After accepting my role as features intern at The Telegraph, it was just a week and a half later that I had a three-hour commute, my first shift and was moving into my new London home all in the same day – and although it may seem like a lot to fit into 12 hours, I couldn’t have asked for a better ‘first day experience’.
The newsroom itself was huge, of course, I expected The Telegraph to have a substantial building but it was hard not to be slightly intimidated by the rows of over thirty desks, screens and large wall projection beholding an up to date flow of news headline after news headline. After an intro to the team from Victoria Harper, the features director and now my new line manager, I settled in quickly – seeing that actually everyone around me were not as intimidating as I thought and were, in fact, perfectly friendly humans too.
Now, two weeks in and after several training sessions and a few pitching meetings, I have successfully gained by-lines for print and digital, not only adding to my portfolio but also boosting my confidence. The team have been guiding me through each new task I have faced, from learning how to create online pieces with digital sections that incorporated images, to actively editing my copy with feedback and suggestions.
Some of the most valuable knowledge I’ve gained has been through purely experiencing the day in the life of a telegraph features writer, joining weekly meetings to pitch idea’s as well as communicating with PR’s and contacts, has been more than insightful.
Looking back, last summer it would have been difficult for me to even imagine myself interning at The Telegraph in London, not for any lack in doubt, passion or want for a career in journalism, but simply due to finances. To get the experience I needed, I had to go to London, but to go to London meant travel costs, accommodation and funds for food – no matter how savvy I was when it came to bulk cooking. I had already strived at other national news and magazine outlets whilst doing unpaid work experience, but it was impossible to stay with them for more than just a week or two at a time, as I this was all I could fund, while still travelling back on weekends to do long shifts at my part time job to get the money to afford them.
One of the most disheartening things is having to decline an offer to come back and contribute again, simply because I couldn’t afford it.
My host is the editor of a top international newspaper, and although busy, he and his wife Victoria, have welcomed me into their home as if I was a long time friend. Chats about journalism and stories about the experiences they’ve gained through the career are never far away when we all get the chance to talk together, plus I can always count on Victoria to ask ‘how was your day at the office?’ with a smile, when I get in.
To get the experience I needed, I had to go to London, but to go to London meant travel costs, accommodation and funds for food – no matter how savvy I was when it came to bulk cooking.
PressPadUK have given me the opportunity to fully engage with the journalism industry, with a home to go to that isn’t a three-hour commute away, a few weekends off to give me time to dedicate time to working on my stories, and such valuable hosts I couldn’t ask for anything more.