Now journalism is something I might have considered if the careers service my school used had been slightly more interested in my future. I still daydream, even at this late stage, about becoming a travel journalist/writer. It’s not likely to happen but it’s a fun idea to play with.
Back in 1953 the fictional Janet is more fortunate than I. Her secretarial college runs an optional class in journalism which is the highlight of her week. The only child of older and old-fashioned parents, Janet longs for excitement and a life less circumscribed. She’s overjoyed to be given a job working for a women’s magazine – even if it is just as general dogsbody!
Childish and immature, Janet has much to learn about the world and her fellow human beings as well as her job. Having been overprotected by her parents, she takes others at face value and has little ability to stand up for herself. But gradually she grows up and into her job. There’s the inevitable baddie in the office who knows Janet is a better writer and tries, therefore, to sabotage her prospects. But in the end Janet wins through. Having started working on the fashion pages of the magazine, she finally is given the post of sub-editor for the literary pages.
This was one of my early career books and it gave me a good impression of the genre. Like the Sue Barton books, this is as much a story as a guide to journalism. In fact there’s not really that much technical information in it and Josephine Kamm doesn’t try to cover the profession in all its aspects. The book has all the classic trappings of a school story but moved into the world of work – and with a romantic element too of course. Janet is a credible heroine and her background and friendships are filled in well. I was delighted to meet her again when I read Student Almoner – of which more another time – and chart her progress.