On the 10th April 2017 I began my five days worth of work experience with Portsmouth News alongside the sports team. As my first ever stint in a real professional newspaper, I can honestly say it was an eye-opening and fulfilling experience.
When I arrived at the newsroom, my first thoughts were how relaxed it was. I was expecting the environment to be very frantic and tense as they had to ready their daily newspaper. Instead I was surprised to witness such a calm and welcoming room of journalists, all whom happily welcomed me, rather than, what I imagined would be, a load of people that now have another student to put up with for five days.
After receiving my login details I was immediately given the task of gathering comments from ‘The News’ website where fans of the Portsmouth Football Club left their thoughts on Pompey’s match from the previous weekend. Once I had found a good mix of emotional comments, I then had to insert them into the newspaper template on InDesign where it would eventually go to feature in the sport section of the newspaper, under the caption ‘Have Your Say.’ After completing this straight forward job, I was then asked to watch and transcribe the Portsmouth Ladies manager’s (Jay Sadler) post match interview from their clash against Tottenham Ladies. On top of this, I also had to look at the Portsmouth Ladies’ Twitter feed from the previous weekend to get details from the match so I could then write up a match report. I was quite proud of this piece of writing as it featured only 3 pages in from the back of the newspaper on April 12th, and it was given a sizeable section on the page with my name signed underneath it. This was the first piece of journalism that I had written which had featured in a newspaper, and based on the feedback from my colleagues, it was also pretty good.
As the week continued, my responsibilities were increasing and I was also feeling more confident and at home. Each day after my first consisted of at least completing two match reports from various sporting events, and various other jobs such as gathering statistics on certain football clubs or players, or conducting interviews with organisers or participants from sporting tournaments and competitions.
If I had to be critical about my experience, then the one thing I would point out would be that there was the rare occasion where I would temporarily find myself with nothing to do. Despite always asking, once completed a piece of work, if there was anything else I could help with, I would, on the odd occasion, have to wait around for someone to find something appropriate for me to get on with. Like I said, this very rarely occurred, as 95% of the time I was busy completing a requested task.
Overall, my time at Portsmouth News was a pleasure. I never found the experience to be a chore and it was a perfect introduction for me into the life of a real newspaper. Not only did my time there gift me the chance to feature in their newspaper (3 times to be exact) but it also boosted my confidence going into news days at university. And if you are looking for somewhere to complete your first go at work experience, then I highly recommend Portsmouth News.