BBC – News & Journalism Work Experience (London)

Location: London

Closing date: August 31st

Welcome to Work Experience opportunities in London within News & Journalism.

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Channel 4 – Commissioning Apprentice, Features

Location: London

Closing date: September 14th

The Features Department is responsible for a wide range of popular factual series, formats and one-offs, including Grand Designs, Embarrassing Bodies and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, as well as managing well-established shows such as Location, Location, Location and Supersize v. Superskinny.

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Making Your Job Application Stand Out

John Fernandez

BBC Guernsey’s John Fernandez – not afraid to get his feet wet for a story

When applying to roles it’s not good enough to simply tick all the boxes in the job description, as the BBC’s John Fernandez explains…

linchpin of the journalistic art is creativity. Whilst in some jobs you can come in to the office and expect to be given a to-do list of tasks to complete in a set way, in journalism it’s different.

You’re expected to come in with fresh ideas and a new perspective on how to do old tasks. You need to be able to offer suggestions as to how to get your audience engaged by making your content completely different to what the competition is doing.

So why, when you’re applying to a job where the employer is looking for an inventive, imaginative thinker, are you making yourself sound as dull as turgid McDonald’s dishwater? Why are you TELLING the employer you are creative? Why not SHOW them?

For example, say you are applying to a job at a website that has a unique style – a way of writing and producing content which makes them clearly distinguishable from the rest. You want a job there and you definitely want to show them you’re the ingenious, idea-driven person they’re looking for.

Sending them a cover letter telling them how creative you are is going to do as much good as sending them a clay possum you made in year nine art class (part of its foot has fallen off now as well, so it’s even less impressive). No, instead of sending them poorly crafted pottery, grab their attention by writing something that THEY would cover, in their style.

It sounds simple, but if you’re unemployed, down in the dumps and firing off job applications from behind your laptop like rounds from a sweaty, juddering machine gun, you often lean towards a formulaic approach. I know what it’s like during those caffeine-fueled  job application sessions – you send a slightly altered CV and cover letter to each employer, hoping it will somehow get you noticed.

Perhaps it will, but if you showcase your resourcefulness and your ability to think out of the box in your application, you’re far more likely to be that candidate from a hundred faceless applicants who they remember and think “Yeah, they’ll do” or, more hopefully, “Wow, they are f***ing amazing, how can they not work for us already?”

We’ve all heard examples of weird and wonderful people doing wacky things to get noticed by employers. Billboard man, for example, or the guy who bought a Google ad to get hired by Google, or even the creator of this interactive CV. And then there’s the man who made a resume look like a search page to get a web development job.

Why not be one of those people, who hooks a potential employer with an incisive display of creativity? Journalists are meant to be creative by their nature. So why do you think you’re going to entice your future bosses with a systematic, rigid cover letter and CV? Be decisive, do something edgy and different.

Pitch a story and an imaginative way of treating it, hire a billboard, do something crazy! The employer wants somebody who is fully qualified and ticks all the boxes – but they also want someone who, from day one, can make their audience excited about their product.

Have you ever done something crazy to get an employer’s attention? And has it worked? Get in touch with us on Twitter @Journograds, or post a comment below!

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The ‘Deep Breath’ Approach To Placements

John Fernandez

Not for the faint-hearted – John Fernandez covers the Guernsey Boxing Day swim for the BBC

Award winning student journo John Fernandez has interned at the likes of the BBC, Kerrang! and Zoo magazine. What are his top tips for standing out?

When you’re on work experience, it’s likely that one question will pass through your mind: “Do I be the busy-body who wants to be everyone’s best mate, or the understated quiet one who badgers along with their tasks dependably?”

So, on your first day, it’s likely that you will try tackling things in one of the following two ways:

Either you charge straight in asking every member of the team you work with whether you can help, or, instead, you sit nervously waiting for your supervisor to give you a task which you take on with every semblance of diligence and finish at the end of the day.

If you are the former, you end up with too much to do, so you may rush your tasks and your work looks a bit slap-dash. If you are the latter, you might not leave any lasting impressions.

Instead, my advice is that you take the deep breath approach. Sit down, take in your surroundings, gather yourself enough tasks to keep you busy at least for the morning and then go about them ensuring that they are done with the utmost accuracy.

Don’t be afraid to marvel them with the mundane as well – show that you can be a dependable photocopier, a hero of the hot beverage and a trailblazing transcriber.

It’s not necessary to try and be everyone in the office’s best mate but keep a watchful eye out and if somebody says something you have an interest in (for blokes football is always a winner) then chip in.

As mentioned, don’t get engrossed in conversation, but let people know you are there and you’re not just another Joe Average.

Another important thing to do is foster relationships. During the work experience, ensure you keep up appearances and are personable enough to keep contact after the placement ends.

Then when you leave if nothing has been said about following the placement up, e-mail someone at the company you got on with and let them know you’re willing to come back and work for free some more.

It shows an eagerness to chip in, a willingness to sacrifice your own time and a real interest in the organisation.

And who knows, if they like you again… well, the sky’s the limit.

Do you agree with John’s advice? Or do you have some tips of your own? Feel free to post your comments below, or tweet us @Journograds

Twitter: A Key Tool In The Journo Job Hunt

Michaela Walters

Michaela Walters in the Capital FM news studios

Michaela Walters has completed an internship at one of the country’s leading commercial radio stations. She shares some of her key tips for journo job seekers…

When I graduated in July last year I had already tested the journalism waters by gaining work experience at The Jewish Chronicle, West Essex Life and spending time on BBC Radio 1’s Community reporter scheme.

By the time I graduated I knew I wanted a job in the media. I was open-minded about trying different things and, because of the competitiveness of the industry, I knew that I had to be!

I wanted to get a feel for different areas of the industry first, so I focused my applications towards internships rather than jobs.

I sent out countless applications (seriously, I lost count). A month or two after completing a general online internship application form for Global Radio (which owns Capital FM) I was asked to interview for a three month social media internship – which I bagged!

I worked on all aspects of Capitalfm.com and learned the basics –  I wrote news stories, conducted picture research, sat in on interviews, built photo galleries, used their CMS and continued to learn about how to best utilise social media to grow brand awareness and drive traffic to a website.

Use Others As A Resource

I was sure to take advantage of the valuable knowledge that those around me had. It is very easy to feel like you’re bothering people by asking for help, but really, most people are more than happy to share their knowledge.

At Global, as soon as I realised how much there was to learn from others with more experience, I asked to be taught, including asking for quick lessons in Photoshop and SEO – anything that would enhance my knowledge and add to my CV.

In addition to the technical know-how I picked up, my experience at Global Radio taught me to seize opportunities and be open-minded. Working in social media hadn’t crossed my mind before I took the internship, but the knowledge that I have gained has definitely put me ahead in the world of online journalism.

I now have a strong CV and feel confident that I have the relevant experience to apply for the online journalism roles that really appeal to me.

Some Jobs Aren’t Advertised

There are two bits of practical advice that I would give to those in a similar journo job-hunting boat to my own: The first is to use all of the tools that exist in our web and social networking world to your advantage.

Connect with people on LinkedIn, look at their career path, message them asking for advice, inquire if they need an extra pair of hands in the office.

If there is a magazine or newspaper that you would love to work for, find the editors and the junior writers on Twitter and follow them – we live in an age where it is so easy to network with people without even meeting them. You’ll be shocked at how many jobs don’t make it on to job sites but rather are posted out from personal Twitter accounts.

I regularly take a few minutes to search for ‘Editorial Intern’, ‘Online Assistant’ or ‘Journo Job’ on Twitter – and almost every day at least one exciting tweet catches my eye.

The best bit is that I know a large number of people looking for similar roles to me haven’t even seen it, because the role never made it to a job site. (Have I just given my best kept secret away?)

Follow the person, tweet them back, email them applying to the role. That is exactly how I found my next role – a two month internship at Hearst Magazines, which I began this week.

Don’t Give Up!

The second piece of advice I have (and it is advice that I admittedly sometimes forget to take myself) is – try not to be disheartened. This is a tough industry.

The vast majority of things I apply for, and people I write to, I don’t hear back from. But like a good journalist would – keep digging. Every so often one person will get back to you, and one person is all it takes.

Do you agree with Michaela about the power of Twitter? Has it helped you find work or internships? Feel free to leave your comments below. You can follow Michaela on twitter @MichaelaWalters

Out And About As A News Desk Intern

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Not all suit and ties – Artur Osinski out collecting GVs for a package on the construction of a new port

What’s it like working at the news desk of an international TV broadcaster? In his latest post, journo grad Artur Osinski talks about the second leg of his internship at CNN…

After my stint with Quest Means Business and Connect the World, I am now well and truly immersed in the operations of the busy CNN news desk.

The day starts with an editorial meeting at 9am, where representatives of every department and programme gather to discuss the news agenda.

During this we connect with our different bureaus via a video conference call. This is a fantastic experience where you get to see journalists from all around the world (Hong Kong, Dubai, Atlanta, Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg) sharing stories and shaping CNN International’s coverage of news.

My duties throughout the day are in many aspects similar to the ones I had in the programmes part of my internship, such as research, transcribing and contacting people for interviews. I do, however, get the opportunity to go out more often for shoots as well.

Sometimes I accompany reporters, whereas other times I am out there by myself with the cameraman. In these scenarios my role is to help the channel in any capacity possible. This means being the link between the outside world and the news desk – whether this is making sure it’s clear what shots we need, liaising with any PR officials on the spot and getting vox pops.

After we come back from a shoot, I’m then responsible for making sure the footage is ingested into the system. As always in television, there is a constant fight with deadlines to make sure all the material is in on time to get to air.

The job can be very varied at times. I’ve covered press conferences for political stories (including one held by the Foreign Secretary William Hague and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry), I’ve been to the headquarters of Eidos in London (creators of the famous Lara Croft game Tomb Raider) and to the building site of a new deep-sea port (see picture above).

One morning I watched Becky Anderson interviewing former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the father of Malala Yousafzai, while in the evening I accompanied her on live stand-ups outside the O2 Arena during a Justin Bieber concert.

One of the personal highlights of my time at the news desk came almost at the beginning, when a story broke of a diamond heist at the Brussels airport. No-one could reach the airport’s spokesman, but through perseverance I managed to get to him through his office and was able to confirm various crucial facts.

My information was used on the CNN wires and an hour later the network interviewed the spokesman live on air. After that the information I’d gathered was used in an article for CNN’s website, which you can read here.

Perhaps the ultimate pat on the back was the e-mail I received from the supervising editor saying I’d done a good job.

Would you like to intern at CNN? The broadcaster is currently looking for a digital features/special projects intern. If you want to share your own experiences as an intern, send us an email or get in touch via Twitter @Journograds

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