Experiencing my first week as an apprentice journalist in Sheffield

Journalism was something I’d thought about ever since I competed in a journalistic challenge in Year 7 at school. Now I have been given the opportunity to work as a journalist with an apprenticeship at The Star, it’s become an even more exciting prospect for me.

By Alex Wilkinson
Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 2:39 pm
Alex Wilkinson gets to work as an apprentice in The Star offices
Alex Wilkinson gets to work as an apprentice in The Star offices

Experiencing journalism in Sheffield is very exciting for me due to the fact it is the city I was born in and have lived my whole life, and so I have a strong knowledge about the city.

Sheffield is a fantastic city with many must-see places such as the Peace and Winter gardens, The Crucible, Kelham Island and Sheffield’s two big football grounds – Hillsborough and Bramall Lane. It also has some of the best communities of people, highlighted by the Bears of Sheffield project which Sheffield folk have already raised an amzing amount of money for so far in aid of the new cancer and leukaemia ward at the children’s hospital.

Of course, Sheffield does have its problems just like any city. Many businesses around the city, small and large, have been hit massively by the pandemic causing many to shut down and hundreds to lose jobs.

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Sheffield also still has problems such as homelessness, crime and anti-social behaviour around the city which damages the reputation of the city and means people don’t always feel as safe as they should. However, these problems don’t change the fact Sheffield is still a fantastic place to live and a pleasure to report on.

From working just one week in a journalistic environment, I have learned so much about what I can expect from a career in journalism. Working closely with other journalists has helped me learn new skills and attributes, such as what a genuine interview looks like and how to create articles to be published.

A really eye-opening lesson for me has been how important video and technology are in news reporting and was really interesting for me when I tried it out for myself. Walking round the city centre filming small videos to go alongside my articles taught me a lot about filming, such as how to correctly shoot my shots and which shots to get. It was also really interesting learning and practising how to edit videos for myself, showing how much goes into each detail of reporting to make the best content possible.

In my first week I was also given the opportunity to witness first hand reporting on stories. The Cathedral Archer project exhibition story was the first I experienced and was incredibly interesting to learn about people who have been able to turn their lives around through the help of this amazing project.

Watching another journalist record a story with these people was really helpful to see how to conduct a face-to-face interview and showed me that, in reality, it is more of a genuine conversation rather than a set structure.

Another highlight of my week was visiting local businesses. It was a really interesting experience to see how journalists gather stories from local people and how note-taking works.

I’m now really excited for the future in learning more and progressing my skills. With my college course now beginning, I hope I will keep learning and improving my skills so that I can apply them into my job.