You may know. You may not know. I spent a week, a month ago, doing work experience at the local newspaper organisation - the Kent Messenger - and it is here I got the chance to do 8 hours of sitting down a day, in a busy and light-hearted office. Despite it, at times, being dull when I had nothing to do, it was a great experience which hasn't put me off a career in journalism. I even got three articles published; one with my name in the by-line, and the other two anonymous, so you'll have to just believe me when I say that I wrote them.
My first article was short and buried back in the paper, but it was published in the four newspapers that they run from their Whitstable offices. This was just rewriting a press release for a weekly article the papers run to help get dogs homes. 'My' dog seemed very sweet. I don't know whether or not it helped get him a new family. Unfortunately, the article was published with a grammatical error, which surprisingly wasn't of my own doing. What happened was that someone didn't like one word, so changed the word, but didn't change the surrounding words. Anyway, here it is:
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The second article is my favourite as it this wasn't buried away, it was a full page articles and had my name in big, bold typeface. It is a human-interest feature they run in the Faversham News every week, and I was handed control of it for the following week's paper. After consulting a few other people, I concluded to write an article about Ged Gunn, a man who lives in Boughton-under-Blean and in recent years has done a heck of a lot for his favoured charity The Rainbow Trust. I interviewed him on the phone for at least 20 minutes, and then wrote it up. He is a brilliant man, and I'm proud that my first ever by-line goes to him. After that, I had to send around a photographer to get an image to accompany the article, which you can see just below. Please feel sorry for Ged who, as you can tell by his red face, was forced outside on a cold March day in a vest and shorts:
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Then finally, a few weeks later, my article about Tim Boorman made it into the local newspapers. He had sent quite a bit information, so all I basically had to do was to rewrite it in the inverted pyramid formula. I then gave him a ring, and had a long chat with him too. Another lovely bloke, who from how he spoke on the phone, was obvious that he loved his brother dearly, who is the reason he was running for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Read the article below to find out all the details:
This article was in the paper a few weeks after I spoke to him, so understandably, I got a few emails asking when it would be published. However, he never emailed me to say 'Thank you' when it did get published. I'm not saying he should have, but seeing as he was desperate to get it published before his run, he could have.
I wrote a lot more than that however. I wrote an article in a similar vein about a woman running the Paris marathon for Age UK, after they helped her father through his final few years. I got a quote from the lady and Age UK. However, the article didn't appear for various reasons, but what resulted was me receiving a very snooty, egocentric email from Age UK because it didn't get in. On that day, I lost a lot of respect for, what is, a great charity. The lady was very nice and polite about it.
I also rewrote a lot of other press releases, from cancer-check buses going to Canterbury, the upcoming election, a local up-and-coming band performing at The Marlowe and the local culture awards. Again, some got published, some got changed and others were given no life, but I had no intention in spending £1 just so I could read small paragraphs written by me.
The people there were happy and friendly, and just to reiterate, it was a great experience. Hopefully, one day I shall return. And until then - Thank you KM!