Monday, 10 September 2012

My Week as a Journalist!

As I think I might have mentioned before, possibly in my first ever blog post where I just introduced myself and whatnot, I said that I maybe wanted to be a journalist when I was older. Then, just before the summer holidays began, we got to pick where we wanted to do a week's placement through our school.

What that really means is for one week, you go to 'work' rather than attending school and you get to see what it is really like to work for a living. You don't wear school uniform or anything, and you have to go in to wherever your placement is at a specific time in the day and it is almost like you work there. Now my school is really good when it comes to work experience. There was a good range to choose from, such as primary school teaching, lifeguard, chef, shop assistant, hairdresser, vet, scientist, and the one that suited me - a journalist. There is limited places for each placement, only two spaces; One person goes one week, one the week after.

I was really lucky and was allowed the one I wanted - a reporter for the local newspaper. So on Monday morning of this week, off I trotted to the paper's office in my town ready for my first day of work. My hours were 10am till 4pm, which is not bad actually - extra hour in bed! I was so incredibly nervous going in through the door on the first day. I had no idea what the people were like, if they were nice or not. I didn't even know what the office looked like on the inside. I didn't know what I was going to be doing for the week. I didn't know if I was wearing the right thing or if I was too underdressed or not (outfit post to come!). All in all, it was extremely nerve-wracking!

Once I got inside, I was shown around the place, not that it was very big (I could see everything from my seat!) and then sat down at a computer and given some mighty tasks. Yep, I had been there all of two minutes and already I was given two articles to write. Did they know if I was any good at writing articles? No they did not. Despite this, off they went back to their seat while I sat quivering by my desk thinking, "Oh god, oh god."

I did eventually get over the initial shock of how much free reign they were giving me and got on with my tasks. I found that I did actually enjoy doing it. I got to write a good few articles, a lot more than I was expecting! I thought I would be taking more of a backseat and just observing how the place works but it was almost like I truly did work there!

My town is small, so as expected, the office is small with minimal staff. But there was one girl there who was absolutely lovely. Her name was Harriet, and she had recently graduated from university after doing a degree in English and a post-grad in Multimedia Journalism. So she was in her early 20s I would say, and the youngest person there. Therefore, she was the person I could relate to most and I just sort of stuck by her. She took me out when she was interviewing people and I interogated her about everything there is to know about journalism and uni courses. She gave me some really good advice at starting out as a reporter and the different choices of things to do at uni and what would be the best and what you learn and all that jazz. She was amazing. It would have been much less enjoyable without her there to show me the ropes and give me a hand when I needed it.

By the end of the week, I knew I was going to miss being there. I don't want to go back to school tomorrow! I am going to go to Asda later on and buy a thank-you card and post it through the letter box. They were really great and I learnt so much. The editor even said that I could maybe do a little article for them every couple of weeks - like a 'teen talk' sort of thing - which was really nice of him! I will most certainly be grabbing that opportunity. When it comes to applying for universities (if I do decide to go for journalism), being able to put down on my application form that I write for the '....... Gazette' (don't want to put the name, that would be basically like giving away where I stay) it will really get me that foot in the door.

Overall, my week's placement at my local newspaper has been really beneficial to me. The amount of information that I learnt is unbelievable. I had to write it all down because there was so much that I knew I was going to lose track of some of it! I really feel like I have come out of it a much better writer, and it has just about convinced me that journalism is what I want to do!

Here are my tips for if you are doing work experience, or maybe even starting a new job:

  • Act confident. First impressions count!
  • Contact the organisation first before you arrive, just to introduce yourself and confirm any details.
  • Never hesitate to ask any questions. That's what they expect you to do!
  • It's fine to make a few mistakes at first. No one is expecting you to be perfect!
  • Be polite but don't be afraid to open your mouth! Talk to the other employees and get to know them.
  • If you finish your task, ask for another! Don't waste time doing nothing.
  • If you are thinking you would maybe like to do this job at some point, ask where the best place is to study and what courses are best.
  • Most of all, don't look bored! If you look like you are enjoying yourself, they might even ask you back!
If your school does not do work experience, then go out and find some! Contact different employers and try to find somewhere that will allow you to do some work for them. I am sure companies would be happy to have someone work for them for free! Work experience looks great on CVs and application forms so the more you do, the more benefit it will have! 

P.S I am thinking of making a Twitter account specifically for my blog. Good idea, or not so good? I already have a personal one (@HollyMckie) but I don't tweet anything about my blog because not everyone knows about my little baby. So let me know if I should do it, and if you would follow! In the meantime, follow my personal twitter (pretty pretty please with a cherry on top?)

1 comment

  1. Awesome tips! :)
    I have a personal twitter and made one for my blog but don't keep up with it so much :/ Lol, it's hard to manage more than one, so if you're up for the time commitment go for it



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