FAST LEARNERS: Observer work experience students Reanna Skillington (photography) and Madi Richards (journalism) from Gladstone State High learnt a lot about working in a newsroom and time management during their week at the paper.
FAST LEARNERS: Observer work experience students Reanna Skillington (photography) and Madi Richards (journalism) from Gladstone State High learnt a lot about working in a newsroom and time management during their week at the paper. Laura Mckee

10 things we learnt on work experience with the Observer

GLADSTONE State High School Year 10 students Madi Richards and Reanna Skillington share the top 10 things they learnt after five days of work experience at The Observer.

They worked with The Observer's reporters and photographers.

1. Time management and perspective

Madi: Time management is one of the most important things to stay on top of in any career.

Prioritizing and planning ahead are a must, especially with the early deadlines in The Observer office.

Reanna: It's important to get both landscape and portrait pictures as sometimes you don't know what you need for the page.

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2. Start with the basics and be polite

Madi: Sometimes in interviews, people are shy and won't give you much information.

You need to ask basic questions and then from those answers you ask more specific questions.

Reanna: When out in public doing the quick Q&A, you need to be polite and approach people calmly before you break the ice with the question.

3. Saying thanks, and how to use a camera

Madi: Saying goodbye. It can be great and easy to get the story for you, although politely being able to say goodbye and thank you to the person is helpful to know.

Reanna: I learnt how to use cameras in general such as shutter speeds, zoom and the focus.

4. Be prepared and listen

Madi: Calling before an interview to make sure you both have the same expectations, and to organise props makes reporting and photography a lot easier.

Reanna: When out interviewing people don't just fire questions and leave.

Listen to them and you might even get another story to write about next week that you don't have to freak out about.

5. Know where you're going, and use clear information

Madi: Printing maps. On jobs out of town you will probably lose mobile service half way and not know where you're going.

Reanna: Naming photos a certain way to go into the paper is important so they are easy to find in the system.

6. Useful shortcuts, and getting names correct

Madi: Voice recording long interviews is such a good alternative to taking notes where your hand cramps and you can forget things.

It also helps if someone you've interviewed denies what they said later.

Reanna: Always get people's first and last name and make sure the spelling is correct, otherwise you can't use the story.

7. Be organised for the day, and never be biased

Madi: Pick an outfit the night before work. I learnt quickly that I needed to pick out what I wanted to wear early as I ended up being late the last two days.

Reanna: Always have a neutral tone when doing a story and never be biased.

You're telling the story, not giving your opinion on the topic.

8. Learn to write in style, and plan ahead

Madi: At school I wasn't taught to write in a newspaper or journalism style as much as we were taught narratives.

Laura from The Observer explained the basics to me while she edited a piece I wrote and it really made me understand.

Reanna: Ask if it's okay to show up and take photos. Never assume that they have everything you need to work with, otherwise it could end up being disastrous and stressful.

9. Get everything you need first time, and take notes

9 Madi: Don't leave without everything you need.

You have to make sure you get a photo, first AND last name of everybody.

This is mostly when you're stopping people on the street for little interviews and can't call them up later.

Reanna: Always take a notepad and a pen wherever you go.

10. Brainstorm with the team and show initiative

Madi: Brainstorming a bunch of questions is really helpful before going into an interview.

Reanna: Always ask for something to do in the newsroom. Don't just sit there because there will probably always be something for you to do.

If there is nothing, ask for the jobs that anyone can do.



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