and magazines in my household each day and I can’t remember a time I haven’t been reading articles that interested me, always trying to gain different perspectives and finding out new things. I’m at the point now where I can’t go a day without at least reading the main headlines – I feel disconnected otherwise.
But it was probably about the age of 16 that I started seriously noticing what Alison did and began thinking it might be a career I would be interested in too.
However I didn’t just want to follow in her footsteps. So I decided to go to Uni to study Psychology as this was a subject that has always fascinated me.

Have you done any work experience and what was that like?

During my years at Uni I did two stints of work experience for The Daily Mail, which was hugely insightful. It was exciting to see a real newsroom and to see what goes on day-by-day to produce one of the most well read national newspapers. It was also fascinating because it was a different aspect of journalism that I’d not experienced before. I was watching (and taking part in) the mountains of research and hands on journalism that had to be done for just one article that might be front page or just a single small article.

So what sort of journalism interests you most?

Doing my Psychology degree has actually led me back to the types of real life stories Alison writes about. The three years have developed my interests in ‘real’ people and ‘real-life’ stories. Psychology is all about the human mind and why we behave in the way we do given a certain situation – these stories are examples of this. What leads a woman to become anorexic or overweight? What could be a reason for terminating a pregnancy – what is controversial and why?

How do you see your future role at Featureworld?

I want to sell real life stories to the press for real people. So I see myself working with Alison, publications and most importantly the interviewee to get the best deals and to get their stories told and read by the masses! Anyone who is in this business knows how much there is to learn and I’m still finding my feet but recently I placed one interviewee’s story with ITV’s This Morning and she also has a deal with a national newspaper. The interviewee was thrilled and it was incredibly exciting to ring someone up with such good news. I also now send out our weekly newsletter and there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes – maintaining this site for a start – which I am helping on. But it feels completely right to be working for Featureworld, which has grown enormously especially over the last five years. And this way it remains a trusted family business.
At the moment we are also working on some big and exiting new developments coming to Featureworld and Sell Your Story UK so it is frantically busy – I can’t say anymore than that at the moment. However, we will be revealing more in the next few weeks. So watch this space…!

If you have a story for Jonathan – perhaps you prefer talking to a man for example – then do contact him here: jon@featureworld.co.uk

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Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website Featureworld.co.uk, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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