While my course-mates decided to spend their placements in either the book or magazine publishing industry, I resolved to head a different direction. So I opted to see what it was like to be a newspaper publisher for ten days with Johnston Press.
Now I didn’t get a desk, because I had become a human pinball. Passed around, from slightly bemused employee to slightly bemused employee; demanding only one thing from them. Their knowledge and their experience.
I spent my first five days with the editorial department. Now in the Edinburgh office of Johnston Press, to say you are spending time with the editorial department means that you are splitting your time between two newspaper offices: The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday and Edinburgh Evening News. To be frank, I do not have any formal journalistic training or any experience of reportage. Yet I did not allow this to hold me back … and I got some pieces of work to do. Nothing major or groundbreaking, but solid work that is necessary to producing the daily content that you will find in a newspaper.
Working in those two offices, though there only separated by an atrium, there were very different experiences. The Scotsman/SoS is a much more sober environment, reflecting the ‘broadsheet’ content that the paper was aiming to produce and the readership they equated themselves with. While the Edinburgh Evening News had a more lively feel, again a reflection on the content and the audience that the paper relates to.
The next five days, I was moved to the commercial section of Johnston Press. By that I mean the Advertising department, the Media Sales Centre, and Sales & Marketing. Here rather than being left to my own devices, I was shadowing and assisting people in their everyday tasks. Taking this opportunity, I poked and prodded these people, enquiring into the roles within the company and trying to gauge an idea of how it all fits together. For the reason that not only I am trying to achieve a sense of what kind of career (if any) I want in the newspaper publishing industry, but I was also conducting research for my dissertation.
In this respect, and keeping everything else I experienced in mind; my time at Johnston Press was highly advantageous to me. Not only has it supplied with a sufficient basic knowledge to ground my academic research upon, but it has given me a taste of the working environment that I will hopefully find myself in.