Eureka! The First Steps into Journalism

So, a couple of weeks ago I went to this thing in London. And no, it wasn’t the Olympics. It was work experience, which has become something of a must for students who want get started on their career before they’ve even reached graduation. But before I recall my tale…bring on the tourist photos!

The old and the new parts of London

So anyway, I was in London in order to see the world of science journalism first hand at Eureka, a monthly science magazine that’s available every first thursday of the month (and I now expect everyone to buy a copy) inside The Times.

Eureka has its own small team, all working together to produce the monthly magazine, and I have to note that they work incredibly hard. My hours were 10.30 til 6 most days, but after I left, who knew how long they continued working for. Each magazine always contains a feature known as Wonderful World, which I got to research and actually have a go at writing for Septembers issue, as well as researching other interesting tid bits of information which when reading in the magazine are amazing, but when trying to research and come up with these seemingly small facts, I realised that it’s actually quite hard to come up with the ideas for them.

Even as a basic researcher, I really did enjoy my time at Eureka, I was given my own desk space with a computer to work at, and I never knew that there were so many textbooks about vineyards and soil types (buy this Septembers issue on the 6th to hopefully find out what I mean). I was able to attend the meetings that they had about plans for future issues and the current one in process, seeing first hand the time and effort it takes every month to put together a quality magazine.

Compared to this blog, where I tend to write about anything that catches my eye and have access to my numerous textbooks, journalism for classic media formats takes much time and effort. Avoiding the grasp of Wikipedia is a must, luckily I know this from my time at university where my work must contain peer reviewed sources such as textbooks and journal articles, but with online research, it leaves what Nicola Davis (a writer and researcher at Eureka) called ‘the paper trail’: you may think that you’ve found a website that contains legitimate information, but if you look closer, you’ll see that their source has come from the ever popular online encyclopaedia.

I won’t reveal on here the articles or the general theme for next months issue, as I really do feel that more people should buy and read it, as well as attempt the puzzles on the back pages. All I can say for now is that this work experience has shown me the hard work that is required, though I found a great sense of satisfaction from doing it. So for any budding journalists reading, don’t be afraid to contact even the biggest newspapers or media outlets asking for even a weeks work like I did, chances are that they’ll be able to arrange something and would be pleased for another pair of hands, you may even have your work published or will just see the results of your research.

To finish this post, I must give many thanks to all of those who work at Eureka, who supplied me with plenty of biscuits during the day, for giving me the chance to do my little bit for the magazine that they all work incredibly hard on. It’s left me knowing that I’d like to continue with journalism and I’d love to return one day.

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