As you all know, getting your foot in the door is always tricky in the world of journalism. We have all experienced the trials and tribulations of securing work placements, getting published or finding that elusive graduate job. But what better way to make contacts and get a feel for the real world of journalism that spending a few hours in a media organisation – no strings attached? My fellow Brunel journalism students and I recently got to do just that, inside the bustling world of the Guardian.
Our Global News Analysis tutor John Mair worked his magic and secured us not only a guided tour, but meetings with various journalists from a variety of fields. If you are on a journalism course, ask your tutors and see what they can arrange, or try it yourself.
Martin Fletcher, associate editor at The Times recently told us: “Just find the office of the organisation or newspaper you want to work for, go to reception, give your card and ask if you can look around the building. You may be told to go away but you may just get lucky. It’s worth a shot.”
We were greeted by Sarah Hewitt (editorial manager, national, international news and politics) who is responsible for project budgets and the general logistics of everything that goes on at the Guardian.
Before entering journalism Sarah worked as a meteorologist in the military. Her career with the Guardian began with the Guardian supplement, before moving to the family section then news.
Her top tips:
After a short talk from Sarah we were introduced to James Hislop, the assistant G1 editor. He showed us the newspaper’s flat plan (which shows all the pages and content at one glance) and explained how and why they work their content around advertising.
We then sat down with Emma Graham-Harrison, an Afghanistan correspondent who spent two years working in Kabul.
Emma, who is fluent in Mandarin and Spanish, was Afghanistan bureau chief for Reuters and her degree in Chinese Studies enabled her to spend six years covering China from Beijing.
Her top tips:
It was time to move up a floor, this time to the multimedia section. We were introduced to Alok Jha, a science correspondent and Laurence Topham, a video producer, who have only just returned from the Guardian’s Antarctica expedition.
They spent two months there, exploring the effects of climate change. With Alok writing a daily blog and various features for the Guardian and Laurence making short videos for ‘Antarctica Live’ alongside documentaries, they had a lot to take on. It was no easy mission and their ship became trapped in ice over Christmas. Luckily, help was close to hand and they were airlifted to safety.
“We wanted to report what was happening now,” he said. “A penguin once walked straight up to us and people in London could experience that too because of the live feed. But the most important thing for us was that we helped bring Antarctica and climate research back into the headlines,” he added.
Finally, we were given a short presentation by Shiv Malik, a national news reporter, who spoke to us about citizen journalism.
His top tip: