Educating, entertaining, and informing: Leggott's journalism internship

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Educating, entertaining, and informing: Leggott's journalism internshipEducating, entertaining, and informing: Leggott's journalism internship
Date28th Feb 2022AuthorClaire HolmesCategoriesStudent Life

In September 2020, John Leggott College in Scunthorpe launched the Journalism Internship as part of its extensive Extended Opportunities programme. As a college, we recognise the importance of developing students’ knowledge skills and behaviours beyond purely their curriculum subjects, and this programme sits within a suite of extended opportunities as part of our extra-curricular offer. Students apply for the internship, stating what skills and qualities they can provide to benefit the college as well as highlighting how the internship will develop and enhance their future career progression prospects.   

So what does it mean to be a journalist intern?

Staff and journalism intern programme graduates teach current interns about the role of a journalist, the different journalism genres (print, investigative, feature writing, review writing, sports, culture, etc), while also modelling good practice and providing feedback on submissions.  

Students are encouraged to pursue their own interests and create their own individual voices. This has led to the production of the JLC Talks newsletter (pictures in the gallery section below), with an audience of about 1,800 students and staff, which to date has produced 12 editions. 

Students write high quality pieces on a full range of topics from coping in lockdowns, examination stress, applying for UCAS, leisure activities, favourite films and books, and student perspectives on Christmas, to name but a few examples. All students are also encouraged to take the role of editor, in which they develop the key journalistic skills of proof-reading and editing as well as writing the overarching editorial. 

In addition to internal communications and journalism pieces, the interns are tasked with external press releases or college website news tasks. For example, Faith Singh (who plans to apply to Oxbridge in 2023) wrote an inspiring piece entitled “A legacy of lost learning: can we ever catch up?” which was published in Lincolnshire Life in January 2022 (below). Further pieces have appeared in the Goole Times, Scunthorpe Telegraph and Doncaster Gazette. 

Picture 1

The interns also benefit from employability talks. A particular coup for the college was an inspirational talk provided by the BBC Culture Editor, Katie Razzall (below), on her pathway into journalism, which she provided during lockdown 2 in October 2020.  She is scheduled to give a repeat talk to this year’s cohort in February 2022. Dr Kyra Piperides, former JLC alumna and PGCE English trainee teacher, is the editor for About Larkin, a journal published by the Philip Larkin Society, and she advised students on editorial skills as well as inviting students to send in submissions. There have also been talks by published authors such as Mandeep Hayre, giving advice on how to get your work published.   

Picture 1The internship is more than just an extended or enrichment opportunity for students; it provides real hands-on work experience. We plan to provide our interns with a portfolio of their published work at the end of the year, and there will be a celebratory event for students, friends, parents and staff.

Here are some comments provided by the current journalism interns:

Chloe S. 

“The Journalism Internship has helped me develop my personal voice and writing style, especially using an alias.  It makes me think each month when I submit an article, what I want to share with the world. I was really proud to have my article published in my local paper, The Goole Times.”  Chloe has been offered a place at Oxford studying English Language and Literature.

Charlie C.

“It’s a great opportunity to explore my own interests as well as expand and enhance my own understanding of the journalism industry, including when an article I wrote about the new build at JLC was published in The Scunthorpe Telegraph.”

 

Alarna B.

“It is a great way to express your interests through a written piece that is published in JLC Talks for our students and staff to read and enjoy.”

All students will be entering the BBC Young Reporter of the Year competition in the 16-18 category. From a teaching perspective, it is great to see these potential young journalists of the future develop their skill, expertise and confidence before our very eyes, as well as seeing them providing a service for our college. It is clearly an initiative that we will continue to provide and develop in years to come, including developing more broadcast journalism opportunities.

I would certainly encourage other colleges to venture into more student-led enrichment activities. Our interns have not only developed their skills, but have also benefited the college by marketing key events and activities.

This initiative has:

  • Developed and deepened learners' journalistic skills
  • Developed wider skills outside the curriculum – confidence, teamwork, resilience, independence, oracy, and literacy
  • Enabled students to be prepared for their next steps and progress onto positive and sustainable destinations 

At JLC we are more than just a classroom, and ventures like this truly do enrich our students’ lives.

Claire Holmes is Deputy Principal at John Leggott College.

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