So you’ve managed to bag yourself your dream work placement in a newsroom.
Now it’s the day before, and your shaking in your boots fretting over not knowing what’s FTSE and who the President of Malawi is.
How are you going to make a great impression and leave them wanting to see more of you?
Let’s rundown how to make the best out of your one day/one week/fortnight of work experience:
1) Don’t be late.
I generally follow this rule in life anyway, but it’s definitely the number one rule for placements. Don’t stumble in a couple of minutes before or after you’re due to start.
Be prompt and be alert. Setting a good impression from the get-go will give you a great headstart. But – turning up an hour early is also not ideal.
I’d say, if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been before, make sure you leave early to find the place in good time. Then, if you get there super early, just pop in to a coffee shop to pass some time.
Then rock up 15 minutes before your start time, fresh as a daisy and caffeine pumping through your veins.
2) Don’t wear new shoes on your first day.
Blisters and sores? No thank you. Squeezing your feet into some new loafers just aren’t worth the damage.
Plus, no one wants to see you sliding across the newsroom studio floors no matter how shiny and new your shoes may be!
That being said, don’t pull out your old tatty pair either – exercise some effort at least.
3) Carry spare batteries/charger.
The ‘vox-pop challenge’ is an editor favourite so I’ve been told. It’s the easiest task for them to set you and allows the station/channel to ‘understand their audience’.
They just want to see what you’re made of, and judge whether you’re a ‘people person’.
Getting sent out on a rainy, cold day isn’t the best thing in the world, but it’s twice the nightmare if you get to your destination, find a rare voxpopper who’s up for answering a couple of questions on a new housing development, you switch on your recorder and – BAM.
The low battery light flashes twice annnd…your all out. Great.
Grab a few AAs in your satchel, and job’s a good’un.
4) Always carry a notebook and pen.
As you’ve seen above, technology can fail us at the most poignant of times. To save yourself always carry a notebook and pen with you.
They say journalists are always skint, and I reckon it’s because roughly 73% of their entire salary is spent on notebooks! The size of the pad is up to you, but in my opinion a reporters A5 pad is best. Large enough to fit a decent amount of text on, but also small enough to take out on the job.
I can honestly say it’s got me out of a fair few sticky situations, so don’t roll your eyes at life before iPads.
5) Have some spare breakfast/snack bars in your bag.
Because you’ll thank yourself later.
6) Bring an umbrella.
Don’t think you’ll have a spare 30 minutes after your interviews to run back home, fix your barnet and run back to the office.
Such wishful musings aren’t welcome in the newsroom unfortunately.
Save yourself the bad hair day and pack an umbrella in your bag!
7) Learn names.
There’s something charming and professional about someone who remember’s everyone’s name.
The guy at security, the canteen lady, as well as everyone you meet in the newsroom.
It makes them feel good, and you feel professional (plus it’s great for networking).
8) If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Make the most of your placement.
Find that balance between not being a pest and carving out your own experience. If you finish the work you’ve been assigned, then ask for more.
People in the newsroom will often have a lot on their plate and may be happy to delegate some work to you, but may also think your being annoying.
Read your colleagues and make it known that you’re happy to get stuck in and help people out when needed.
But most of all, enjoy it.