Getting published in a newspaper with a byline!
My first day at this work placement began with dealing with an unreliable taxi, the rain and walking around Coventry Canal Basin trying to locate the offices.
Upon an early and nervous arrival, I was taken to the Editorial offices by the News Editor, logged onto the two computers (the mouse cursor moves from one computer to the other!) and given a little advice on how to submit article.
I spent the morning looking through press releases, writing them up and putting them through as ‘Ready to Revise’, then doing it all over again. Once I’d finished one, I’d ask to be emailed another.
To my right sat reporter Alan Harris, and he talked to me about his School Life section in the newspaper, how he chooses letters sent in by readers and his work with university students.
Not long after this conversation, my enthusiasm meant he volunteered to email me some information about free concerts in the West Midlands to condense down.
Next I was sent to report on the strikes by the National Union of Teachers protesting for less observations and an appraisal policy outside the Council House.
Around 70 people were holding up banners with the words “Respect The Teachers” printed on them, rallying around Labour councillors and chanting.
I was appointed the task of interviewing parents and I proceeded to quickly write down anything interesting or significant.
The task was insightful and slightly empowering – parents were talking over one another just to get a quote written down – they were inpatient to speak to me!
My second day at the Telegraph wasn’t incredibly exciting but it felt like a routine (I know, already?!), I knew what was expected from me.
Most of the day was taken up by writing features for charity events or community days. My experience with working at Daily Echo meant I was aware of the slower days within a local newspaper.
Every new day doesn’t bring fun and games, sometimes there’s nothing exciting to report on!
I went through writing around 5 filler pieces for the paper until I realised I typed the dates different to how the other reporters do. I typed “13th July” in comparison to “July 13” – Coventry Telegraph signatory date system.
The minor adjustment made my writing seem more suitable for the newspaper. It was great to be able to notice the little things and change my writing.
I arrived on the 13th with higher aspirations for the day. The editor, Steve Williams had already notified me that this week was going to be a dull/busy one. The lack of staff within the Editorial department meant everyone was juggling so much work.
I took the morning paper and noticed my feature had been published! The 100-word filler was nothing amazing but it was so motivational to see my own work in the daily paper.
I continued the morning by following the photographer around.
We went to a Coventry highway to photograph an accident and then headed to a Pub to photograph a family for their fundraising campaign.
Friday marks the final day of my work experience. I logged onto ContentWatch instantly and noticed another one my pieces had been labelled as “Web Published” so I sat patiently, browsing through BBC’s latest headlines until the daily newspaper was handed to me.
My piece about a Coventry gurdwara fundraising event had been published! The only piece on the page excluding advertisement – 203 words I typed up – printed in black and white.
I researched a few press releases myself, pitched my ideas with the editor and posted it for review.
After speaking to the editor, we decided my piece would include a byline with my name in tomorrow’s newspaper.
This week has proven to be invaluable. I worked 9-5, interviewed people, shadowed the photographer (while tasking snaps for my Instagram!), had my writing published, understood the dynamics behind running a local newspaper and truly experienced the future career I’m striving for.
For anyone wanting to study/work in Journalism, it involves loving what you do. I wasn’t busy every minute of every day this week, some days were evidently slow and mundane but there’s other where you’ll be piled with work.
Polish your shorthand, it’s just so much easier than having to scribble down everything someone’s saying as they peer over your notebook and wonder if you’ll ever be able to transcribe it.