International work experience bursary winner working as a journalism intern with New Indian Express
Ciara worked for a month and a half for the Indulge Magazine at the New Indian Express newspaper in Bangalore. Her duties included conducting interviews and writing articles and reviews for the paper, as well as proofreading and editing. Published weekly, Ciara’s articles appeared in print virtually every week. Other tasks she was assigned by her editor included contributing to fashion it-lists, society pages, film, restaurant and food reviews. She was also given the autonomy to provide her own suggestions for articles or features in the magazine. This included working on a Home and Style page, for which she interviewed the owner of a garden boutique. Examples of Ciara’s published work include The whole nine yards, an article about a new independent shopping initiative.
Ciara enjoyed her internship immensely, noting that, “I loved interviewing locals for the society pages. It was really interesting to get out of the office and meet people, learn about their businesses and projects and then get to write about them and see the articles published. I got to meet the former editor of the Hindustan Times newspaper, Samar Halarnkar, who is also a father, cook and now published author. Other people I have interviewed include Nina Bual, who started a group called I Love Indiranagar, which involved nine businesses such as a bakery, gardening shop, spa, restaurant, music venue, etc. The businesses started a rapid loyalty scheme for customers to gain rewards from their shopping. I got to meet all of the owners and learn a bit about their lives and how they came about starting their businesses and got to know each other. All of their products were original and many had one-off, unique items. It was really interesting to hear their stories and see how their work developed.” However, it took a little time for her to adjust her style to that of the paper, “I had to rewrite some articles two or three times to make sure that they were fitting with the rest of the magazine. The editor wanted my writing to be extremely descriptive and full of colour so that the reader would get a sense of the place or person that I was writing about. Having only written for the Birmingham Tab and the university newspaper, Redbrick, previously, my work would hardly be edited or altered, so it was interesting to see how a professional editor would view my work and ask me to change it.”
Skills that Ciara developed during her placement included interviewing, writing and proofing. She also feels that, “my general writing style has also improved, as I am typing up articles on a daily basis and learning from others who work at the paper.” Whilst these will assist Ciara in her career goal to become a journalist, her work during the summer has also helped her to identify that, “I would also like to shadow a journalist and keep getting experiences by writing for local papers in the UK as well as at university and abroad. I think it may be a good idea to also do an MA in journalism so that I can further my knowledge, skills and experience… It is very important for me, now, to get work at a paper or magazine in the UK, so that I can understand how journalism works in my own country more, as well as in India. I have also started a blog while I've been in India and plan to keep this up when I return to the UK, so my work is always being published and companies are able to observe my writing and experiences.”
Ciara made a very positive impression on her hosts at the New Indian Express, who observed, “Ciara was extremely versed and comfortable in her position with our company. She showed a strong understanding of journalism and writing with an emphasis on lifestyle features. She was capable of completing stories well before the deadline, testament that she works well under pressure without compromising on quality. She was productive, pleasant and positive to work with, and her commitment towards the paper surpassed my expectation of an intern. She is a fine asset, a wonderful co-worker and she is welcome back any time she likes.”