What I Learnt On My Reuters Placement

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Amber Holland did a placement with Reuters in 2013

Amber Holland gives an insight into her placement at one of the world’s most recognised news organisations…

If you’re on work experience at Reuters, your duties will very much depend on the news agenda. During my time there I had the chance to work on a variety of stories, from Nelson Mandela being admitted to hospital to the imminent arrival of Prince George.

I was taught how to use different editing platforms and was given the opportunity to edit old library footage of the former South African President into sellable packages. I also learnt several shooting techniques and found out just how hard it can be to perfect that ‘crisp but not brisk’ voice-over.

The great thing about my placement is that I wasn’t just learning new skills – I was also making a contribution to Reuters’ coverage of the stories I worked on. For example, I was involved in researching the latest trends in pregnancy fashion in anticipation of the birth of the royal baby – and when the big day happened, it was really exciting to see the figures I collated being used.

During my placement I spent time in all different departments, from the executive floor to the heart of the newsroom. This meant my duties sometimes entailed the less glamorous activities as well, like carrying around camera stands or filing documents – but even tasks like these taught me something. As I organised countless files from photographers from all around the world, it made me appreciate the sheer scale of the Reuters newsgathering operation – so don’t dismiss the menial stuff!

You should also be prepared to take in as much as you can from every department possible. Even if your heart is totally set on being a journalist, you should try and find out what other employees within the company get up to. Spending time in the edit suites for live broadcasts, for example,  will help you understand how reports come together. 

Doing this made me realise just how important these guys are to the process – their talent is astounding and their ability to think on their feet (particularly when certain feeds might not be working) is impressive. If you ask questions you might even learn more about some of their editing techniques, which could always prove useful at a future point.

No matter what you end up doing, the key thing to understand is that there will always be opportunities to experience some really amazing things if you grab them. When in the newsroom, make sure you ask for phone numbers, email addresses and business cards. 

Then at the end of the day, drop those people a quick text saying thank you. That way they will remember you and are more likely to offer you stuff to do the next day. This really helped me pick up extra duties and it was because of this that I was lucky enough to be called back out on shoots on numerous occasions.

By continually asking if I could be of any help to anyone, I was given the opportunity to work on sound and lighting during interviews at press conferences, and even got to film the auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding dress at Christies.

My placement really was action-packed and I felt I learnt a lot. My best advice for anyone else who is fortunate enough to spend time at Reuters would be to keep in touch with the contacts you make there.

Once you are finished, be sure to send an email thanking everyone you got to work with because, you never know – these people could be your potential employers in the future. 

Have you taken part in a placement recently? Get in touch if you’d like to blog about your experiences! For more from Amber Holland, you can follow her on Twitter @funkyredhead98

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