It's one of those ideas that you can't believe hasn't been done before: journalists meet the reality TV cameras and compete for a highly coveted role with publishing giants Bauer Media (they've got More!, Closer, Heat, Empire, FHM and Kerrang under their belts, to name but a few). The production, called 'The Exclusives', will be reaching the screens of ITV2, which has also brought us ratings-winning slices of documentary life including The Only Way is Essex and Katie and Peter: The Next Chapter. Basically we're going to see the journos - who spin stories and create a sense of hype on a daily basis - facing the critical eye of the public. It's a brilliant concept, and one that I can't wait to watch, as well as put my name forward for.
The great thing is that this competition is open to people who don't have any journalism qualifications, meaning that people from other backgrounds get a look-in, and I think that's important. I myself have a PG Certificate in Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism from the London College of Fashion, something that is really important to me, but obviously does mean that I didn't do the old-school route of learning shorthand and subbing. What I did learn was how to write for real publications and how to pitch, as well as how to create my own magazine from scratch, whilst being mentored by an amazing personal tutor who has written for AnOther and the Guardian, to name but a few. Other people out there may have written plenty of articles but never considered themselves to be a jobbing journalist, and it's great that they can also enter, because the world of journalism is massively cutthroat and competitive, and it does sometimes push out the genuinely interesting voices. I will be looking forward to seeing some real and raw talent coming out of this show.
On a personal note, I have so many memories attached to the magazines published by Bauer and I do feel like I've grown up amongst the titles - I used to sneak Kerrang into my secondary school to escape dull moments, and to deliberately shock the girls around me who were into sugary pop bands (yep, a single sex school gripped by Britney fever can be a lonely place for us rock lovers). My ex-boyfriend's room was always littered with old copies of Empire that he couldn't bear to throw away, and kept alongside his beloved DVD collection. More! has helped me through many a perplexing man dilemma and it's kept me laughing with the Men Overheard section, whilst one of my best friends wallpapered her loo at uni with the Man Facts pages. Basically I've found that these magazines have deep roots in my past and I think the world would be a duller place without them. That's why it's important that Bauer Media is keen to keep developing new talent and nurturing it, and why I'm already so excited about 'The Exclusives'.
If you want to enter then look out for the information in Bauer Media titles from this week, with details of how to apply for an entry form (I'm not going to post it here - you have to go and buy the magazine!). May the best journo win.