My time in the shoes of a working print journalist

SO basically as part of one of my uni modules, we had to undertake 10 days of work experience.

Considering I study Journalism, you’d think meeting new people, talking to people and what have you would be the easiest thing for me, well surprisingly it isn’t.

I get SO anxious around new people. It’s a flaw I’ve gathered along my 22 years but one I’m slowly dealing with. YUP. I am learning to socialise with folk I have never met before. HALLELUJAH, there is hope for me. BLA BLA BLA.

Anyway, since moving back home, I’ve found myself living in a place that I no longer recognise. The Burger King has now adjusted into a Starbucks, the field I once used to play in as a kid has now become a bypass and well Joan the shop lady no longer hands me my change in Co-Op. So instead of heading back to the big Cardiff city, I decided keeping it close to home would help me get me up to speed on things once again. (Living in Cardiff for the last 4 years has made me feel like I’ve abandoned good old Carmarthenshire.)

So I was lucky enough to work with the South Wales Guardian in Ammanford.

Ammanford has always felt like home to me. I remember scoffing chip buttys in the cafe in Shoppers World all those years ago when my dad was still here. I remember thinking Ammanford Park was the best place in the whole wide world, to the point where my Dad had to tell me that someone had stolen it; just so I stopped asking for him to take me there.

The little mining town does hold some dear memories for me, therefore it was nice to have a little insight as to what the town is like now.

Being really into music, I’d always had my heart set on radio after uni. (I guess I’ve always been jealous of Fearne Cotton, jammy bitch. OR I’ve always pictured myself as a female Huw Stephens. He’s cool.) Anyhow, working at the newspaper inspired me to try and broaden my journalistic skills and horizons.

I’ve always been the girl with the plan, therefore I guess working for something I’d never pictured myself doing has been really beneficial for me.

Whilst there I really did have a blast. Working with a small (3 in fact!) team of skilled journalists, it was nice to have an insight into the days of being a professional writer.

As I sit here writing on one of those many social media sites, it was interesting to see the impact they have on the printing world. Newspapers 50 years ago used to be the way ‘Stan’ got his daily intake of news, however these days we are so connected with the world, we are able to receive news right as its breaking. Newspapers are no longer the first point of call, and instead act more like summaries of the day, week and even months.

What really surprised me is the difference between then and now.

When even considering studying Journalism, the 16 year old me pictured the coffee machine calling on a Monday morning, the big tabloid newspaper with the 1000 journalists team fighting over the cover story. However, what I noticed more than ever is that times are changing drastically.

I’m constantly told by my university lecturers that gaining and maintaining strong contacts with people are crucial when working as a journalist, and working with the South Wales Guardian was no different. It may sound obvious, but speaking to people really is the be and end of Journalism. From one person you could gain a whole heap of stories or more contacts. Knowing people really is the key. Contacts can even go by the people you socialise with on social networking i.e. people you follow on Twitter, Instagram or befriend on Facebook. Being a social butterfly will set you up in the Journalism world.

Attention to detail is important, facts are the most important bit and yeah you really need to brush up on your Media Law if you don’t want to go down for contempt of court or libel.

But if all else fails.. drinking enough coffee will get you by.


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