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News article

Student scores top work placement at national news outlet

Published: 26 February 2024

  •   Featured
  •   Students
Female sat with a laptop on a sofa with a large map in the background showing York

Grace Laidler

Grace Laidler, a second year Film and Television Production student at York St John University, has recently completed a placement at The Times newspaper, gaining a wide variety of experience of print, online and broadcast journalism, whilst making some winning connections.

A lifelong Newcastle United football fan, Grace’s writing career took off after a submission to the club’s fanzine ‘True Faith’ was accepted. The team were impressed with her take on Newcastle United’s loss to Manchester United in the Carabao Cup final and invited her to be a regular contributor. Grace has now written 16 articles for the fanzine over the past year. Having initially been hesitant to accept the role with True Faith, Grace has recognised the boost it has given her confidence in writing about football for a large audience.  

Grace is a member of the Football Writers’ Association, which offers students the opportunity to join journalists in a stadium press box once a season. She was invited to attend the Lionesses’ game against the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium in December 2023. This experience gave Grace a taste of the fast-paced environment that journalists work in when reporting from live games. Describing the atmosphere in the press box Grace said:

“For my first ever time in a press box to be at Wembley, and at a key Lionesses’ game, was a real highlight for me! It was a chaotic game, which was reflected in the journalists around me all scrambling to make their deadlines. Most of the journalists were women and I got some great advice and tips from them. I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity and I hope that more budding female sports journalists can have the same.”

Membership of the Football Writers’ Association also provides students with the chance to participate in a mentorship scheme. Grace was matched with The Times sports journalist Alyson Rudd, who gives her practical feedback on her writing style and advice on beginning a career in sports journalism. Grace also shadowed Alyson in London at The Times offices where she sat in on an interview with a former Premier League player, the recording of ‘The Game’ podcast and touring The Times’ sports desk. Grace said:

“Whilst this was an incredibly daunting experience, it was also very exciting to visit the newsroom of one of the leading newspapers in the country. Although I was only there for one day, it felt like all my hard work from the past year had led to this moment. I have been invited to return for a full week and I couldn’t be more thrilled about this prospect.

“It’s quite a small thing, but when I was in both the recording studio and the newsroom, I realised that they’re just larger scale versions of the ones we have at uni. I’ve always had it in my head that workplaces are a lot more frightening and technically complex than university, but they’re really not. I couldn’t walk into the newsroom tomorrow and come out with a job, but I definitely feel like what I’m doing now at university and my extra-curriculars will put me in good stead for when I do dive into the world of work.”

Degrees in Film and Television Production, Journalism and Sports Journalism at York St John University all offer students hands-on experience in print, online, TV and radio environments.

Dr Jonathan Brown, Senior Lecturer in Media Production and Journalism said:

“Work placements give students the opportunity to experience the reality of being a journalist in a professional setting. They are also great for making contacts and help develop a work experience portfolio of published or broadcast work to prepare them for jobs after university.

“At York St John University we are committed to increasing the diversity of voices in sports journalism and breaking down barriers to support gender equality in the industry.”

Find out more about Film and Television Production, Journalism and Sports Journalism courses on the subject course pages.

Film and Television Production BA (Hons)
Journalism BA (Hons)
Sports Journalism BA (Hons)

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