How To Succeed on Journalism Work Experience

30 06 2010

Starting out on your first journalism work experience placement.Brighton Journalist Works arranges at least three weeks of work experience for all our NCTJ Fast-Track Certificate in Journalism students. They love it, the employers love them and the whole experience often leads to paid employment.

We’ve spoken to some of our students, to compile a list of useful tips and tricks from those at the front line of the new journalism world, as they begin work experience and paid placements. Here’s what we found:

Work Experience – Ten Top Tips to Success

1. Be on time and be keen. BJW Student James Beale says: “I got the impression from talking to people at the placements that some students come in late, don’t try very hard and don’t put themselves forward for much. You’ll get out what you put in.”

2. Make sure you have read the publication from cover to cover and for more than one issue before you get there. You should know who their reader is and what they’ve covered recently and what they put on each page.

3. Ask how you’re doing. BJW Student Bea Forrest says: “Speak up and ask for feedback because it won’t necessarily be given to you.” Take your boss for a drink towards the beginning and before the end of the placement and thank them for the opportunity and ask them for tips.

4. Ask as many questions as you need to, no one minds answering questions but don’t ask the same questions over and over. “Take a notebook and make notes when things are explained, it saves asking again”, says James Beale. “The more you take their advice on board and work quickly and in the way they want it done, the more pages they will trust you with doing”, says Nicky Slagter.

5. Come in with ideas. Nicky Corfield says: “Keep a notebook of your own ideas for possible stories, or of things you find interesting .It’s helpful to flick through as a resource.”

6. Know your area. If you going in to a regional newspaper know the city, if you are working for a specialist publication know the beat. “Look out for events, signs of new building work, anything that catches your interest could interest other people too”, says Alex Robinson.

7. Check online forums. Alex says: “A lot of what people write on forums is rubbish, but sometimes you can glean information from comments, even if it’s just a rumour you could find something to follow up. People talk about almost everything on forums so it’s also a way of finding out people’s opinions, useful if the topic is news or something newsworthy.”

8. Check Twitter. By searching ‘Brighton’ on Twitter you will get all the tweets that have mentioned Brighton. Twitter is increasingly popular; people often choose to leak exclusive information here first. Student Alex Robinson got an exclusive front page lead that the new Albion stadium was to be called The American Express Community Stadium by checking Twitter and forums.

9. Be ready to answer your phone. Anybody can call in with a story at any time. Be ready with a pen and paper to take key details. Always take a full name and age, ask the person’s occupation and their rough address. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to call back if there is something you missed out.

10. Call around major local organisations that may not necessarily give press releases. Sometimes just by calling a school or social club you can find a story, this can be a good way of finding photo stories or human interest stories e.g. an anniversary.

And finally BJW student Adele Jarrett-Kerr who is now running her own online magazine says: “So far, the two things that have mattered most in my career have been confidence and willingness to learn… I work freelance and I think the work that’s come my way has had more to do with my ‘can-do’ attitude and the hours I put into updating my knowledge than with any technical experience.”




2 responses

2 01 2011
2010 in review «

[…] How To Succeed on Journalism Work Experience June 2010 2 Likes on 5 […]

17 01 2011
How to succed in journalism | OlPera

[…] How To Succeed on Journalism Work Experience « […]

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