This week, I had a placement at the Bristol Post! Leading up to the week, I was feeling a mix of excited and nervous, but on the day I was a lot calmer than I thought I would be! When I was there though, I was fine, mostly because the reporters I was working with and shadowing were really nice and I got to do some cool things which eliminated any nervousness I had and replaced that was excitement!
On my first day, it’s safe to say I was thrown into the reporters deep end, as I headed to court! I’d never set foot inside a court before, so it was quite exciting for me and I have definitely got a lot out of the experience! One thing I now know for absolute definite, is that shorthand is essential for every newspaper reporter! It was being used everywhere I went, obviously in the courtroom but even in the news meeting that started the day! It is invaluable and definitely something I need to learn!
On Tuesday I went to an inquest, which was something I hoped I’d get to do this week! I have an interest in medical things, which I think has developed from my own experiences in hospital. Plus, I was hoping to get some experience in medical news at some point! Before I went to Coroner’s court I’d only read about it, so when I went then, I learnt a lot more! I learnt about the process of this type of court case, who is there and what they’re talking about and also why an inquest is held and how they are concluded. Afterwards, I tried to write some copy on it but as I’d never written about an inquest before and had only just developed my understanding of it, I found it quite difficult! I’m impressed that I’ve already had the chance to go to Crown and Coroner’s court though! Even by the second day I’d got a lot out of this placement!
My third day was a bit nerve-wracking, but also really exciting as I got to write something that they actually wanted to put on their website! It was about JK Rowling and how her autograph is worth a lot of money. They gave me the information but I wrote it up and it also ended up in Thursday’s paper! (A shorter version as there was less space, but the full copy was put on the website!) It’s exciting as my name is actually printed with it so it’s my first by-line ever! Having an article I’d written in an actual newspaper is so exciting and it will look great in my portfolio!
I also wrote something on Thursday but it was a little more independent and it was a little more difficult to write but I did it and sent it to the reporter in charge of the website that day. It hadn’t been read through or edited by another reporter though, so I didn’t know what stage it was at! But it was wanted for the website and when I checked later it had been uploaded! That was two things I’d written that had been published for a credible newspaper! (Although the second isn’t in the paper, but it’s still exciting!) I also went out with a reporter who was doing door-to-door interviews so I learnt a bit about how to handle that situation and what sort of questions to ask. I then did some research for the other reporters so I felt a little more helpful today than I did earlier in the week! (Finding a mistake in another article also made me feel useful! I pointed it out and they managed to change it online – not sure if I should be saying this though!)
On Friday, I went to an interview with a reporter and learnt some interviewing skills just by observing the interview. We also did some vox pops but they were done differently to how I’ve done them before! My previous experience with them was for broadcast, but for the purpose of print they only needed to be written down and not recorded. I then did some research and compiled a weekend preview of events which was put on the website!
Overall, I’m really happy with how the placement went and it’s really helped me to get an insight into the life of a newspaper reporter! I’m really happy with the experiences I’ve gained this week too, like sitting in on the news meetings and going to court! The fact that I got some writing published is very exciting too! It’s the first official publication of anything I’ve written and will look good in my portfolio! I also met a bunch of lovely reporters who have given me lots of advice and knowledge about the job!
Here’s the things I wrote which were published:
But for now, I need to get some sleep! As a university student I haven’t had to get up at 7AM each day for a long time!