The work experience files

My third, and final, week of work experience is coming to a close so I thought it was about time for some reflection.

1. Commuting is very tiring. It’s okay in the mornings but not so nice when you finish at 5.30pm but don’t actually get home until 7.30pm.

2. Ideas really are the life blood of a magazine – case in point, setting myself the target of at least 10 when asked for editorial ideas at the customer magazine publisher.

3. “What is the reader benefit?” – the mantra of a great editor, Juliet Roberts, who had a lot of valuable and important pearls of wisdom.

4. Subbing is very important, especially on mags which are written in advance ahead of deadline. Check, check and check again!

5. Small teams are fun. Especially when it’s just the three of you and you can start elastic band fights and talk about random things.

For my first week of work experience I went to Specialist, a customer and B2B publisher with clients ranging from HSBC to Peugeot. While I did not have the opportunity to write anything in-depth, I sourced stories and wrote NIBs. The week was useful in that I learnt about the production process of the other side of magazines, the customer magazines which are a world apart from the likes of Empire or Vogue. The magazines that Specialist produce are an extension of their client’s brand, so it is vitally important to ensure that the client is happy and that the magazine is working for them. This isn’t to say that the magazine will feature solely on their company. For instance Liquid, HSBC’s magazine, has the tagline “make the most of your money” and the winter 2009 issue featured articles on the right time to retire, grown-up gappers and an interview with digital queen Martha Lane Fox.

My second week of work experience was spent at Mini Magazine at Future Publishing in Bath which I LOVED. A small team made up of Mark, Daz and Jeff, I wrote 600 words about my Mini, two pages of News, two pages of Your Minis and two pages in Products. I had great fun working on the magazine, especially as it is a magazine that has been a family favourite for some time. There was obvious camaraderie between the other motoring titles and it was a very enjoyable place to work.

My third week was at BBC Gardens Illustrated where I met the very bubbly and interesting editor Juliet. Originally from the West Midlands, like myself, Juliet is the woman in charge of all the spinning plates, from organising the flat plan to being the face of the magazine at gardening events. At Gardens I did a few things for the website, including updating the diary and a brief history of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It was interesting finding out more about the production process, and it was great sitting in on meetings.

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