By Elizabeth Kernick
As my first work experience, Valley News was an excellent choice.
I had a general interest in writing and publishing, but beyond that, I wasn’t sure what to do as a career. Looking back, I believe I made the right decision on where to go.
On the first day, I was quite anxious, I didn’t know anyone at the office, and I didn’t know what tasks I’d be expected to do. When I arrived, I was set up at a desk and given some books on Wilton to write about. Presumably to inform myself about the area, but also to assess my writing ability. I was also given newspaper pages to proofread, taking up the rest of the day.
The second day was more interesting than the first. In the morning, Valley News was visited by Councillor Ian Thorn who was interviewed by the editor, David Parker. I sat in on the interview to learn some techniques, and what kind of questions should be asked.
I was given my own notebook to use for writing notes on the interview. Assistan Editor Lucy Spittle and I both wrote an article on the interview to go over with Mr Parker where I was given feedback and points to improve on.
For day three, I was sent out with Faye Clarke, advertising and sales representative. We went to Downton to sell advertising in a local feature. This was an interesting insight into the marketing aspect as opposed to writing and publishing. I didn’t have much more experience with advertising after that, but the trip gave me a good sense on its own of what the job was like.
From day four onwards, once the July paper had gone to print, I was scheduled to visit places with Lucy to interview people and write articles afterwards. We went to River Bourne Farm, Reeve the Baker, and even Spire FM (the local radio station for Salisbury). These were all good learning experiences, as I could ask my own questions. I also had picked up on how to write quick and concise notes, including quotes.
Lucy also taught me how to put news stories on the website, and then on Facebook. I oversaw putting stories online, and uploading any new stories coming from the editor. In addition, she showed me how the newspaper pages are designed, which was something I hadn’t really thought about before.
One day, professional photographer Spencer Mullholland helped me take some photos around Wilton. This was especially helpful in journalism photography, as Spencer often works for newspapers. I picked up some useful general tips about photo composition and camera settings.
That same morning, I interviewed the owner of Wylye Valley Meats on my own and wrote up an article on it.
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. My time at Valley News was two weeks well spent. I now have a much clearer idea of what the newspaper industry at a local level looks like, and would feel far more comfortable in my ability should I choose to apply for a job relating to publishing later in life.
Pictured: Cllr Ian Thorne, Lucy Spittle (left) and Elizabeth Kernick.