Editors wandering what to do with work placement trainees would do well to follow the example of the Hampshire Chronicle.
The Winchester-based weekly has won a national prize for the quality of work placements it provides.
The small Newsquest-owned paper was up against the likes of the Cabinet Office and accountancy giant Price Waterhouse Coopers.
It was nominated by university student Claire Cummings who was so impressed by her week with the Chronicle that she entered it for the National Council for Work Experience awards.
NCWE director Liz Rhodes said: “The newspaper industry is a very popular destination for graduates but one where work experience is slow to take off. The Hampshire Chronicle offers well thought-through placements to students from the age of 15.”
Education correspondent Lisbeth Rake, who oversees work experience at the Chronicle, attended a ceremony at the Royal Society of the Arts last week and picked up a special award in the 10 to 250 members of staff category.
Rake said Chronicle students usually accompany photographers and reporters on jobs, attend meetings and write the weekly “from the files” feature taken from the paper’s 232-year collection of back issues.
The Chronicle always tries to ensure students get at least one byline from their week and they are presented with a souvenir photograph of themselves on assignment.
She said: “We put a lot of effort into the structure of our scheme to make sure students get a real insight into what it is like to work for a newspaper.
But it’s not one-sided: we learn so much from students and their enthusiasm and ideas are an inspiration for us all.”
By Dominic Ponsford