Yesterday’s papers, telling yesterday’s news

As a first year journalism student, it’s important to be given an opportunity to experience what your potential future job could be like. I was assigned to work for The Gravesend Messenger in, you guessed it, Gravesend for 5 days from 9am-5pm. It was interesting to say the least.

I enjoyed my time working with great journalists in a lively atmosphere. Day 1 consisted of office work and vox popping, where I would ask people questions on the high street so they can be featured in the newspaper. I wrote a few small stories and started working on a few bigger stories by sending out emails. Day 2 was more or less the same but more stressful. It was deadline day the next day so I had to hurry and finish anything that was to be printed in the newspaper for Thursday.

Wednesday (Day 3) was interesting as I went to Gravesend Old Town Hall where inquests are held. I had to write what the coroner saying so that was a good time for me to write using my shorthand, which I’d been learning all year. It was quite difficult as the coroner’s voice was low and fast so my shorthand was fully put to the test. I then went back to the office and wrote up a story on those inquests.

On Thursday (Day 4), I went to Dartford Magistrates’ Court and witnessed a few cases, some of which were very strange. It was fascinating to see what a court room is like in reality, as opposed to the ones you see on TV shows. I witnessed a variety of emotions in the courtroom, all of which helped me write my assigned stories. Day 5 was much more relaxed as I was just finishing up any stories and taking phone calls for the upcoming newspaper issues.

Overall, the experience was very insightful as I met so many different personalities in one week who taught me about the practical side of journalism. I was given advice and tips while at court and my work was corrected in the office when necessary. I am also happy that I actually went out and did a variety of my own work, such as covering a vape shop opening, or interviewing a team participating in the Moonwalk in Iceland for charity. Although the journey was tiring at times, it was great to feel more independent and informed about my potential future job. It was incredibly stressful at times but it was vital and I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.

– Lara Elcheik, 2nd year Journalism & the News Industry

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