Rock Pen / Rock Journalist
A Job Description
Rock Pens are music journalists who report rock music news to a blog, fanzine, printed or digital publication or other media …
Rock Pens are also called upon to interview rock musicians, review albums [and other works] and to attend and report from concerts and gigs. They also provide other quality articles for publication.
Commonly, a rock journalist will spend a lot of time working alone on computer, researching and writing stories.
Rock Pens sometimes attend concerts and performances [and occasional events such as launch parties.]
Journalists attend these Festivals to cover live music. They are more often than not expected to pay their own travel costs to attend such events.
Rock pens also get to go to Music Festivals. These events are fun, but usually involve a lot of hard work. Some of the largest and best-known festivals might expect a journalist to contribute towards the cost [for example towards camping or meals] or even make a contribution towards the ticket price.
Rock Pens are almost always required to pay their own travel expenses.
Rock Pens are Music Journalists who are employed by print, online, and broadcast media outlets but almost always start out as unpaid writers.
Wages are very low because editors often utilise unpaid contributors who are keen to add to their CV’s and gain work experience. Once a Rock Pen becomes established, there are greater financial rewards, though it must be assumed that Rock Music Journalism is never lucrative.
Rock Pens work with Editors, Music Photographers, Publicists, other Journalists and Recording Artists.
Self-motivation is a desired character trait for Rock Pens. Music journalists work alone for much of the time. They are expected to meet demanding deadlines.
Most aspiring rock music journalists fall short of expectations because they cannot complete their assigned tasks on time.
If a Rock Pen is assigned to cover a concert or to write-up a convincing news-piece, it is absolutely essential that the assignment is completed within the agreed timescale.
If it comes to an album review, that must also be submitted in a timely manner.
Editors often say that the most sought after attribute for Rock Pens is dependability.
A college degree is not required for this profession. However, it is strongly advisable.
A thorough understanding of grammar, style, and the basic mechanics of composition are absolutely essential.
Useful degrees include English, Communications, and of course, Journalism.
Editors will want to see your written work, so prepare some of your best work ready to submit. Rock Pens will demonstrate that they understand the mechanics of grammar, punctuation, and composition.
You should also be able to provide evidence of working efficiently to tight deadlines and writing accurately under pressure. Obviously, you should be able to write with confidence about music and demonstrate your expertise in the field.
News is always happening. So, like all journalists, Rock Pens remain in service … 24 hours a day
Writing is a lonesome activity so Rock Pens can expect long stretches of solitary work.
If you are a sociable person and you prefer working in teams, this profession may not suit you.
Rock Pens are often required to stay up late to complete interviews or manage late news. They must also start early to check for updates, and report on the news of the previous evening.
Typically a Rock Pen works 8-8
Holidays and vacation days are often spent ‘on the job’ covering musical events and festivals.
Most Rock Pens spend a good portion of their own money on travel expenses, room and board and other expenses when working away from home.
How to Get Started:
- Get your Music Journalist’s Twitter feed going
- Join the Rock Pen Facebook Page
- Start your own blog. And write the best articles you can possibly manage
- Compile a resume of your best work
- Become familiar with music blogs, magazines and fanzines.
- Read more … read, read and read
- When you are good and ready — contact the editor of your favourite journal — pitch them some of your ideas
Any other tips you’d like to share? We would love to hear your thoughts on twitter @rockpencon
Words & Images @neilmach 2016 ©
Neil Mach is editor of RAW RAMP MAGAZINE
Member of the European News Agency, Music Industry Forum, Music Industry Network and regular blogger and contributor to several sites