On the 12th of May, we were delighted to host Ms Emma Hogan, European Correspondent for the Economist and a Cambridge alum herself. She shared a bit about life as a journalist and managed to dispense a few tips for students who are considering a future career in journalism.
As a Cambridge alum herself, Emma acknowledged the frenzy over investment banking and shared her own anecdote about her mother questioning her decision to decline a job offer in investment banking in favour of a freelance job (initially) with the Economist. Before she became the European Correspondent, Emma wrote book reviews for the magazine and gradually as she built a solid readership base and grew comfortable with the style of writing for the Economist, she began to take on a wider range of reporting, which led to her current position as European Correspondent.
Emma described the Economist has being a very collegiate environment due to its smaller size in comparison with other publications such as the Guardian or the Financial Times. Due to the absence of bylines in each issue, journalists are also given greater autonomy to pick issues they are passionate about to focus on each week. For example the issue of unaccompanied refugee children was a popular topic in one of the weeks and journalists who were interested in such issues would be able to put forward their research and views on that. The way Emma sees it, the Economist’s role is not to provide the latest breaking news but to add value and dimension to the current dialogue on various issues around the world; thus, there is room for a certain degree of subjectivity and relieves some of the time pressure journalists may have when constantly faced with the need to cover breaking news.
When asked whether her gender had ever affected the way she was treated on the job, Emma gave an interesting answer by stating that gender has never been an issue but age has. She advised students who were considering pursuing a career in journalism to be tenacious in applying for opportunities such as internships and meticulous in their work in order for others to take them seriously. Nevertheless, she shared an anecdote about Michael Lewis (American author of novels such as ‘Liar’s Poker’ and ‘The Big Short’) and relayed his comment that The Economist was written by very young journalists. As finalists are approaching graduation and the prospect of leaving Oxford for the harsh realities of the workplace, we hope that you do not discount the rewards of an alternative career in journalism and we at OxWIB wish you the best of luck in everything you may choose to do.