Work Experience at a Local Newspaper

13th June 2019

I wanted to share what I have been up to the past two days. I have had the best work experience and I wanted to share all about it here. πŸ˜€

Obviously, with my NCTJ Course starting in September 2019, I was advised by my wonderful Tutor-to-be, Dani, to look around for work experience that I can do prior to it. This way I would get some much needed experience and I could really see how it all worked, or at least a portion of it.

I have spent many months emailing various companies, agencies, broadcast companies, etc and I was lucky enough to get two days work experience at the Express and Star in Wolverhampton. I spoke to a lovely lady who explained what times I had to be in and when. One of the things that I have been doing a lot of is reading up on work experience tips. I read, googled, youtubed and digested as much information as possible, so that I was ready when my ‘time to shine’ days came around. I already knew from all of my research that I would benefit if I came to the newspaper with a story idea already in hand. So I found my story and sourced the information before I went.

On Tuesday 11th June, I finished at my job of 15 years. Although my time there had ended, I left with a host of transferable skills, which came in very handy when it came to working at the newspaper.

So yesterday morning I got my boys into breakfast club, called a taxi (I wasn’t driving to Wolverhampton with all those roadworks) and I arrived at reception of the Express and Star at 9.00am. I was immediately greeted by a very friendly receptionist who provided me with a co-tag for getting in and out of the doors. I was the taken up to the office where I would be working by one of the reporters. The nerves were immense! I was shaking, yet trying to remain cool as a cucumber. I was immediately sat at a desk with a laptop and monitor. Literally half an hour after I had got there, I was writing my own piece, the one I have been gathering the information for. The reporter I was shadowing was very impressed that I had brought something with me to work on. But he also gave me a couple of picture stories to write articles for.

Of all the things I expected my work experience to be like, I never once expected that I would be writing articles myself. I was in heaven! Literally! I felt like I had completely arrived! The piece I had brought with me to work on was so important to me, and I wanted to make sure I got it right. I worked on that, aswell as the other articles that I was given.

Part way through the day, I was asked to go out and have a walk around some of the shops and businesses around the centre. There are some road works currently that are affecting trade for some of the owners, and I was asked to go and gather any comments that they may have. It was so interesting getting out and talking to people about their views. It really did make me realise how important it will be for me to learn shorthand though, it would have helped so much more if I could have been quicker at getting the quotes. I spoke to some interesting people and I felt like I was helping them in a way, I was allowing them to have a voice. I took all of the comments back with me and handed them into the reporter who was writing the article. I had some fantastic feedback from the other reporters about the comments I had managed to get and it had me buzzing. I was so thrilled. My first day went so quickly, although I did struggle to find my way with the system that they use, which is called The Knowledge. One of the female reporters who sat opposite was so open and friendly and despite being mega busy with her workload, she helped me to get to grips a little bit with the system.

I feel like the work I did at the council really helped me with this job. Despite being a bit thrown by the system they used, it took me hardly any time at all to figure out how to use it. I took it upon myself to answer the telephones and to send messages, and I was happy to do any task that they asked me to do. I felt like I floated out of the building yesterday and I really couldn’t way to go back again today.

I almost skipped into the offices when I got out of the taxi this morning. I got to the express and star offices at 9am and I made my way to the same desk, logged in and I felt completely at home. I introduced myself to the Deputy Chief Reporter and she gave me a picture article to write up (this included me getting comments from sources and writing it up from scratch). At the same time I had the previous days picture article to shape and I also had my story to complete. The help and support I got today was amazing, I sat with one reporter and she went through the story I had brought in with me and although it needed tweaking in parts to tie in with the newspapers style, she told me that it was a really good piece and very well written. The same was said by the Deputy Chief Reporter when I asked her to check over the article I wrote in connection with the photograph she had sent me. I was elated. This job was exactly what I wanted to do. I was still speaking with the public, which is the one part of my previous job that I loved…and I was creating stories. The fact that the staff I worked with seemed so pleased with the work I did, really helped to make these two days amazing! The time went by so quickly. I left on good terms, thanking everyone for their support and told them I would be available again if they wanted me back. I would be keen to try working in other areas, like attending court or working on the entertainment section. I loved every second of my work experience and really hope I can sort out some more very soon.

One of the highlights was when I found out that my story would have my byline when it is published. A photographer has been booked for next week and then it will be put together with the words I created and fingers crossed it will show my name.

I really cant wait to get into this industry.

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