(Original post by Angelil)
This. Even despite experience, though I had a horrible time trying to break into the industry - I don't have a journalism qualification, but I did do all of the other things you're supposed to do, such as writing constantly for university publications (meaning academic publications as well as uni rags), keeping two critical blogs (one since 2007 and one since 2008) and getting professional work experience (at IPC in London). Could I get anything journalism related? Could I jack (failed to secure an internship at a local newspaper, and my experiences with trying to get into freelance journalism were terrible - people give you the same old crappy excuses about budget and space, play mind games with you, and are just plain rude to you). Too much effort and stress for too little gain in my opinion - I'm not prepared to take that kind of attitude from people when I could probably expend more time and energy on novel-writing and perhaps get further with it. Just shows that even experience is not enough, so if I were you, OP, I'd also have a plan B at the ready.
I actually feel your pain, seriously. It does seem that experience, luck, contacts, being in the right place/right time combined are needed to crack it as a journalist.
Can only speak from my own experience. I've been fortunate enough through a mix of all of the above factors to get a decent amount of experience with student journalism, then get a recommendation to do work at the BBC, followed by a few stints of work experience/guest appearances on radio, followed by securing a part time job there. As well as being incredibly lucky to get to speak to some senior people at national newspapers and land an internship this summer. You do need to be incredibly thick skinned if this industry is the one for you. Its incredibly damaging hearing the same ol' excuses every single time but its something you have to be able to grin and bear and come back to fight another day. That said cracking a national paper as a grad, the chances are v.slim, words of an editor at the guardian, not mine.
But with regards to the OP, I do not believe for a second that a journalism MA will take you anywhere b/c everyone I've met in the industry [FT, BBC, Guardian, Times, Observer, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters I could go on with this list] bar one person has a journalism/communications degree and that was from the LSE.
I remain unconvinced about the freelance route myself which is why I won't ever consider it. Give me [if possible a full time job, even if the pay isn't WOW and the chance to progress and its more than enough to do well in the industry].
Unfortunately, with respect to Angeli's experience having a plan B is certainly recommended.