Fifth year student at the De La Salle High School, Downpatrick, Ruben Kelly (16) from Ardglass, has spent a week on job experience with Down News.
With a strong interest in working in the media, Ruben covered a range of interesting activities which introduced him to the world of digital media.
Editor Jim Masson explained the background to the print media and broadcast media and after a brief induction and setting out some key learning objectives, Ruben began his week at Down News looking forward to the experience.
Ruben Kelly said: “My favourite subjects at school are English and Art and I will be taking my GCSE’s after Christmas. I am quite interested in working in the media. I’m not sure yet in which area, but this job experience has proven to be very useful as it covered journalism and photography, two core skill areas.
“I was out on location and took several photographs using industry standard photographic equipment. It was amazing how complicated taking photos is and even the heavy weight of the camera itself was a surprise.
“I learned more about Photoshop, a photo editing software package, and I learned a few skills with the camera. It is really quite a complex job. You need skills working with people, using the camera and on the computer. I was surprised also to read in the NUJ magazines that the media industry is quite under pressure and that a number of regional newspapers are closing down through economic pressures and there is a gradual shift to digital media.
“Also, I covered how to upload an article onto WordPress, which is the software which drives the Down News website. Like Photoshop, it is extremely complicated, and I just scratched the surface. However, I realise how this all comes together.
“Looking at house rules was interesting. Each publication has its own house rules which are standards which control the editorial output. For example, dates, names, font size, photo placing, paragraph spacing etc are all subject to house rules and this creates an orderly production.
“The editor Jim Masson also took me through the NUJ code of ethics which is very important for journalists. It should be how they conduct themselves as professionals in their industry.
“It was interesting too that Down News uses MAC computers as they are less prone to viruses and are much easier to work with especially when processing photos and graphics.
“We spent a bit of time looking over how an article is placed on the Down News website and in which categories it would be best fitted into. We then looked at how a hard copy newspaper is put together.
“Search engine optimisation (SEO) was also covered and we looked at how Down News promotes itself on the Internet using tags and key words etc.
“The week passed by very quickly as I was busy and time flies when you are kept on your toes. Working in the media, certainly in the digital media area, is very varied and you would never get bored as each day is different and presents different challenges. Deadlines are always important in the press and Down News also faces these challenges and tries to publish articles promptly.
“Overall I really enjoyed my work experience with Down News in between the many cups of tea and sausage rolls and occasional McDonald’s.
“Jim has shown me how editing can greatly improve my finished written articles and this has been really helpful.”