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Radio Journalism - Internship at Heart FM - Intern Wardrobe

Radio Journalism – Internship at Heart FM
Sian Jones

Risk-taking, trust and kindness – the key to guiding the journalists of the future

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In the summer of 2008 I was preparing to leave my home, a small seaside town in Suffolk, to study Media and Communications in Birmingham. I had already been told that gaining industry experience was a key part of the course, and was an integral part of getting a job after graduation. The emphasis on this excited and scared me. It is safe to say I like to be over prepared, so straight after completing my A-Levels I contacted one of my local radio stations, Heart FM, and asked about any work experience opportunities. The response wasn’t one I’d hoped for but it was the most helpful rejection I’ve received in the six years since. I was told to start my course, learn more about the industry and make sure that I contacted them once I’d begun my studies. True to my word I contacted them in October of the same year and they offered me a placement in January.

Thank goodness they made me wait until I’d started University before working with them. With four months of theory and practical studies behind me I was eager to put this into action. I was given a large amount of freedom and more importantly trust during my internship – something I know I wouldn’t have been able to cope with if they’d taken me on before University.

I got a taste of working in a newsroom, and carried out interviews, as well as editing news reels and scripts– I felt like I was part of a team and that my presence there was necessary. I was given voice training from people who read live bulletins for a living and I was allowed to make mistakes without fear of being judged or punished.

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For me, the most important thing was how prepared the team were for my arrival, I wasn’t given made-up jobs that wouldn’t lead to anything, instead I was completing tasks that would make it on air; I was part of the running order. At times I was put out of my comfort zone which led to me having the confidence to interview a variety of people on a variety of topics, it felt like a dream; at any moment someone was going to wake me up, confiscate my microphone and tell me to go back to university and finish learning how to be a journalist. Luckily, I never had time to let this feeling overtake the task at hand. I had a job to do, I had a deadline and I was being relied on to deliver.

When I returned for my second term of studies I was miles  ahead, and full of confidence when completing group tasks in the on-site radio studios. I couldn’t wait to return to the local radio station whenever I went home and was always welcomed back with open arms during term breaks.

As you progress through university, different modules and experiences will affect where you see your career going. I may have left the world of radio journalism behind for now but I will always have a huge amount of respect for the work of radio journalists. It’s safe to say wherever my career takes me I will always be thankful for the opportunities I was given at Heart FM. Tough experiences since my time there have always been outnumbered by the memory of good-natured people at Heart FM.

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