Journalism student Mollie spills the beans on working for the NME

Quizzing shifty politicians. Rubbing shoulders with celebs. Reporting from crime scenes, murder trials, war zones, red carpets and Premier League football grounds … a career in journalism promises a thrilling blend of deadlines, headlines, bylines and adrenaline. But how do you break into the news industry? First you need to learn the ropes. Then you need to start climbing them.  

Over the next few days we'll be featuring three savvy students at De Montfort University’s Leicester Centre for Journalism as they explain how they got involved in the real world of news - while still studying for their degrees.
‘I learnt invaluable lessons covering the NME Awards - not least how to get red wine stains out of a pink tracksuit’
Mollie Mansfield MAIN

From the age of 15 I’ve always wanted to be a music journalist. However a few months before that I also wanted to be a computer science journalist, so I don’t know how much weight that statement really holds. But basically I wanted to be a journalist, so I went with the former, the one that actually has more than five running magazines, and went full pelt - throwing my passion for all things music in with me.

Not quite knowing where exactly to start to gain experience, I headed directly to the hub of British music journalism. That’s when I found myself sat behind a desk, legs hardly reaching the floor in the NME offices at the age of 16.

My relationship with NME has been pretty much on-going since the day I walked in, returning at least once a year. It’s pretty easy to say that I’m slowly becoming part of the furniture. Despite writing handfuls of news for the company and coming up with features ideas left, right and centre, I’d never been as hands-on for them as when I went back this February, to work at the one and only NME Awards.

Mollie Mansfield and Louis Theroux

Both working to set up the awards in the day, by postering both staircases in the O2 Academy Brixton, and in the evening, working as a runner for the journalism team, I got a full insight into how the awards are run and just how much effort goes into them.

Running to and from video guys, to get live edited footage from the artists’ sets, and to and from the press room – where I brushed shoulders with Louis Theroux – I felt as though I was part of the team, and that by just legging it around backstage, I made their night a little bit easier.
However, putting NME aside for one minute, I have also seen a lot more of the music journalism world. Working at a variety of publications freelance, including DIY, clash, Record Collector and tmrw magazine, and doing a whole load of freelance work for the Leicester Mercury, and experiences such as working at the 2016 Kerrang! Awards and partaking in a week of work experience at both Kerrang! and Uncut, it’s safe to say I’ve seen a lot in the music journalism industry.

* Want to study Journalism at DMU? Find out more here
* TV news chief gives advice to journalism students
* DMU and C4 launch Investigative Journalism MA

From three reschedules and a 2.30am interview with Tyga for the cover of tmrw magazine, to talking to Gareth Gates about his new coconut tea range for the Mercury’s Facebook Live, I’ve had a fair few experiences.

However I feel as though I learnt invaluable lessons from the NME Awards – even to the point of learning how to get red wine stains out of a light pink tracksuit, that the lead singer of the 1975 gracefully spilt all over me at the after-party.

Mollie Mansfield is a third-year single honours journalism at De Montfort University. Follow her on Twitter @MollieMansfield. You can read her articles for the NME.

Posted on Friday 14th April 2017

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