It’s not often that you’re given something for nothing these days, but Radar Radio is one place that seems to be bucking that trend. From July 23 through to the end of August, the East London radio station ran a free workshop academy aimed at giving young people aged 18-25 some of the practical skills needed to make it in the music industry, from DJing through to radio hosting. Dazed was lucky enough to be given the reins for Radar’s final workshop – a masterclass in music journalism – and we caught up with attendees to find out how they felt.
There’s sometimes an aura of mystery surrounding music journalism. As workshop attendee Maya Rattrey explained, “I don’t think there’s enough stuff like this. It’s almost expected that you’ll know how to write, and it’s not like that!” Run by Dazed Digital music editor Selim Bulut, electronic music journalist Aurora Mitchell, and grime writer Tomas Fraser, the four-hour session set out to answer those questions and more, covering everything from the basics of interviewing, pitching, and feature-writing through to less recognised challenges like dealing with PRs and the nitty-gritty of getting paid.
As attendee Matthew Fowler explained to me, for a generation facing increased university debt, fewer jobs, lower pay, and far less stability, workshops providing practical skills to young people in the creative industries are increasingly necessary. For Carina Ly, attending a workshop run for people from all walks of life and educational disciplines was especially important. “I’m from an ethnic background,” she explained, “This industry is pretty white-dominated, so it was really valuable to have an opportunity like this for people like me.” Similarly, Saoirse O’Leary expressed how having a female music journalist present and talking in a candid way was essential to feeling represented and engaged. “It was really significant for me to see a woman talking about her experiences. It’s so male dominated, I feel like women are often brushed aside and sometimes there’s this ‘lad’ culture which can be really intimidating”.
Music journalism is a notoriously difficult industry to break into and the Dazed workshop wanted to be frank about its realities. Joshua Ogunmokun found having mentors who didn’t sugarcoat the experience key to the day’s success. “It was refreshing to hear people being real when they were talking about music journalism,” he explained. And did it work? Well, all of the attendees left saying they hadn’t been put off and that they felt better prepared to pursue a career in music writing. Busola Aderemi was especially enthusiastic. “This has honestly been the best day I’ve had this month. It’s made me want to go harder and not give up. I’m feeling packed with knowledge! I can’t wait to spread it.”
Stay tuned for forthcoming Dazed shows with Radar.
Follow Alice Nicolov on Twitter here @alicenicolov