When it came to taking on a placement as part of the MSc Publishing course I wasn’t worried about my knowledge of publishing practices, I felt like the hours I had already accumulated on the course had taught me a lot. Instead, I felt myself worrying about the shift from student to worker, university to workplace. In my fifth year of higher education I wondered how easily I’d be able to adapt to a real working environment. In retrospect I should have never been concerned in the first place – taking on a placement with DC Thomson in Dundee has definitely been the highlight of my time on the MSc Publishing course, thus far. From data analysis to editorial work, I experienced every aspect of the magazine publishing industry over the course of my seven day placement.
I planned to be at DC Thomson for ten days, however, due to the situation with Coronavirus being so fast moving at the time I was only able to complete seven of these days. On my first day I was met by Gail Valentine, the woman who I had been emailing to arrange my placement. Gail was in the fortunate position of working in conjunction with most, if not all of the departments in the publishing side of the business. Because of her strong connections around the company, Gail had set up several meetings for me in a variety of departments.
I met with the head of the operations team, who gave me an insight into the practical side of printing the magazines. His department were also in charge of sourcing the gifts that came in the children’s magazines – this showed me an interesting side of publishing that I had never considered before. I also met with the sales and marketing department, here I learned how the team worked on the DC Thomson online shop to make sure they were selling products relevant to their magazines. This meeting was also eye-opening to the different roles that are available in the publishing industry.
I was able to spend a full day with a man named Steve, who works creating books out of DC Thomson’s archived material. This day was spent entirely on editing. I enjoyed this as it was a chance to test out the BSI proofing marks I had learned in a real working environment. I was also able to get involved in discussions on how to structure Steve’s new book, and have since been informed that I will be mentioned in the Special Thanks section of the book. This alone felt like a huge win, I knew I had done good work – work that was worthy of genuine industry recognition.
I found my time at DC Thomson to be extremely helpful at putting the skills I had learned on the MSc Publishing course into context. More importantly, I found that I felt very at home in the working environment. Nothing could have improved my confidence more than proving to myself that I was capable of walking into a huge publishing house and actually being able to enjoy the work I was doing. By having confidence and belief in my own abilities I spoke to more people than I ever would have expected, and found myself answering questions and solving problems with instincts I didn’t know I had. And now I feel like I can continue on in my studies with a sense of excitement for the future.