Being a journalist hasn't given some people the best reputation in the last couple of years, but that doesn't mean that journalism is a bad career choice. If anything, I say that journalism has opened countless doors for me and has given me some awesome opportunities over the last few years. There are lots of amazing things about the job - you get to work with people which is perfect for social butterflies like myself, you get the chance to hear amazing stories first-hand and have the privilege of sharing them with the world, the trust that your readers and those sharing their stories place in you. There are a lot of tougher sides of the job as well, like having to write a tribute to one of your former best friends after a horrible accident, but that is why I think it is important to enjoy the good parts.I know some don't agree with getting freebies through journalism, but this is one of my favourite parts of the job - the privilege and extras that come with it. Journalism opens you up to a world of opportunities that you would never have had otherwise, and that is something I love about it.I know a fair few journalists who never really take advantage of the extras in the job, which personally I think is a shame considering how low paid so many journalists are. I know some won't agree, but I tend to look at it as the tips a waitress would get. This is just a bonus to the job and, as a bit of a blagger, I don't mind asking - I always figure if you don't ask you don't get. Which is clear from how many amazing things I have been lucky enough to gain - I always ask the question. So what have been my best blags and the top experiences my job has given me?
- My top has got to be weekend tickets to an incredible electronic dance music festival, Glade Festival, that was right on my doorstep. It was only my second festival and this experience really showed me how much I love festivals, plus it gave me a taste for reviewing and writing about festivals which then led to my work at This Festival Feeling.
- Close behind was tickets to Wyndstock - a Midsummer Ball, another festival, this time a more upmarket one with swing dancing, posh banquets and a fake fox-hunt - it was so much fun and again gave me a great opportunity to write about festivals. As did free tickets to the first Zoo Project Festival.
- I have just booked in to write a feature on a circus that is coming to town - how better to do it than to have a lesson from a Mexican high-wire expert who has been walking the wire since he was six-years-old and to interview him?
- Tickets to the theatre - I have pre-written and reviewed various shows at theatres across the area over the last few years. All brilliant experiences and, as a big theatre-lover, have helped me develop a working relationship with the various theatre groups because I have actually seen their work.
- Tickets to the ballet - a stunning night watching Swan Lake as a thanks for giving a series of write-ups to another theatre and free tickets to music events in the town.
- Taking on a new local bootcamp for a feature was brilliant fun and I got to take along a group of mates to get really muddy as we tried to complete an obstacle course and had a boxercise class.
- I've got another coming up - this one is Loopy Ball, which is also for a group of mates and it football but inside giant blow up balls - should be funny and I'm looking forward to it.
- Getting to interview and meet theatre, music and TV stars is an amazing bonus of the job and running the entertainment section, I've been pretty lucky.
- Priority screenings of the pantomime - I love a Christmas panto, and getting invited along, with my family in tow, to watch it before anyone else has is pretty good fun. Priority tickets are always a winner - running the entertainment section means I always know first when a great comedian or show is coming to town and I can usually reserve tickets.
- A fantastic Glamping trip with my girls as part of a review.
Of course, we're not all in it for the freebies, we do it for the love of the job and a passion for reporting news. But, being a journalist is a stressful job with constant deadlines, you work hard and if opportunities come up I don't think we should be afraid to snap them up. Much like bloggers accepting gifts of review products. There's plenty more I haven't listed - so budding journalists, if anyone tells you that you are making a mistake with your career - why not ask them if their job gives them the chance to do all of these amazing things?
What's the best freebie you've ever had through work? Are you thinking about going into journalism?