After deciding at the end of year one that journalism perhaps wasn’t the career for me, I now find myself asking, why not?
The last six months have prepared me well for the world of work. This website alone has given me the opportunity to be proud of what I write, to develop real-life skills and to show my work to potential employers. For me, work experience has certainly made me question further why I don’t want to be a journalist.
I began the month working as a reporter for my local newspaper, the Halifax Evening Courier. My expectations of work experience were relatively low. I thought I would spend days making tea, stapling and filing papers just for the sake of it and possibly shadowing a reporter on a few stories. How wrong I was.
I had my own desk, my own phone, my own computer and most
importantly my own stories to do. I wasn’t bored, I didn’t make
tea, I didn’t staple things - I actually worked as a journalist!
The stories I reported on included charity events, local MBE
announcements and my first obituary. My shorthand was
definitely put to the test and it really helped with the speed in
which I could work. The first thing any editor or reporter would
ask me was if I had shorthand and so it is well worth pursuing.
I left the newspaper after two weeks with over 25 by-lines, a
confidence boost and a sense that perhaps journalism was
The main press office of West Yorkshire Police was where I
headed for my next placement. I have always been interested
in the work of the police and so working in the forces media
department seemed like an exciting opportunity.
Indeed it was. The press office in the police head quarters in
Wakefield manages all the district offices across West
Yorkshire and is the main port of call for the national press.
The role shared many similarities to journalism as I was writing for an in-house, monthly police magazine and reported on events and the work of the police in the way I am used to. I also learnt how to write effective press releases, as well as issuing crime appeals with images I’d taken from CCTV footage.
I feel I gained what I put into my work experience placement, better writing skills, improved confidence in the work place and I am generally more optimistic about finishing university in the not so distant future.
By Amy Swift, Deputy Website Editor
More JMU Journalism stories
Halifax Courier office (pic by Chris Hester, courtesy of Flickr); A selection of police press releases
A selection of my stories, which I wrote for the Halifax Evening Courier