LONDON – What is required in the fascinating world of journalism for a brilliant and unforgettable career? Phil Sutcliffe’s advice is: “Creativity, a long and hard apprenticeship to experience the subject and a bit of luck”.
He is one of the most talented and renowned members of the National Union of Journalism NUJ and a precious source of information for young people who aspire to get into the communication “ring”. After forty five years of satisfying hard work, Phil definitely has something to teach about the subject of journalism.
How can a young person start a career as a journalist in the UK?
“Well, there are a lot of ways but I must say that it’s usually very chaotic. Some countries demand an academic qualification before you can join the Union of Journalism. In the UK you don’t need it: training courses are enough. The trouble is that after years of training there are a lot of candidates applying for the same jobs. Another way is to start as a freelance, but you have to be able to sell your articles to newspapers and to get contacts with companies. Sometimes this is not natural for a creative person.”
How is it possible in England to have so many free newspapers? Are they less reliable and truthful than the paid for ones?
“The free newspaper is a phenomenon of the last few years. Born from the competition between the internet (that is free) and the big newspaper companies. One way to maintain your editorial independence is to be a billionaire owner of a company which has enough money to support the newspaper. The other way is to get a great variety of advertisers so you can’t be monopolized by just one of them.”
During your successful career, amongst all the great musicians you have interviewed, who was the one that impressed you the most, in a positive or negative way?
“There are people that offer to the media just a narrow aspect of themselves, while others can’t help showing all their feelings. One of those was Kurt Cobain, who I had the chance to interview 6 months before his suicide. He was a great creative artist but he had been suffering his whole life. Affected by a pain in his stomach that couldn’t be cured by medical devices. Maybe I’m too poetic but I like thinking that Kurt had found the way to express the pain of the world through the touching notes of his music.”
Francesca Eboli, Daniela De Michele