For those of you who know me will know that I am obsessed with family history. Being a fan of the television show Who Do You Think You Are? and a history student that would love a job when I gradate I decided to look into how impossible it actually is to get work experience on this show, living in Wales. I quickly realised that the magazine of the same title is produced by a company, Immediate Media, based in Bristol. As my father commuted from Wales to Bristol for most of his working life and realised this would be an achievable placement and contacted the staff writer, Jon Bauckham immediately. Jon replied and we arranged a placement for the first week of the Christmas break.
Upon arriving I was introduced to the team, who were all very friendly and then I was shown around the building. After this the editor of the magazine, Sarah Williams, took me off to talk to me about journalism, the magazine and we both discussed our backgrounds. Then it was straight to work, my first task was to compile the Events page for the February 2016 issue. This took me the rest of the afternoon, I was a little disappointed with the length of time it had taken me but I was so concerned with getting it right.
On my second day, Jon was delayed and no one else really knew what to do with me until he arrived. I was given the option of ‘using the internet’ but I decided that I wanted to make the most of my time there. I asked the Art Editor, Robbie Bennie, if he minded if I just watched him work. Robbie agreed and showed me what he does using the Events page I had created yesterday. Although creative, I am not an ‘arty’ person but I found this fascinating. Now I was able to find the final adjustments to my page and contact a museum for a photograph.
The second task that I worked on for the magazine was “Yesterday’s News.” This is a historic newspaper clipping from the month of the issue. As I was working on the February issue, I decided to search for historic articles on Valentine’s Day. It was great to use my research skills and to read through old stories.
From here all of my contributions were for the website. Firstly I compiled a TV and Radio guide for 18-24 December for the newsletter. Then I was allowed to write most of the other content for the newsletter (all bar a regular blog that it featured from an external blogger). I wrote the news round up and selected the forum posts to include. I was even allowed to write “this week’s top story”.
By Thursday I think Jon was starting to run out of work for me, but he managed to find some things to keep me occupied. I produced another TV and Radio guide, this time for the Christmas period. Then I uploaded all the events from my Events page and from the previous issue to the website. Thursday afternoon the team had their Christmas meal and were kind enough to invite me along. It was lovely to get to know everyone a little better as well as talking to Jon about his degree and postgraduate study and the deputy editor, Claire Vaughan about her background.
On my final day I created a social media timeline for the Christmas break and had another meeting with Sarah, the editor. Sarah gave me some great feedback. She was impressed with the speed that I had put together the Events page stating that it normally takes students a couple of days. She was also pointed out that the Staff Writer, Jon and the Production Editor, Steve Harnell, had both said I was a natural writer. This was a fantastic end to a fantastic placement. Oh, I also managed to get a copy of two of Immediate Media’s other publications, History Revealed and BBC History magazine.