Kristin Harris is Associate Celebrity Editor at Buzzfeed and lives in New York. She graduated from the PG Certificate Fashion: Fashion and Lifestyle Journalism in 2013.
Why did you choose to study journalism at LCF?
When I was studying abroad in London during my undergrad, I knew I wanted to return to the city for a graduate program. I had heard of LCF’s reputation as a prestigious fashion school, and after visiting and learning more about their incredible programmes, I knew I wanted to study there.
What were you doing before you applied for the PG Cert?
I applied to the PGCert during my senior year at university, and prior to coming for the program I was working in PR for the music startup Grooveshark.
And what was it about the PG Cert that particularly appealed?
During my undergrad I majored in advertising/PR and writing and had interned in editorial at magazines like Teen Vogue, but never really had classes that focused on journalism or fashion. I really wanted to focus on landing a job at a magazine and knew that I needed an intensive programme to really immerse myself in the industry and learn as much as I could. Realizing that I could do a program like the PGCert that offered all of that, without requiring a few years like a masters program, I knew it was the perfect opportunity.
How would you describe your experience of the course?
The course experience was amazing. For me, being from the States and being able to immerse myself in another culture and see the differences between the fashion industry over here versus in London was really eye-opening and just an invaluable experience. I loved that the course had an in-depth look at the fashion industry as a whole, and then very specific training in all things journalistic, which really gave me experience writing articles of all different formats for the first time. It was also amazing to be able to speak with and learn from incredible people in the industry—we got to visit Antipodium's studio and interview the designer, have a variety of guest lecturers who were editors and journalists in the industry, and just truly get real-world experience with all of our work. I also loved being able to choose what route most suited you—for me I've always wanted to work in web, and I have a particular interest in social media and tech, so being able to choose an online site as my major project and focus on magazines and social media for my research project was great because I got to use that later as my portfolio when trying to find a position that suited my interests.
What was your experience of living and studying in London like?
London was so incredibly inspiring! Since most of the course was spent off writing your assignments, I spent a lot of my time at cafes along South Bank at the Thames, and the Tate. I also had an incredible opportunity to intern at British Vogue while I was in the course, and being in that environment and seeing all the creative energy that goes into creating this brilliant magazine was absolutely amazing—I couldn't think of anything more inspiring!
Did you feel supported by the tutors on the PG Cert?
The tutors on the course were really fantastic. I always knew I could go to Glenn with any questions and really be able to bounce my ideas off him and uncover what I'd been trying to find all along in my writing. It was so helpful being able to work through the assignments with the tutors and I truly feel like I created the best work I've ever done while being on the course. Being able to get one-on-one advice and guidance from the tutors to help shape your piece is really invaluable.
What particular skills or insight did the PG Cert give you?
I felt like I truly understood the technical aspects of journalism for the first time—the different article formats, and tips and tricks for interviewing and finding sources, and everything I needed to know to be successful in creating great pieces. But beyond that, I felt like the course gave me confidence in my writing for the first time in my life. I was really proud of the pieces I created and it made me realize that this is what I truly want to do for the rest of my life and through Glenn's encouragement I felt like it could actually be a possibility!
Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
In five years I would love to be the deputy editor of a site to manage all of the digital aspects of a magazine, or the social director for a magazine or fashion brand!
Finally, what advice would you give to would-be journalists and editors thinking about applying for the course?
I think this course is the perfect next step for those who want to become editors and journalists. If you feel in that in-between state where you've had some experience and internships but you really want to dive deep into the industry and get a little more work under your belt, this is the perfect experience for that. This course really helped me to get over those nerves I had about whether or not I was ready for this industry, and become confident and proud of my work. It really prepares you for real-world experience, and provides you with a brilliant portfolio for you to kick-start your career with.