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Work experience

For all the academic study you do, there is no better experience of journalism than going out there and sampling a living, breathing newsroom. Nowadays, you even need work experience just to get onto certain training courses.

Once you find yourself plunged into the deep end of the news desk, or more specifically the sports department, there is an easy tendency to drift into the background and watch the opportunity pass you by, but remember; it is not school. Journalists are not teachers. You are not their primary concern.

It may be the oldest cliché in the book, but you have to be proactive. Volunteer for everything you can. Suggest articles, come up with ideas. If you think you’re being ignored, write something off your own back. Stuff like this makes you memorable and separates you from the hordes of other work experience students seeking employment in an increasingly competitive market, and such differentiation could prove invaluable when it comes to that all-important first job.

Below is just a small selection of the placements on offer but, in reality, there are probably thousands of potential avenues to advance your understanding of practical journalism. You could try the local weekly paper; hospital radio; student media, or the thousands of sports sites out there desperate for young and enthusiastic helpers. You could even go to your local library and look at their copy of Willings or Benn’s Media Directory, which lists every single published title in the UK.

One final thing; don’t do two weeks somewhere and think you’re Martin Samuel. Always try and do as much as you possibly can in as many different places as you can.

Newspapers

The Guardian

Guardian News and Media (GNM) offers a limited number of short editorial experience opportunities throughout the year to those dedicated to a career in journalism. These placements at the Guardian and Observer are unpaid, voluntary and range in duration from a few days to a maximum of two weeks.

To be considered for a placement you must be at least 18 and able to demonstrate a genuine passion for sports journalism – for example, serious involvement in student journalism or substantial work experience on local/specialist media. Also, you should have not received work experience at GNM in the previous 24 months.

We run a twice-yearly work experience application process, usually in the spring and towards the end of each year.

For more details, click here http://www.theguardian.com/workforus/editorial-work-experience-at-guardian-news-and-media

The Independent

Encourage work experience placements across the newspaper but demand is high and they’re already full for 2012. However, to get your CV in and register your interest for next year, email workexperience@independent.co.uk

The Mail

Placements can be obtained on their sports desk, with a chance of bylines both in the paper and online, but competition is fierce and opportunities rare.

The Mirror

Placements are available across all departments of the newspaper. For details email HR@mgn.co.uk

Magazines

The Cricketer

Offer 12 two-week work placements over the course of the year, which is one placement for each issue of the magazine. These are over-subscribed and spaces are often booked up to a year in advance but if anyone would like to be considered, they can send their CV to magazine@thecricketer.com. All applicants must have an interest in cricket and have either studied journalism or have work experience in journalism. Travel expenses are paid – but candidates must stay local-ish to London.

Esquire

Work experience placements are always available but demand is extremely high. You must be 18 or over. Applicants are advised to contact the editor’s PA or, alternatively, click here for the relevant contacts.

Fighting Spirit

While they offer no formal work experience placements, the editor is keen to help and advise any aspiring writers interested in combat sports. Email contact@fightingspiritmagazine.co.uk with any relevant questions or queries.

FourFourTwo

The country’s most popular football magazine is always keen for work experience placements. Based in Teddington, south-west London, you can arrange a placement by emailing contact@fourfourtwo.com

Golf Monthly

The title offers multiple work placements during the year, usually lasting a week or two, at their office in Southwark. Prospective applicants should contact golfmonthly@ipcmedia.com with a CV and brief covering letter, letting them know their preferred dates. An interest in golf is not essential, but it will certainly help you get the most from your time with the magazine, which will include a number of tasks related to the print title and its popular website.

Shoot

Shoot are always on the lookout for writers who want to have their work published in a more professional environment, and in return can offer feedback as well as the chance to interview professional players. To apply, email shoot@pedigreegroup.co.uk, writing “work experience” in the subject field, as well as listing your favourite team.

When Saturday Comes

WSC take unpaid work experience students for up to two weeks, but only those doing post-graduate degrees. Prospective applicants should contact Andy Lyons at editorial@wsc.co.uk with a CV and covering letter, letting them know their preferred dates.

Broadcasters

BBC

With over 1700 work placements offered every year, the Beeb is a great bet to make that first step into broadcasting. New placements, ranging from local radio to television to more specific sport placements, are uploaded here every day so be sure to check regularly for your dream placement.

ITV

Offer a range of opportunities to aspiring broadcast journalists ranging from short placements to summer-long internships. Check their dedicated work experience website regularly for updates, although be sure to check around February and September when applications for the coveted ITV Experience programme generally open.

Channel 4

Hundreds of placements are available each year across various areas of the channel’s operation. To apply you need to be aged between 16 and 25 and have an interest in a future media career. For shorter work experience placements click here, while for longer, paid opportunities follow this link instead.

Sky

Places are available across all of Sky’s channels. There are specific placements available with Sky Sports but be warned they are highly coveted; applicants must be studying towards either an NCTJ or BJTC-accredited journalism qualification as well as having 100 wpm shorthand. There are also opportunities available with Sky Sports Radio in Leeds and the sought-after Sky Sports News Summer Placement Scheme. Check here for more information.

Talksport

The station is always keen to take on work experience students but demand is exceptionally high so don’t expect an instant placement. To apply, you must be over 18 years old and you”ll need to email a good CV and covering letter to kay.townsend@talksport.co.uk.  This letter should outline your interest in the media/radio, any relevant experience and why you’ve chosen talkSPORT.

Agencies

Hayters

This Tottenham-based sports news agency, who in the past have trained Steve Ryder, Henry Winter and Peter Drury, have offered placements in the past, but are accepting no new applications because they are always oversubscribed.

IMG Media

This multinational company that specialises in sports, fashion and media offers a variety of extended placements, internships and graduate programmes throughout the year. For more information, click here.

Reuters

Offer a number of work experience placements through to longer PAID internships at certain times of the year. Visit here for more details.

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