8 – Get a Proper Placement

This week, I finished my first ever placement. I spent two weeks working in Media City with BBC Radio Manchester and it was fantastic.

The experience set me back nearly £700 because I found out on short notice and accommodation and transport is expensive. But I would say the experience was definitely worth the expenditure.

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My workplace for two glorious weeks.

I was so nervous on my first day that I made my boyfriend walk me to the door. I left him at a nearby Costa with a pot of tea and ventured in.

There I was given my ID badge, which would get me in and out of the building for the next two weeks, and shown a short induction video about the building and the health and safety regulations.

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My ID badge, complete with unflattering picture!

There was another guy there who would be on placement with me for the week but I would end up spending so little time with him that I cannot remember his name for the life of me.

The rest of my first day was dedicated to training. I had 7 or 8 exercises to get through and they took me through until 3pm.

I was assigned to the drive show and told I was working with the producer, Mat, for the entire time I would be there. He got me to arrange interviews for the show, record interviews for bulletins, write cues, edit clips, edit things together for the show, pitch ideas, and answer the phones when they rang during the show.

I worked 10am-6pm each day and it truly exhausted me but, unlike my mundane retail job, I actively enjoyed being awake early enough to be there on time, and even voluntarily stayed late some days to finish whatever I was working on!

The lifts took a lot of getting used to. You need to press the floor you want to go to before you get in them and then get in the lift assigned to you, rather than the first one that appears. I forgot which lift I was getting into so many times but thankfully I never got in the wrong one!

I don’t want to go into too much detail about my time there (the t&cs I signed were very thorough and the last thing I want to do is break them!) but I enjoyed going to work every morning and produced some work I was very proud of.

I arranged an interview with a 12-year-old girl who got the highest possible score on a MENSA test, spoke to the campaign director of the biggest vegan campaign in the world, and even had a go at making, and reading, my own bulletin!

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The proudest moment of my placement came on the last day of my first week.

I’d been scouring the news all week to find stories I could pitch to one of the shows at the station and I found the expose written by the BBC about rent-for-sex adverts on Craigslist published that morning. I pitched the idea to one of the newsreaders for the day, gathered a list of adverts posted in the local area over the last two weeks, and completed an interview with Andrew Wallis, the CEO of modern slavery charity Unseen.

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Later in the afternoon, producer Mat came up to me and told me that he’d be running the story as the lead piece in the drive show! Later that evening I listened as a story I had pitched and produced (with tweaking and additions from Mat, obviously) was aired on a BBC radio station.

This is the biggest piece of journalism I’ve ever contributed to and I doubt the pride I felt in that moment will be surpassed for a long time.

My placement came to an end far too quickly and I was extremely sad to leave. The people there had been friendly, kind, and understanding. I learnt so much and I’m incredibly pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with such an amazing team so early on in my journey to become a fully fledged journalist.

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