Half way through the 2 week placement and I feel kind of ok. After the intense long days of the classes at PA the working world feels, well, not quite relaxed, but manageable.
I'm at Construction News, and there's a chance they're just taking it easy on me as they can see I'm a man on the edge. Or it might be that the 6 weeks have prepared me well for working at an actual factual magazine.
I've published a number of news pieces that the editors seemed pretty happy with and the other bits I've worked on have gone down well. Someone even said I sounded confident doing an interview on the phone (fake it 'til you make it!)
On the other hand it's been pretty frustrating. While I feel like I've got the skills to write (contrary to the impression this blog might give you), I don't know my subject that well. I don't have the industry contacts and I don't get sent press releases. I'm a ghost in the world of construction news! Finding news stories feels like a bloody labour, but thankfully the other people at the magazine have sent some stuff my way.
Similarly, with writing features I've had to come up with my own. Again, because I don't know the industry that well it's tough to know what's going to be a decent idea. I don't know what's already been well covered and what maybe isn't important.
I did manage to pitch something in my first week though; a piece about emissions from construction sites. It seemed solid and the industry press wasn't really writing about it. The features editor liked it and so on Wednesday I started on my quest to find out; does construction have a problem with emissions?
The next morning those utter bastards at Building magazine (our rivals) published THAT EXACT ARTICLE as their lead feature.
It was reassuring to see I wasn't barking up a non-existent tree with my idea. But I was now feature-less.
I needed a new feature. I needed something to write 800-odd words on in an industry I don't know enough about. I panicked. I bottled it. I returned to the comfort of Prime Opportunities and I'm now working on a piece about older people in the construction industry.
And if Building magazine publish a piece on that this Thursday I'm going to be absolutely fuming.
In summary; I actually feel like I could actually be a proper journalist now. As long as Building magazine don't continue their efforts to personally undermine me.