Lifestyle | My First Week at The Observer.

Since my mum was about 14 she had wanted to be a journalist and that is exactly what she went on to do. She started off locally in the North East by working for The Durham Advertiser Series before moving to The Northern Eco and then the Newcastle Chronicle and Journal. She worked her way up breaking through several glass ceilings, becoming the first female news editor and then assistant editor at her newspaper group, from there she went on to become Deputy Editor and Editor of Wales on Sunday. By the 90s she moved to, what was then called ‘Fleet Street’ (a street in the City of London, where most mainstream newspapers were until the 1980s), working for papers such as The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Times, The Sunday Express and The Observer. (So no pressure there then) When I started university (my degree is in Town Planning by the way) I started writing for my university newspaper The Courier, I enjoyed doing this so much, I thought maybe I would be suited for a career in journalism, ironically after my mum saying I should never become a journalist, and that journalism is on the out because nobody reads newspapers anymore. Well… I can’t argue with that, but what I can say is the new thing is online content… but of course there is still a market for newspapers otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post. In the build up to my time at The Observer, I have been getting increasingly nervous, what would it be like? what would they ask me to do? And most importantly, what do I wear?! My first week is coming to an end and I can answer all of the above questions, I can also add I am still alive, there have been no tears and I am actually quite competent when it comes to being asked what do and doing research. (I have also enjoyed some perks of work experience such as freebies and endless cups of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, chocolate milk… you name it they got it!)

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ALL of the newspapers from the last 10 days or so, helpful for looking back at things, and referencing

Tuesday 20th of May

I rocked up to The Guardian/Observer building looking pretty smart with the added sweaty palms and butterflies in my stomach (expected) and after a quick phone call with my mum, I entered the beautiful glass building. I waited in reception for about 5 minutes, since I had arrived a wee bit early, and was greeted by Edie who showed me to my desk. Another lady called Jade showed me around the office to meet people and let them know I am here if they need me, she also took me around the building to show me the canteen, and all of The Guardian section too… I had quick walk past the fashion cupboard but haven’t been in … YET. On Tuesday’s it is quite quiet in the office, since it is a Sunday newspaper, but there is a conference in the editors office to review the newspaper and magazine that has just been out. Luckily for me I was all clued up on the issue that had just been out, and that is my first piece of advice for people doing internships/work experience, do your homework!! If I’d of had the time I would of been doing extra research, such as googling people, looking at past articles etc. but unfortunately I was extremely busy with university work. I ended up going home at about 3pm on my first day, since it was really quiet, and just before I was leaving Edie said to me I didn’t need to dress so smart tomorrow. Which brings me onto my second piece of advice, it is always better to be overdressed than under! Alternatively, you can always email the person who you have been in touch with about your work experience and ask them what the dress code is.

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Lost count of what number tea this is…

Wednesday 21st of May and Thursday 22nd of May

These two days kind of snowballed into one. I’d come in at 10 and attend a conference that happens most mornings, in a really lovely room with a huge U shaped lime green sofa, they often have guest speakers, it isn’t compulsory to go to these meetings but its nice and it breaks up the day – it’s also a really good way of finding out what is actually going on in the world and interesting things like how many hits The Guardian website got the day before and that morning. I attended another couple of conferences, one was pitching ideas for the coming newspaper and the other was a politics meeting, OK so politics isn’t really my thang so I couldn’t tell you what they were discussing but it was a very male dominated panel… and doesn’t that just seem to sum up politics?! I was also lucky enough to attend The Observer Magazine meeting, which I really enjoyed. The team is much smaller than the news team so I felt like I was able to talk, I chipped in with a few ideas, and this definitely got noted. Another piece of advice, don’t be afraid to speak up, it gets you noticed, and shows you are engaged. I also met the other work experience girl there called, Sandra, who is absolutely lovely and in her time here I have convinced her to join the blogging community… hurrah! In amongst all of this I was given the task of finding the critics for about 9 different newspapers, for a story in this weeks newspaper, it took me a couple of hours but I got there in the end. I left on Thursday tired, but still waiting for the journalistic buzzzzzzzz.

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A quick bathroom selfie #classy

Friday 23rd of May and Saturday 24th of May

Friday started out to be more of an exciting day than any of the others, I was continuing my little task on critics, it actually turned out to be a three page spread, and my research quite vital. The offices are really open plan filled with beautiful macs everywhere!!! Dreaaaaam, makes working, blogging and passing time that much nicer. Each cubicle has eight computers, but people aren’t always in, my cubicle has mostly had a team of four, part way through the day I was asked to do some research by the man sitting next to me, Jamie, to research a story about milk… admittedly it was like starting an essay I reallllly didn’t want to start, but I really got into it and it turned out to be a really interesting story. I won’t say much more now, but I guess you will have to see The Observer tomorrow. This working week wraps up with Saturday… the lay up and all the final details. I am currently sat at my desk feeling like Anne Hathaway waiting for people to be done with The Book there is a wall at the front of the office where each page of the newspapers go on a little peg, as a giant mock up… it is currently half four and about half the newspaper is up… I’ve also spied my name :) couldn’t be happier to end my week on such a positive note! I am very lucky to be having another week here, so watch out for my round up next Sunday, I am hoping to be working with the fashion team next week. Enjoy the bank holiday!

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The mock up of tomorrows newspaper

Agnes D.

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