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I’m currently on a placement with a daily newspaper (naming no names). It is my fourth placement, and, since I have built up a thick portfolio, I probably would have been forgiven for thinking they might give me a smidgeon of responsibility. It is Thursday afternoon. I’m still waiting.
Logically, considering that this is probably going on all over the country, it’s hardly fair. This newspaper has me for free, performing menial tasks that they have temps doing too. On Tuesday, I spent seven hours typing up 3,000 GCSE results.
I appreciate that times are hard and that the paper couldn’t afford to hire more temps, but I have a portfolio on the desk that they have blatantly ignored.
Let’s compare this to last week, which I spent at a weekly local. This paper gave me four by-lines, put me in charge of their yearly pull-out, and let me interview Maximo Park, The Apprentice runner-up Claire Young, author Joanne Harris, and Alan Bennett. Two editors studied my portfolio, and they sent me to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to cover an exhibition. The editor gave me advice on the NCTJ, thanked me for my time, and offered me a placement on his other newspaper.
Achievements for today: written up seven news in briefs at 60 words each. Re-checked my two email accounts, blog, and Facebook. Chased up last week’s interviews. Waited. Wrote this article. My biggest responsibility so far this week has been 350 words on lighting firm workers who are doing the Great North Run in Spandex.
It is the same for anyone who is trying to make it in newspapers. It isn’t fair, but I’m grinning and bearing it, hoping that it will stand me in good stead post graduation.
Frustrating is the word, although I can think of some stronger ones.