Journalism work experience: What not to say #2

“So, do you read our newspaper?”

It’s a simple enough question, and a predictable one if you’ve been drafted in for work experience at your local daily. Yet it seems to bamboozle almost every student, as if it’s the precursor to some Stasi-style interrogation.

In fact there’s no wrong answer, provided you respond like a rational human. ‘No’, for instance, is fine – you may be away from home, or you may be surviving on a pittance and therefore unable to afford loo roll let alone the local rag…

But here’s the big ‘no-no’ – once you’ve stumbled through your first ‘conundrum’, don’t be foxed by the follow-up question:  ‘Which newspapers do you read?’

It’s astounding how many people respond with ‘To tell the truth, I don’t read newspapers.’ Are they mad?

Surely any right-minded person would at least take a glance at the product pumped out by the company who are sparing time and effort to introduce them to the world of work? If I was handed work ex at Greggs, I’d try one of their pasties before I turned up (at least one, in fact…)

Oh, and don’t be fooled by kind-hearted pros who respond with a variant of ‘That’s interesting – it says a lot about our audience and the way people are consuming media these days.’ What they really mean is ‘So you couldn’t even be bothered to pretend. You could have said you read it online, you muppet…’

I’m not suggesting any newsdesks I’ve worked with are vindinctive (well, not in this post), but showing zero interest in the product they’ve slaved over from 6am until 6pm every day isn’t exactly going to inspire them to send you out to interview David Beckham, is it?

Work experience folk: do a bit of research, or at least master the art of the white lie next time you’re in a newspaper office. And if you have never read a newspaper – try one, you might like it.

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  1. Very true, and the same in all lines of journalism. If you don’t digest the output, how can the prospective employer trust that you understand how it’s meant to look or sound?

  2. sinister agent

    “Do you read our newspaper?”

    “Do I read your what?

  3. Lenita Demetriou

    You could not have said that any better.




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