Working 9-5 - Trainee David Price writes about how his placement at Construction News is going
Half way through the 2-week placement and I feel kind of ok. After the intense long days of the classes at PA the working world feels, well, not quite relaxed, but manageable.
I'm at Construction News, and there's a chance they're just taking it easy on me as they can see I'm a man on the edge. Or it might be that the 6 weeks have prepared me well for working at an actual factual magazine.
I've published a number of news pieces that the editors seemed pretty happy with and the other bits I've worked on have gone down well. Someone even said I sounded confident doing an interview on the phone (fake it 'til you make it!)
On the other hand it's been pretty frustrating. While I feel like I've got the skills to write (contrary to the impression this blog might give you), I don't know my subject that well. I don't have the industry contacts and I don't get sent press releases. I'm a ghost in the world of construction news! Finding news stories feels like a bloody labour, but thankfully the other people at the magazine have sent some stuff my way.
Similarly, with writing features I've had to come up with my own. Again, because I don't know the industry that well it's tough to know what's going to be a decent idea. I don't know what's already been well covered and what maybe isn't important.
Confirmed: Lendlease wins contract to build new Google HQ at King's Cross https://t.co/n7Vy0FnrQ1 pic.twitter.com/bD4cjSmrXg
— Construction News (@CNplus) February 27, 2017
I did manage to pitch something in my first week though; a piece about emissions from construction sites. It seemed solid and the industry press wasn't really writing about it. The features editor liked it and so on Wednesday I started on my quest to find out; does construction have a problem with emissions?
The next morning those utter bastards at Building magazine (our rivals) published THAT EXACT ARTICLE as their lead feature.
It was reassuring to see I wasn't barking up a non-existent tree with my idea. But I was now feature-less.
I needed a new feature. I needed something to write 800-odd words on in an industry I don't know enough about. I panicked. I bottled it. I returned to the comfort of Prime Opportunities and I'm now working on a piece about older people in the construction industry.
And if Building magazine publish a piece on that this Thursday I'm going to be absolutely fuming.
In summary; I actually feel like I could actually be a proper journalist now. As long as Building magazine don't continue their efforts to personally undermine me.
David Price, @deejprice
"It's hard to believe how much you learn in 17 short weeks, and although the work can be intense, it was also so much fun.
"You are prepared from the very first day in all of the many skills you need to use as a journalist and as well as being taught knowledge needed for exams, you're also given so much practical experience, which is one of the reasons I chose the course in the first place."
Kathryn Riddell // Live blog reporter, The Chronicle