Journalism Work Experience – Top 4


If you have an NCTJ and the obligatory 100wpm Shorthand then you might find yourself thinking, where do I go from here?

Obviously many people cannot afford lengthy internships or work experience, so how do you get yourself noticed once you have that first foot in the door and plan on being paid from there on in?

Go the extra mile

This is a cliché which is bandied about so often it seems redundant. However, like all good clichés, there is some truth in it.

Pragmatic steps:

  • On the first day turn up with your own ideas – throughout your NCTJ you would have been expected to source your own stories and this doesn’t finish just because you are in the office and have access to press releases…
  • Take on weekend and evening shifts that other people are not so willing to do.
  • Offer yourself around the Christmas holidays when people would rather be at home and you can be an extra pair of hands.

Fit in well with the team

This is not just with your immediate senior, although staying in their good books is obviously advisable, but everyone from the moment you enter the building – receptionists and other trainee reporters included.

As newsrooms are growing smaller you have to be someone who can work with everyone and not cause tensions and unnecessary gossip in the tea room.

Ask yourself (sincerely) what value you add

For many years, job interviews, the dreaded UCAS form, or that summer job you had at Debenhams, questions such as ‘what can you bring to our team’, set you into an autopilot response of spewing out buzzwords and career service jargon. Now – as a wiser and slightly older job hunter – you should seriously think about your individual character as job worthy skills.

  • Are you chronically organised – diary and lists framing your every move? Although this may just seem like a habit to you, remember this is not the case for everyone and that stands you in good stead.
  • Equally, if you love talking to new people and never find any social situation awkward or blush inducing, then you are a rare breed too

Make yourself invaluable

For example, if you notice that the digital part of the newspaper hasn’t advanced since the mid 80’s and the concept of social media is revolutionary – make yourself the person who sets up the Facebook and Twitter account for your paper, communicate with your readers.

By doing this you have made yourself indispensable to the Editor.

And last, but by no means least, be polite – I’m not sure this needs explanation but you will be remembered for all the wrong reasons otherwise.

If anyone is applying for media work experience or jobs then let me know how you are getting on!