Lovely blog post from MA Journalism student Alice Goacher. Alice is on the MA Journalism course Brighton Journalist Works runs in partnership with the University of Sussex. This is the first year the course has run, but Alice has done so well on the course she has been offered paid work at The Argus before she has even finished her course with us. alicemg.wordpress.com
On Tuesday, March 1 I arrived at Brighton Journalist Works like normal, ready to finish working on my coursework (we’re designing a tabloid page) and do some practice exam questions. After half an hour or so, however, our tutor Pete told me that I could go down into the belly of the beast (I’m paraphrasing) for a day of sub-editing work experience on The Argus’s feature desk.
I had to wait a while to get a password to log in to one of their computers, but soon I was up and subbing. It was quite scary, knowing that I was checking and editing copy for a real-life newspaper, and that the first page I subbed was for the following day’s edition. But I knew that I could do the work; it was the same things I had been doing during the rest of the 10-week subbing course, some of which made me chuckle (that darn red cross in the bottom right of the text box when the copy overflows, for instance).
At first, I found working with a large monitor (I can’t guess at its size; all I know is it is a lot, lot larger, and higher up, than I’m used to) unnerving, as I tend to prefer working almost in secret until I’m happy to show the finished product to anyone. However, the fact that anyone could see what I was doing was actually quite a good thing as in those few hours I became much more confident in using QuarkXpress and trusting myself that I wasn’t producing total rubbish. Added to the fact that the features editor, Kim Protheroe, marks corrections on all the page drafts with a trusty red pen, I got over the embarrassment of making mistakes and not being perfect very quickly.
It was a great day, and I certainly learnt a lot, especially about the style of The Argus and little cheats to get copy to fit and line up nicely. It’s just a shame I can’t use any of those cheats during the BJW exams!
The best part of the day, though, came at the end, when Kim asked to have a chat about how I found the work experience. I told her, of course, that I had a fantastic day and learnt a lot, both about subbing and how The Argus works. Incredibly, she then asked me if I’d be interested in paid work! Obviously, my answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
I had my first full day of work on Wednesday, and again yesterday, and I’m also working next Wednesday and Thursday, too. I can’t do too many hours at the moment as I still have university seminars, but I hope that when these end and I have handed in my essays at the end of April (leaving just my dissertation to write over the summer) I can work more hours, hopefully 3 or 4 days a week. Still, I am grateful for any hours of paid work as it is fantastic experience, and even if I’m not able to get a full- or nearly full-time job at the end of it, it puts me in good stead to get a job elsewhere.
Oh! I nearly forgot to say: yesterday (March 10), this Saturday’s the magazine was printed and I was given a copy (well, two copies, because I was sure my mum would want one!) and saw, on the contents page on page 3, my name! In fact, here is a photo of my name in the magazine. To say I am chuffed is a huge, colossal, stupendous understatement. [If you’re lost, my name is Alice Goacher, last under ‘design and sub-editing’.]