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Campus Celeb: Josephine Franks, Editor of Epigram

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

Josephine Franks is one busy lady. As well as studying for an MA in European literatures, she is the Editor-in-Chief of Bristol’s independent student newspaper, Epigram, which has a staff of 50+ editors and an estimated readership of 12,500. Last Friday was Epigram’s Silver Anniversary Ball at the Bristol Museum, which was a wonderful evening and a celebration of everything the newspaper has achieved in the last 25 years. However, that’s not all Josephine is involved in: last summer, she interned at three different media companies, and the previous summer she led the production of a 24-hour magazine, recruiting and co-ordinating a team of 40 writers and editors (Including last week’s campus celebrity Kirsty Morrissey). She previously studied English here at Bristol and was president of Falstaff Society, before receiving a first class honours. She has also been recognised for her significant contribution to student life, winning the university’s 2013 Convocation Award. This Bristol student is hard-working, dedicated and motivated, and is certain to go places.

You’ve been involved with Epigram for quite a while – what led you to become involved in the first place and what motivated you to apply for Editor?

Well, I’d been reading it throughout first year, and then in second year I was kind of interested in getting involved in the writing side. I really liked the Living section, because of the kind of satirical, tongue-in-cheek approach– that was kind of my style of writing. So that was the first thing I got involved with – the writing, and then I became deputy Living editor in my third year. And then I decided to stay on for a Masters, so I applied for Editor!

I read the issue of Emit that you produced with a team of writers as a 24 hour magazine. It’s an amazing idea – how did it come about?

I actually read in the Observer about a group of journalists in New York who did the same thing, putting together a magazine in twenty-four hours. Though I imagine their budget was a bit bigger than ours! I had quite a few friends who were interested in the same kind of thing- I was president of Falstaff, the English society, at the time, so we kind of made it a Falstaff project, and pulled about 40 people together. It was really fun.

Have you been involved in any other activities or societies during your time at Bristol?

I play violin, so I was in the Chamber Orchestra for three years. I also did Inter:Mission in my third year – I was the Features Editor for a term. I also do a bit of Capoeira. It’s a Brazilian martial art – I’m not very good at it but it’s quite fun!

What would be your dream job after graduating?

[My involvement with Epigram] has definitely made me realise that working in journalism is something I want to do. I think I want to stay more on the production side to editing. So editing a magazine or something like that would be amazing.

Do you have any role models or people who have inspired you?

I guess for me it’s not famous people; it’s more the people around me who I see doing amazing things. For example, one of my friends set up UBTV… and I think people achieving amazing things while they’re still at university is the stuff that I find inspiring, rather than people who have already made it, if that makes sense. I look up to people who are kind of around the same level [as me].

UBTV interviewing Josephine

What has been your favourite Bristol memory?

God, there’s so many! Actually, Emit would probably be one of the best ones, and just that whole summer. I think the summers in Bristol are amazing, when everybody finishes exams. Sadly it always seems to get to the end of the year and that’s when everybody has gelled as a friendship group. But, yeah, doing things like that – I’m definitely putting Emit up there as one of my best memories.

What advice would you give to any students interested in pursuing journalism, or just any general advice that you’ve learned from your time here?

I think just trying out every avenue, because often people think it’s a lot harder to get into it than it actually is. When I first started writing for Epigram, I knew some people who were involved with it so I just sent them an email and they were like “yeah, of course, write something!” People think that it’s this kind of “institution”, when, actually, it’s really easy to get involved. So, I think if you are interested, just pinging out a few speculative emails can actually work wonders.

Finally, do you have any exciting plans for the summer and beyond, once you graduate?

It’s a bit of a question mark, to be honest. I don’t finish until September because I’m a Masters student, so I’ll write my dissertation over the summer. I’ve started looking at topics, but I haven’t decided on anything definitely yet. And then I’m just going to be applying for jobs anywhere and everywhere, I think, so: the big unknown! 


Photo Credits:1, 2, 3, 4

Camilla is a third year French student at Bristol. She co-founded and was editor of Her Campus Bristol last year. She has lived in Ghana, Sri Lanka, Cyprus, the US and Belgium, and having spent this summer working at Walt Disney World, Florida, she is now excited to be embarking on a year abroad working as a language assistant at HEC Paris. She loves sushi, fireworks and old films.