Journalism student Chloe Tomkins from Liverpool John Moores University, shares her experience of working at Mersey Mirror – where publications such as Educate Magazine and The Challenge are brought to life.
My first day at Educate magazine was a mixture of nervous excitement, as this was my first placement working at a magazine, which is what I want to do after I graduate from university.
I was asked if I was okay with being ‘thrown into the deep end’, which is exactly what I wanted because I wanted a full and true experience of working for a magazine.
I felt extremely comfortable in the office as everyone was so welcoming and lovely, and to my surprise I had my own desk! My first task was to read through press releases, which had come in from schools and education authorities, and to write them into news stories for the print publication and the website.
As a Journalism student I was familiar with this type of news writing, so this kept me busy throughout the morning and early afternoon. After lunch, I got to work on the ‘Where can we go?” page, which involved researching events taking place in Merseyside which would appeal to the readers of the magazine, which are mainly schoolchildren and parents.
This was challenging in the aspect of being able to find a variety of events for different age groups and a range of activities of different genres. However, I did enjoy doing this as it gave me a broader understanding of areas and venues around Merseyside, which will be useful to me as a journalist in the North West.
I was really happy to see my work printed in the magazine, it’s a real confidence boost when you are trusted enough to produce a professional piece of writing.
Towards the end of the first week I had begun work on writing tweets to promote the magazines articles and features on social media. This involved writing captions that would grab the reader’s attention and tagging relevant people in the posts, which could then be retweeted, therefore reaching a wider audience.
At the beginning of my second week, I was shown how to schedule tweets to be posted throughout the day and following weeks. This was important experience because social media is extremely vital in any media and journalism product and is something I will need practice in to be able to secure a similar job in the future.
There were also more opportunities to write stories for the website as schools regularly send in press releases, so there was always something for me to do.
As the new issue of Educate had now been published, I had the opportunity to work on other publications that the office publishes.
I really enjoyed writing some stories for The Challenge newspaper, which is a local newspaper covering the Knowsley area. Again I’m not familiar with that area of Liverpool so it was great to gain some knowledge and to be constantly learning. The variety of stories allowed me to progress with my news writing skills and I enjoyed having the independence of finding stories by myself.
After three weeks here I have really enjoyed my work experience and being part of the team. I’ll be sad to leave but happy to go back to university with everything I have learnt here.
This placement has thoroughly prepared for me a future career in the magazine industry.