The more time I spend at the Hull Daily Mail, the more chance I get to organise my own stories that appear. This is something I really enjoy, as it is always nice to be able to write about your interests.
One feature I particularly enjoyed writing was about a group of Hull fashion students going to a fashion show to show their designs to Vogue Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. It was great interviewing the students, if not a little nerve-wracking interviewing around 20 people all at the same time.
I also got to go along to the fashion show, which was great for me on both a personal and professional level. It meant I got to know the girls a bit better, and also got a better idea of what I was writing about.
The story gained the front page of the Femail supplement, and also got a double page spread inside which I was really happy with.
A few months after first starting to write The Hotlist, I am finding it a lot easier to produce. Previously taking at least half a day to complete, I can now finish it in a couple of hours, meaning I have more time to work on other ideas.
I know the sort of subjects that are included, which means I can search for the right sort of idea, instead of spending hours on the internet looking for something to write about.
Writing The Hotlist means I get good experience with writing smaller pieces, much like nibs. It can be hard to fit all of the information you want into such a small space, but I am now finding it easier to include the vital information and leave out unneeded details.
Over the past few weeks I have been able to work on a feature that will go in the Femail supplement. Although I produce various different pieces, I haven’t written my own feature for it as yet. But I got the chance after a reader rang in to tell us my story.
Instead of Natalie writing the main feature, she asked if I would like to, which of course I agreed to. So I rang the reader and arranged an interview.
After meeting, I was happy with all of the questions I had asked her, and was excited to write the story as the woman I was writing about was friendly and had a great story. It took me a few hours to write up the article, but I was happy with how it read, and should be published in the next issue of Femail.
I am really happy with how my interviewing skills are progressing. I used to be nervous before and worry about what I was going to say, but now I don’t hesitate to organise interview. Although I am still a little nervous beforehand, I think I am a lot better than at the beginning of my internship.
I am also a lot more comfortable speaking on the phone, not worrying when I have to make a call to find out extra information.
This week I have interviewed the creators of a fashion accessory brand called Merryhide. I found them from looking through the Femail Twitter page, and getting in touch with them through their website.
After showing Natalie, she agreed that they were a good brand to do a feature on for The Journal. So I interviewed them both in a coffee shop I met them at in Beverley.
Although still a little nervous when interviewing, I feel like I am getting better. I used a Dictaphone so I didn’t have to write notes and could concentrate fully on our conversation. I also managed to ask some extra questions from what they told me, which gave me extra content to work with.
I still feel like I need to improve my interviewing skills, as I can get nervous and lose track of my thoughts. However, this is only something I can improve through experience, so I need to make sure I keep interviewing different people to improve.
As Femail is a weekly supplement, I worked my usual days over Christmas to create content over the Christmas period.
As less people were in the office at this time, I needed to produce work in advance, so there would be time to edit and print each week.
I carried on completing my usual articles, and made sure that each week everything was written up on time. It was slightly hard writing in advance, especially when producing The Hotlist as that is about things that are current. For this I had to research ideas in advance to make sure they were relevant at the time of publishing.
A lot of work I carried out without Natalie being in the office, as took the Christmas period off, so I was alone in making decisions. One such decision was to supplement the usual celeb look feature for a celeb talks feature instead. This has made me more confident to make my own decisions whilst in the office.
These are screenshots of the Femail Twitter and Tweetdeck account. I use the Tweetdeck account to schedule tweets, and to make it easier to see everything on the same screen.
The second screenshot shows the Femail profile. I have pinned a tweet at the top so this is the first thing users will see. I am using the Twitter page to help find nominees for the makeover, as well as to find stories and network with others, creating a larger readership.
As I spend more time at the Hull Daily Mail, I am becoming more and more confident. When I get into the office I am able to answer any emails that I need to, and get on with the work I have to complete. I have a range of work to complete whilst here, and sometimes some added extras such as news stories and features.
Although I don’t like being on the phone, I don’t hesitate to ring someone if I need to, the same with meeting people for interviews. I have found that I am also becoming less nervous and just get on with what I need to do.
There are a few things I would like to do whilst there, such as perhaps setting up some fashion shoots like was mentioned in my interview, so I will need to mention this whilst in the office to see if it is a possibility. Whilst in the office I would like to gain as much skill in my chosen areas as possible so hopefully this will be something I can do.
Going out for the street style feature is now becoming a regular thing, as two are used each week so they are used up quickly. Once again I went out with photographer Kate, who is really enthusiastic and makes me enjoy going out more.
This time I found that I didn’t need to keep looking at my questions, which meant I could keep more of a conversation up with the people we were asking.I also learnt, from watching Kate during asking the public, to compliment them whilst asking them to stop and speak with us. This makes us seem more friendly, so they are more likely to stop and have a chat.
Although I don’t particularly enjoy stopping people in the street, I am becoming more familiar with it and I feel a bit more confident when doing so. I know that this may be a major part of being a journalist and perhaps part of my job when I graduate so I make sure I put my all into it and try my best each time we go out.
One of my most recent tasks at the Hull Daily Mail has been to interview a fashion designer that was based in Hull. After being forwarded an email from her, we thought it would be a nice piece to put in both the Femail supplement and The Journal magazine, so I decided to set up an interview.
Usually interviews tend to take place either over the phone or in the reception of the Hull Daily Mail, but I thought it would be best to meet at a coffee shop down the road. This is because I thought it would be more casual for both as us, as I was a little nervous with this being one of my first proper interviews for a feature. Also, I decided to meet face to face as my shorthand isn’t good enough to be able to take notes over the phone, and I could use a dictaphone when we met in person.
Beforehand I wrote out all of my questions so I was prepared, but during the interview I thought of some extras, as I worked off the information she told me. Although it didn’t last too long, I got everything I needed to be able to write my feature. It was a good experience, and I now have both her email and contact number, which I could perhaps contact her on for further stories.
A benefit of meeting face to face was that I could improve my confidence when speaking to people I do not know, which I think has definitely improved.
After meeting and writing up the feature I also organised for a photographer to get some pictures to accompany the piece. It felt great to be in charge of the whole piece, from organising the interview, to writing the feature and finally organising the photographs. I’m looking forward to seeing it published.
After completing all of my usual work, I spoke to Natalie about producing a tweet schedule for the Femail twitter account. I thought about doing this after spending time completing one at a PR company that I do some work experience for. I thought it would be a good idea, especially as I only spend Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the office so I can’t tweet throughout the week.
The tweets I decided to schedule mainly included different features in the current week’s Femail. However, I also included tweets to engage with followers, and about different events in the area. I am aiming to increase follows, as at the moment there are only about 200!
Another way I am going to try and increase this is by following others and by retweeting other users, to engage with the community. This is my ultimate goal, to engage with the community. This way people from the area can interact with Femail.