By Tiffany Clarius
Music journalist, Stephanie Jensen, answers some important questions about music journalism for those who are thinking about pursuing this as a career.
Stephanie Jensen graduated last year in December from the University Of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in English Writing. She chose to pursue music journalism as her profession and the genre of music she specifically chose was metal. She has interned for different music websites such as Age of Metal, where she still writes today. Stephanie Jensen agreed to answer some questions about her experience in the industry.
In your opinion, how different is it being a music journalist in specifically the metal industry compared to other music genres?
Well the metal industry doesn’t pay as much, but we’re a very tight-knit community. I’ve worked in other genres of music and they don’t have the same kind of passion that metal does. The reason being there’s no commercial hype on metal music, so metal fans are involved in the metal genre because of individual love of the music. So, ultimately when you interview bands you’re talking with a down-to-earth, overall friendly, and passionate individual. And when you’re reviewing an album or a live performance you know this is something the musician(s) put their heart and soul into. As opposed to other artists in the mass media who are more focused on gaining wealth.
What are some setbacks you’ve experienced as a journalist?
The main issue I’ve experienced is getting a job. And by job, I mean paying. It’s easy to do press for a show, but the paying opportunities are scarce.
What made you choose journalism for your career path?
I remember I went to a show when I was younger, and a friend of mine and I were trying to get backstage. The gate opened one time and a woman came out with a tour laminate. I stopped her and asked where she got it. She said she’s a journalist and interviewed the band. I thought it was so cool you could just talk to a band and be able to, not only get in for free, but get in backstage. I ended up collecting magazines, started to follow websites, and eventually made my own connections to where I could start doing press.
What words of wisdom would you give aspiring music journalists?
I would say it’s not an easy industry to get in to. You have to do a lot of volunteer work your first few years. But if this is what you want to do, then you’ll find a way. Even if that’s starting your own company. But I promise you along the way you’ll meet amazing people, do press for awesome artists, visit cool places, and have fun.
If you have an interest in journalism, try taking some of SPC’s journalism and mass media courses or writing for The Sandbox News!