Life at the New Statesman: Part 1


Over this summer the word ‘intern’ has become synonymous with ‘working for free’. It is a complicated issue and one I intend to join the discussion on soon. What I want to do today is to give you some insight into my time at the New Statesman. (I am splitting this into 2/3 parts so issues can be given proper discussion without me having to bore you with one mega-post!)

In total I spent 7 weeks at the magazine and overall I had a positive experience, yet it was not without frustrations and hiccups along the way. In reflecting on the good and the bad I hope to generate some discussion points and give a few pointers.

Settling in

I think the biggest lesson I learnt in the past two months is that it takes time for both sides (you and your employer) to adjust to your presence. You cannot be expected to be given large amounts of responsibility on day one. Over time as staff members learnt where my skills (and interests) lay I was given more work related to my areas of ‘expertise’ (a word I use with a large pinch of salt)

This is why an extended period of time at an organisation is crucial if both the intern and the company are going to derive some value from the experience. If I had left the NS after one, or even two weeks I would have left frustrated with the lack of work I had been offered and a lack of opportunities to get stuck into the ‘guts’ of putting a weekly magazine together.

Image courtesy of the New Statesman

Yet as I leave now I feel as though I have deepened some of my skills and had a positive impact on some of the NS’s approaches to aspects of their online presence such as content promotion.

It is always frustrating to be told you must walk before you can run, I never could stand having the stabiliser wheels on my bike, but it is a lesson I have had to re-learn over the past two months. In a rush to show the NS what I could offer them, I sometimes found myself resentful that I was never asked. However, in reality I was there to do a job and take the opportunity to learn as I worked.

At the New Statesman interns are included in the weekly editorial meetings, their opinions are solicited from time to time in the newsroom and if you demonstrate an ability to work hard and deliver on deadline then you will be rewarded with more work.

(Although remember, there will ALWAYS be a transcription to do!)

So what should you take away from these ramblings above?

That it won’t – and in fact – it can’t all happen on day one, that patience is not just something martial art gurus teach in Hollywood films, but an actual applicable skill (that you would do well to master).

That the longer a spell you can land at a company the more you are likely to be able to take away at the end.

Finally (until part 2 anyway) try not to make judgements too quickly, if you become sour and disengaged then both you and your employer lose out.

Remember you are in this for the long haul.

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About Nick Petrie
Social Media & Campaigns Editor @TheTimes of London. Co-founder @Wannabehacks. Interested in communities, conversations, storytelling. http://ow.ly/5eDia

2 Responses to Life at the New Statesman: Part 1

  1. Neela says:

    I completely agree. The fact is that the longer you stay at a placement, the more work you are given. Also, it is definitely a chance to network. I try to speak to as many people as possible.

  2. Pingback: Life at the New Statesman: Part 2 « Wannabe Hacks

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