What to expect from a Journalism Diversity Fund internship

Find out what Khaleda Rhaman, the first participant in the Journalism Diversity Fund internship scheme, thought of her placement at Newsquest.

By Khaleda Rahman, Journalism Diversity Fund recipient 2012/13 and our participant in Khaleda Rahmanthe Journalism Diversity Fund internship scheme
People say time flies when you’re having fun and it really, really does.

I studied History of Art at University College London and while I enjoyed my degree and life in London, I just wasn’t passionate enough about it as a career.

Just over a year ago, I realised journalism was my calling. OK, I thought, I’m going to need some kind of qualification but where to start?

A friend suggested the News Associates workshop in Wimbledon and within days, I’d had a taste of the course, taken an exam and after a surprisingly straight-forward interview, I was in.

But I still needed funding. Enter the Journalism Diversity Fund.

Not only did I get my NCTJ in 20 blink-and-you-miss-it weeks thanks to the diversity fund, but they also supported a 3-month internship at Newsquest. There, I split my time between the SE and SW London offices and properly learned the ropes of being a local news reporter.

And boy, did time fly.

Armed with a pen, notepad and laptop, I dusted off my trusty shorthand covering a two-week murder trial for the News Shopper. Spending days on end in court is suitably grim, but it’s also incredibly satisfying to turn around twice-daily updates from court. Knowing that thousands have clicked on your story within hours of posting online is a great feeling.

Over at the Wimbledon Guardian, I was back covering familiar territory. I learnt to use my contacts for breaking news exclusives, wrote features and manned their leisure pages.

It’s amazing how much attention a story in a weekly local paper can get – the one that sticks in my mind is a man who vowed to barbecue every day, rain or shine, to raise money to adopt a rhino in South Africa. I thought his story was quirky and after it was published, he made the nationals and the London Fire Brigade got in touch to sponsor him – as long as he took a barbecue safety lesson!

I also got the chance to write an edition single-handedly while the other Wimbledon reporter was on holiday – now, that’s an even better feeling.

As my internship was part-funded by Creative Access, I also got the chance to attend some very cool masterclasses – at ITV News, Channel 4 and The Times to name a few. Sitting in the presenter’s chair at ITV News was definitely a highlight!

Now, I feel I have gained the skills and experience I need to follow my dreams into a (hopefully long!) career in journalism. Thanks Journalism Diversity Fund!

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