Over a period of just three days, I have had an invaluable experience at Tunbridge Wells based PR company Maxim. From the age of maybe 11, I have had aspirations to be a journalist so when the opportunity arose to gain experience in this field, I certainly grabbed it with both hands!
At 16, I had just completed my GCSEs at Highworth Grammar School. After realising what a long summer I had ahead of me I decided it would be a good idea to spend it doing something worthwhile, which was why I chose to look for some journalism-related work experience.
One of the tasks I was given was to write an article outlining the benefits of frozen fruit and vegetables for one of Maxim’s clients, and I also wrote several press releases and blog entries.
I loved the freedom of being able to choose the style and form I wrote in, and being allowed to source all of my own research – it was my first time in an office environment and although very different to the classroom at school, I really enjoyed it.
The feedback I was given was positive but constructive; everyone at Maxim was patient with me and genuinely interested in making sure I learnt as much as possible in my time there.
I sat in on a meeting with Phil, the director at Maxim, and a representative from Kent Business, another very useful experience, where I learned a great deal about advertising and how small businesses can climb up the career ladder.
I also had a chat with Andy Rayfield, one of the account directors, about how I would be able to get started with a career in journalism after I finish sixth form. He worked as a journalist for twenty years and had a lot of very useful advice for me regarding the process and possible paths I could take.
Maxim runs an annual awards ceremony called the Kent & Press Broadcast Awards, so one of my jobs was to fill up 116 canvas bags with various gimmicks – especially company pens – from the various sponsors. It wasn’t the most exciting of tasks, but we had the office mascot, Rachel’s crazy havanese dog Alice to keep us company!
The visit to the local Kent & Sussex Courier newspaper offices on my last day gave me a real insight into what it’s actually like to be a journalist. We had a talk with Gabriel Shepard, a journalist at the Courier and he gave me a very honest description of the world of journalism.
We also had a look around the publication office and found out what the various writers for the newspaper were working on at the time. Although Gabriel was convinced that he might have put me off, I was possibly even more confident that journalism was the path I wanted to take.
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