Shortly after I graduated from Brighton Journalist Works in April I was lucky enough to land a position with the Crawley News. I had no previous experience other than what I’d learnt on the course but after impressing the editor while on work experience at a sister paper I was handed a trial. Proof that hard work and initiative mean far more to an editor than what’s on your CV.
Since then I have found myself thrown in at the deep end. Fortunately I found I can swim far better in a metaphor than I can in reality.
Being a reporter is an amazing job. In six months I’ve covered a wide range of stories. I’ve found myself challenging a toothless pensioner to a “gurn off” for a feature; I’ve photographed an immigration raid by the UK Border Agency; and I’ve found myself travelling half way across the country to interview with a man who was tortured for more than three days at a house in Crawley.
I think it will be a long time before the thrill of seeing my name on the front page begins to dull.
If you go out on work experience don’t wait to be given something to do. Otherwise you will find yourself sitting there like a lemon. Newspapers are inundated with requests for work experience and the ones who show initiative will be the ones who get recommended when positions become vacant. Search for your own story or feature ideas before you get there. That way you can show you know what you’re doing (even if you feel like you don’t!). I felt out of my depth for the first couple of months but you learn as you go and everything you are taught at the Journalist Works will give you enough to get started. The rest is up to you.