27 August 2011

Horticultured Up

After an intense week as a very hectic production editor, I was full of apprehension for my work experience at Horticulture week. Having completed my first week on placement, I now know this was totally unnecessary. This week has been the most enjoyable of the summer and I could see myself staying at Hort Week but I'm not sure how much I dare to dream!

Monday morning saw me thrown in the deep end with little hesitation by the deputy editor (my boss). This was quite an ego boost and as the stories wizzed through my inbox and back out again I got a real kick out of every completed nib, news and feature section I pulled together. Following Roberta's advice I was straight onto the phone with every press release I saw. At first I wondered whether these stories would see the light of day or if they did I presumed they must be altered and subbed so much that they would resemble nothing like the original pieces.

On Tuesday I finally found the time to check the Hort Week website. And there I was. Each of the four highlighted stories was mine. And there were more in the popular news list too. I even received two comments. On Wednesday I was set my own feature to write that will go into the magazine, still producing the same amount of news stories as the previous two days I made a swift start. Balancing the work load whilst my inbox alerts pinged away gave me a real kick. And it wasn't just my own stories I was chasing up, discovering and writing. I had to check details for features such as the top 100 garden centres and gather as much data as possible, as well as organising press passes for myself and others for various events.

On Thursday I attended the Retail Garden Awards and gathered Vox Pops from the judges. And yes, I even used patchy shorthand, Roberta! There were many highlights to Thursday, including compliments from the deputy editor, a free posh buffet lunch (including Frü desserts), and speaking to the garden correspondents for The Sun. It was a major thrill when one of the correspondents noticed my article in this weeks Hort Week and used the words 'very good' to describe it. Wow! The mag went to press on Wednesday at 12 noon. I'd been in the office precisely two and a half day and had articles on pages four, five and six. Infact, half of page five was mine, indicated by my beautiful byline. It was all very exciting.

Friday saw me get drenched at Kew Gardens but the rain was the least of my worries. On returning to the office at 2pm I had my six stories from Start@Kew to write up, four vox pops to edit, a feature to finish phone calls for, and two more news stories to write that had come through whilst I was busy taking notes and being loaded up with information and free eco-products. I was also very proud of the fact I managed to get figures for expected turnout from the Kew Gardens press office. My deputy editor had struggled on this for weeks, probably due to his exposé on their awful turn out at Clarence house last year which got picked up by the Daily Mail!

Having learnt everything there is to know about bee saving plants, illegal pesticides and turf price increases, I headed over to the Feature Editor's desk to grab some info from him quick. This is when the exciting but terrifying bomb was dropped. I have 'won' an expenses paid trip to Norfolk during which I get lunch in a restaurant! For free! So this weekend will be spent researching ancient forests and methods of restoration in preparation for my 1,400 word feature due in on Friday. 1,400 is a terrifying number, especially when it is the main feature of the magazine and the headline will appear on the cover of the 16 September issue. Look out for it!

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