Journalism graduate Zonaira Chaudry completed a project over the summer of 2021 working for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. As a student on the MA Arts and Lifestyle Journalism course at LCC, Zonaira was able to put the skills from her course into action in a real-life situation.
Zonaira, thank you for catching up with us, lovely to meet you! It’s great to hear you were able to put the learning from your course into a paid job through Arts Temps – how did you find the experience?
It was such a great opportunity, to work with a real client and real people are going to read your work! So rather than just sending your assignments off to your mum or reading it to your dog you know, there are people who do read the publication!
Jokes aside though, it’s such a valuable experience, dipping your toe into the professional world and meeting clients. You gain so much more from doing an assignment with a client than you would just doing the classroom learning.
Could you go into a little more detail about what you did for the Swedish Chamber of Commerce?
Yes so, I was asked to write up two articles based on transcripts of interviews. The articles are for a bimonthly publication aimed at UK and Swedish businesses - the Swedish Chamber of Commerce supports Swedish businesses who are setting up in the UK.
I had to write in a ‘business casual’ style – I’ve written in business English before, but it was tricky getting the balance between business and casual, particularly because English is a second language to me, so I read some previous issues to help get a better sense of the voice of the publication.
I must have done a good job because they asked me to do a third article afterwards!
That’s great! And you must have learned some interesting things about Swedish business! What was your biggest takeaway from the job?
Ah, it was so interesting; I love writing like this because you learn so many interesting things you wouldn’t think to look up on your own.
My biggest takeaway was experiencing a real-life journalism role – I had tight deadlines (3-5 days to hand in the piece), I developed my client relationship skills, I received feedback on my strengths and weaknesses so I have a better idea of where I could use some extra development.
Were you able to put skills from your course into practice?
On my course we covered basic journalistic skills such as researching, writing and editing – so yes, all three were covered in this role. Having just handed in my final project not long before starting this job I guess it validated the learning I’ve done at LCC. On top of that, you are then learning how to interact with a client and an editor – developing your professional demeanour.
And finally, what’s your biggest recommendation to Arts Temps taking on their first jobs?
BE CONFIDENT! You have to project your best self, especially when you are developing your portfolio as a student and young graduate. My biggest recommendation is to not fear asking questions, consider the detail and get a clear idea from the client of what their expectations are; often briefs aren’t clear and it’s better to ask lots and lots of questions than to guess. Plus it helps them remember you and you never know where networking will take you!