Italian Studies student, Lucy, tells us about her recent editing and marketing placement at the Daily Mirror…
On the first day of my placement I was incredibly excited yet nervous about it all. I had looked up where the offices are in Canary Wharf and realised that they are in One Canada Square which is the second tallest building in the UK and the big building they often fly past on the Apprentice! At first I had to go over all the boring stuff like health and safety, but afterwards I got to go into the offices. The whole floor was open plan with row upon row of shiny Macs. As we were on the 22nd floor, the view was stunning. I have no idea how people manage to get any work done with a view like that!
My first task was to read over the papers that morning so that I could be aware of what was going on but also get used to the style and tone of the Daily Mirror. My next task was to do some research for an article for the next day on how Easter is becoming the new Christmas. I had to find products with a direct link to Christmas, for example Easter crackers. I then had to write a small piece about Easter becoming a more celebrated festival. It was published the next day in the paper. They had cut what I had written down massively and my name was not on it, but I have taken credit for it!
Again, I read the papers until I went into Daily Conference (this is where all of the editors decide which stories will make it into the paper). This was very interesting as I learnt about some stories that no one would have known about, and it felt very strange the next day when I was watching the review of the papers in the morning, whilst already knowing what would be in there! I was given my first task of the day a while after the conference had finished. I would be helping another team write an article about the difference between low fat and standard food products. Despite asking if I could help throughout the day, there were several periods where I hadn’t got anything to do. I managed to plan the whole of my Italian oral exam during this day, so I could say that I was productive, just not in the way that I was expecting. I spent a lot of time thinking about how my peers in smaller companies were probably getting way more experience than I.
On day three, I felt worried that I would spend my day doing not very much when I could have been finishing assignments. However, when I walked into the office and spoke to my supervisor she told me that she had managed to secure me a day with the Fashion department. Luckily the fashion team kept me busy throughout the day. I first had to look for leather trousers to accompany an article about how they had come back into fashion. This was perfect – I was online shopping (one of my favourite pastimes) for work! I then had to make a mood board for the shoot they would be doing the next day which featured jeans and blazers. I spent the day doing odd jobs like this but I enjoyed it because I felt valued for the first time since I arrived at The Mirror. At the end of the day I was asked if I would like to attend the shoot the next day – how exciting!
The shoot was at Holborn Studios in Shoreditch. I helped with all of the basic jobs such as steaming the clothes and writing down all of the different combinations of garments. It was very interesting watching how Didi and Amber (the fashion editors) put outfits together so easily. I had a really good day at the shoot – the only downside was the fact that by the end of it I wanted to buy so many more clothes! The next day was Good Friday and editorial still work on a bank holiday but I was told that they did not need me in the office, so I had a lie in to look forward to!
After a relaxing Easter weekend, I prepared myself for a new week in the marketing department. I felt relieved when I received a friendly welcome from marketing and was given a task straight away. I had to look through the competitor papers and see what offers and promotions they were doing over the Easter Weekend, for example the Daily Mail were giving away a free motorhome. My next task was to come up ideas that The Mirror could do to advertise the new show ‘Judge Romesh’ which is a “micky take” of shows such as ‘Judge Judy’ with the comedian Romesh Ranganathan. In the afternoon I was with the Insight team. The Insight team do an array of things, amongst them include sending out surveys to the audience of The Mirror in order to better understand them, rebranding other publications under Trinity Mirror, giving feedback to brands on how their advertisement has performed in the paper and how they win pitches to convince brands that advertising with them is worth it. My afternoon here was particularly interesting. To finish my day, I wrote a piece about the opportunity to win a brand new TV in conjunction with a new TV show ‘Deep State’ which FOX have been heavily advertising in The Mirror.
The races at Aintree present The Mirror with a good chance to promote their publication, because they can offer free bets which then makes more people buy the paper. Paddypower were offering free bets on each day of the Aintree festival and so I had to write a short and chatty piece about the offers. Another task I had was to come up with ideas for a campaign. Tesco are planning on doing a campaign with The Mirror about body confidence and positivity with the end goal for people to buy F&F bikinis. I came up with many ideas on how to advertise this, for example a spread in the paper of normal people advertising the bikinis instead of a photoshopped models.
Today I went to a meeting called T&T (I’m still not entirely sure what this stands for!) which basically acts as a bridge between editorial and other departments such as marketing, sales etc. They hold this meeting to discuss what each department is doing and so that editorial have an idea of this too. The departments are on different floors and so it becomes easy for them to become separate. Today we also did a wider brainstorm for the Tesco campaign. The main idea that came out of the meeting was to do an ‘anti-page 3’ with normal people in normal holiday destinations advertising the bikinis. In the afternoon I went along to a meeting at the UKTV offices in Hammersmith about a new program featuring Emma Willis. The offices were very cool – they had a balcony and ping pong tables in the office and it had a warehouse vibe going on, as if you were in Shoreditch! The meeting only lasted fifteen minutes so we spent more time travelling than talking! Nonetheless we got back to the office with time to do other things. I spent the rest of the day doing some analysis of the competitor papers’ tablet editions and what each of them offered.
I felt sad that it was my last day because I really enjoyed my time with the marketing department. I spent my morning doing edits on advertisement for the program Deep State, before I got to go into the Sunday Mirror conference. The people in the department were so lovely and everyone was really sociable which contributed to it being such a nice working environment. At about 5 o clock each Friday they have a “treats trolley” that is wheeled around with treats such as crisps, sweets and donuts for everyone to enjoy. They also have drinks in the office after 5.30 where everyone can catch up and discuss their achievements of the week. All of the above contributed to the fantastic week with the marketing team and I learned a lot. I have also discovered that I would like to go into marketing once I have graduated. I was very chuffed when the marketing director asked me if I would like to go back do to a paid summer placement with them and it massively boosted my confidence to know that the team thought I had worked hard and done well.
Overall, whilst I didn’t have a great first week, my second week more than made up for this. I now feel like I have direction and something to work towards. It has given me a drive I have never felt before to go out and get my dream job and this is something I really value.