What I've learned on my media work experience placement

Media work experience
Abi is interested in a career involving writing so she spent her year 10 work experience at media company GTI, working with a team of writers and editors. Here’s what she learned during the week.

Being a year 10 student, I had never experienced what it’s like to work at all, let alone in an office for a large company, until I did a five-day work experience placement at GTI Media. GTI specialises in advising school students on career and university options with its TARGETcareers website as well as helping university students make career choices with its TARGETjobs website.

Why I chose to do my placement in the editorial department

I think I want to go into a career involving writing when I’m older but luckily, I still have a while to decide. Writing and reading have always been two of my favourite things so when faced with the decision of where I wanted to do my work experience, I chose to spend a week with the editorial team at GTI.

Editorial work here mainly includes writing up advice for school students regarding a range of subjects such as choosing a university, revision, A levels and apprenticeships. Editors also do jobs such as copy-editing, researching and interviewing employers. This seemed like it would be a good way for me to spend my week as this way I could see what would be expected of me in an editorial career and talk to people who work in these fields.

Tasks I did on my media work placement

On Tuesday, I wrote an article titled ‘My top tips for choosing your career’ which was an advice column for 15–18 year old students who didn’t know what career to pursue. I found this super helpful as not only did it give me experience writing a proper article on a relevant topic, it also made me think about my future career and consider the huge range of options available to me. I also found it useful to receive feedback on my writing as I learned more about how to structure an article, for example that you don’t need to write a conclusion and that smaller paragraphs and subheadings make the piece more appealing to the reader.

Another skill I learned there was how to interview properly. I had never interviewed someone before and didn’t realise it was a big part of a job in editorial. I was told to write a list of questions but was given the freedom to choose what they were about and how I wanted to group them. When it came to the interview, I was given a small recording device, which I found useful as I could listen to the interview again and pause it at times to write notes about the answers I received. I then used my notes to write up an article on ‘How to write a book in your spare time.’ I chose this angle for my article because my interview had been with a senior editor at GTI who is also a published novelist and writes books in her free time. I liked that I was allowed to choose my own approach for the piece rather than being told exactly what to write about.

Another task I did was competitor analysis, which was looking at GTI’s opposing companies’ websites and making notes about what was good and bad about their content. This was useful because it improved my note-taking skills and my ability to judge what sort of content is good, bad or worth having, and what the TARGETcareers website needed to add in order to progress.

I also got the chance to speak to a journalist who currently works at GTI, which was really beneficial as journalism is one of my potential career options. I learned about ‘news values’ and what needs to be in your writing in order to attract people to read it. These were things such as conflict and human interest. If you don’t include a few of these things in your news story, it can be uninteresting and people may be inclined not to read it.

The next steps after my work placement

After my placement, I am going to research the A level options I would need to take to have a career in editorial work and what options there are regarding university or an apprenticeship. Researching other writing-related careers, for example marketing, could also prove useful.

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