Krissi Murison (BA 2003)

Former Epigram Music Editor, Krissi Murison (BA 2003), joined NME as Staff Writer in 2003. Six years later, she became the first female editor in the magazine’s 57-year history. In 2012, she moved to The Sunday Times Magazine where she is now Associate Editor.

Krissi MurisonWhy did you choose to study at Bristol?

All the reasons you’re not supposed to. I thought it was a beautiful city; it wasn’t Oxford or Cambridge, which I’d decided sounded stuffy; it was only a 90-minute train ride back to my boyfriend at home (obviously, we’d split up by the time I arrived).

What attracted you to a career in journalism?

First of all, I just wanted to write about music. I’d grown up reading Melody Maker and NME and couldn’t believe people got paid to go to gigs, hang out with bands and have opinions about records.

 How did your time at Bristol influence your career? Were you involved in student media or any other student societies?

Massively. I was Music Editor at Epigram which indirectly led to loads of great opportunities: work experience on NME and The Face, and part-time work as a college A&R scout for Island Records. All of which meant I came into contact with some truly inspiring and influential people very early on.

My former colleagues at Epigram still crop up all over the shop too. The Film Editor, Nick Clark (BA 2002), is now the Arts Editor on The Independent. I bumped into the Deputy Sports Editor, Craig Woodhouse (BSc 2004) the other week, who is now Political Correspondent for The Sun on Sunday.

What particular challenges did being the first female editor of NME present?

None whatsoever from being female, but being the editor of a music magazine for teenagers when a) the record industry was in turmoil and had stopped buying ads and b) teenagers were starting to turn away from physical magazines, was challenge enough, thank you.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Convincing the world’s most venerable newspaper to take a chance on a former music journo with terrible grammar and a woeful grasp of current affairs.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenge of your current role at The Sunday Times

The subject matter of The Sunday Times Magazine is very broad, so trying to stay across arts, books, current affairs and social trends is a constant challenge. As is balancing commissioning and editing features with writing them – they require you to be in two very different mindsets.

What advice would you give current students (or recent graduates) looking to pursue a career in journalism?

What are you waiting for? Try to get some work experience (nationals are glamorous but local newspapers are a great place to start), self-publish to prove your chops and pitch, pitch, pitch. You might not get your first idea commissioned, but keep refining and tailoring your pitches to the publication and you’ll get there eventually. Tenacity is key.

Networking is a horrible phrase, but meeting other people in the industry is invaluable (there are countless journalism talks and panels, which are great places for doing this).

You want to make sure you are the person they think of first when an opportunity next arises. Impress them with your enthusiasm and passion, and follow it up the next day with a friendly email. 

If you ruled the world, what would you change?

It would be nice to go back to the ‘90s for a bit to see what journalism was like with an enormous expenses budget, massive editorial teams and lunches that started at 1pm and finished in time for dinner. 

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Kurt Cobain. Or Elvis Presley. Any attractive dead rock stars, basically.

Read more about Krissi's thoughts on British journalism, and how digital advances have had an impact on traditional media, in the Spring 2014 issue of Nonesuch.