January 20, 2018

Kristine Clifford

Chance is a funny thing. France is a great thing. And when the two combine – hey, can’t complain!

After a random encounter last May, I was given an opportunity for work experience in Cannes, France this past October at MIPCOM, an international TV trade show.

I was part of the MIPCOM Daily, a team that produces daily magazines for the attendees at the festival. I was expecting the experience to be fantastic- round trip ticket to France, apartment with a terrace, free food, and a trip to Paris at the end.

What I wasn’t expecting was how much confidence it gave me moving forward in my MA course in journalism.

The team consisted of about 15-20 people – journalists, photographers, editors, subeditors, bloggers, and designers. I sat at the editor’s table, proof reading magazine pages that were waiting to be printed.

I watched the whole process of magazine journalism from start to finish. I shadowed journalists who were interviewing producers and stars of our favourite programs, helped them type up articles, sat by the subeditors who picked through them with a fine-tooth comb, and watched as the designers laid the articles out on a page to be printed and handed back to the editor aka the boss.

I’m not going to lie; it was a bit intimidating at first. MIPCOM is a very prestigious event. With hundreds of industry professionals right outside the door, while being on a team of journalists who range from BBC writers to Guardian editors, it felt easy to shrivel back and hide. But when life gives you such opportunities, you just can’t let yourself hide. You have to give it your all. And I did.

My first day I was at the desk all day proof-reading titles and googling names for spelling accuracy, but by the end of the week I was able to get two articles published and my name credited as journalist in the magazine.

At the same time of the work experience, I got an email from WalesOnline saying I had the opportunity to intern there in a few weeks. I can honestly say my experience at WalesOnline would have been very different if I didn’t go to Cannes. The difference would have been lack of confidence. But because of Cannes and my training in my MA program, I had an idea of what to expect.

This experience has taught me to always say yes to opportunity, and not to be afraid to ask Cardiff Met for help. My tutor was very supportive of my experience.

I look forward to the next opportunity that comes knocking while I’m at Cardiff Met.

And did I mention, I got a trip to Paris out of it?!

Looking for more like this? Read more about student experiences of work placements and internships.