The joys of work experience

There has been a lot of talk in blogs and on Twitter today about two particular work experience job adverts, both within the journalism industry.

Work experience? In journlaism? But that’s nothing new right? But the reason the backlash has been high is because they are both for freelancers.

One of the adverts under scrutiny is for a work experience person (or ‘workie’ as they are affectionately know in the industry) to help source real life features.

Before getting my first job in journalism (selling real life features very similar to those mentioned in the advert) I would have jumped at the chance for a work experience placement like that.

The only line I have a problem with is Previous experience within the Real life sector is preferred but not essential.’

Really? An experience intern? Surely that is one of the worst contradictions.

But I still would have done it.

Journalism, more so than any other profession, seems to rely incredibly heavily on work experience. It’s no good having your NCTJs or a journalism degree if you haven’t got a cuttings book full of clippings to back it up.

I’ve done my fair share; four weeks at Cosmopolitan magazine, four weeks at a local Southampton paper, two weeks at a paper in Bournemouth and two weeks at BBC Southern Counties Radio, not to mention countless student papers, websites and hospital and community radio stations.

PR seems incredibly similar – my colleague worked for over six months, completely unpaid for numerous agencies before landing a paid position.

But we both agree.

It sucks, but it’s worth it.

The media is an incredibly competitive industry and to succeed you need to make sure that you’re willing to do whatever it takes – which includes working for free and, excuse the cliché but its true, learning to make a bloody good cup of tea.


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