Work Experience - North Devon Gazette

As I write this, i'm sitting at my very own desk at the local newspaper and looking back on the last four days I've spent here. I've just hit 1,100 views on this blog, and instead of crying with happiness in front of the room I will take quick drastic action to distract myself in the form of a new blog post in my last free hour. I've got my peach ice tea, and I am content enough to just write about what comes to mind. Unlike the last four days where I've had to write about the news, now I can just let myself lose, write whatever comes to mind and go with how I feel most comfortable; to over explain everything. The one thing that is fresh on my mind, mainly because it's still taking place was this weeks work experience. 

The stress of exams will be piled on so high next year, my school decided that having time to experience going into a work place will just not be possible. Therefore, each year, the Year 10's have from four days to a week experiencing working outside school.

Being an indecisive person, deciding the right place for work experience in somewhere as limited as North Devon was a difficult process. I was torn between the theatre and the local newspaper, both of which incorporate factors of the career path I want to go down; a magazine based reviewer of either books, theatre or film- that part I am yet to decide.

So after a long thought process and endless advice lessons in school, I whittled it down and sent off an email to the Gazette. It was then confirmed with school in early January, and I had plenty of time to prepare.

At this point, after finally having the guts to move from my private blog, to one available to the public - which is a decision I'm very happy I made - I was starting to write all of the time. As soon as I'd get home I'd sit down and start writing. I would start a new blog post at half 6, and in what felt like five minutes I would look up and it was already half past eight. It was mental. It was then I knew, that I was really looking forward to spending whole days in my own little writing bubble.

The Gazette is available to the public on a Wednesday, so when I first arrived, the editorial team were hands on making sure the next days paper would be printable, and something that would keep the public interested. I was perfectly happy to spend the day re-writing press releases that needed sorting through, it was quite nice to stick to myself as most people around me know, my confidence level is zero. Thinking nothing of it, I did my research, read some information and wrote three press releases into what I thought was my best shot at a news article. Having no previous experience on articles, and being the elaborate story writer that I am, a piece of writing that was meant to be 100 to 200 words long became around 700 words long. This, of course, would never interest someone reading it, loss of attention being a major factor in that. 

The next morning, with editor Andy's help, I was able to cut down, and re-write two of my articles thinking nothing of it. As many people know, having my own byline has been something I have aimed for for a long time. I was certain an opportunity that big wouldn't come around until long into the future. So when I saw my first article, published on a website with my name under it I didn't know how to react. Then, to hear my articles would be in next weeks paper, I began to secretly worry it was some form of day late April Fools. To my delight, it wasn't, and over the week I have had around six articles published which is incredible. (So thanks again Gazette, I am sorry if I was a little shy and didn't quite express my delight as much as I wish I had!

I took a screen shot of my byline on
one of my articles via the Gazette website!

A tradition I highly approved of was their weekly meetings, which occur every Wednesday in Mcdonalds. In fact, they go their so often they have managed to blag themselves free drinks. 

Over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I wrote 6 articles, interviewed 1 London Marathon runner and her mother, had 1 coke in Mcdonalds, took 6 photos on a camera much higher quality than my own and had 6 hours total time on a bus - 8 over the whole week.

On Friday, I got to experience something that scared, but excited me at the same time. Court. Court has never been a subject I've looked into often- I knew it existed, and I understood the rough outline of it but I'd never gone into any detail, and had certainly never been to one. Other than making the mistake of wearing the most itchy jumper possible, it was a really interesting input into Court life in general, and how Journalists approach that. Although Sarah said it wasn't the best of days to go, I thoroughly enjoyed it and did find it really interesting. I also got some great advice during the car journey which I have written down in my notebook for reading back in the near future.

So, now as I write this, and have one more hour left on my work experience, that feeling of nerve at the start of the week has been replaced by a disappointing feeling, the feeling you get when something good slowly but surely draws to an end.

Since they may be reading this, and it's the polite thing to do I should probably make the effort to thank Andy, Sarah, Elliot and Tony, you were all alright I suppose- joking!
In all seriousness, thank you so much for having me, I have learnt tonnes more and can officially say that I can walk out at the end of the week having learnt so much information I don't truly understand how I can still remember it. I can even recall the definition of a pleonasm, which I haven't quite worked out how I'll use it to my advantage but I'm sure it'll come in useful all the same.
Thank you so much, and I do hope to see you again sometime, if you'll have me of course!

If you would like to visit the Gazette website, click here.
You can also read any of my articles by clicking on the following links, or picking up the Gazette dated 09/04/14.


  1. Nice blog Katie – keep up the good work. It was a pleasure having you at the North Devon Gazette – to see your news writing improve so much in short space of time was great to see. We’ll be sure to get you on the telephone next time though…..!

  2. Thank you! Yes, I feel I've improved greatly!
    I think the telephone is definitely my next obstacle to overcome.