Changing the world one book review at a time

As you may or may not know I have been super lucky the past three weeks as I have been on a work experience placement with the Daily Express!

I started out on the travel desk where they took the future of the newspaper industry in their hands and let me actually write a couple of articles. I learnt a valuable lesson that first week, if your editor tells you that they really like what you have just written it roughly translates to “this all needs rewriting”. According to Paul Braun, this is something to get used to.

My first week was definitely my most ‘successful’ because the articles I wrote were printed which was crazy and exciting. No, it wasn’t quite a two page exposé of government secrets but I did find out a lot about Frome in Somerset and why you should go there. Did my mother get super excited and frame my articles? Yes. Am I a little embarrassed by that? Possibly less than I should be. They actually look reasonably impressive until you get close enough to read them…

image (10)

My second week I moved over to the features desk where they didn’t have all that much for me to do but the girls on Health and Beauty did give me some free make-up! So I spent the week doing research and book reviews.

Then I moved up to the fifth floor which is home to the fashion department.

Doing clothing returns in the fashion department may seem like a fairly simple task. Write down the clothing, package it up and send it on its merry way back from whence it came. Honestly, it is a very simple task unless you are me. Clothing returns became a game of Megan vs. Parcel tape as I struggled to get the tape to stick to anything other than myself and then tried to hide the fact that I was covered in tape from everyone else in the office.

I tried

On both the Tuesday and the Friday of my week in the fashion department I got to help out on photo shoots, I had to write down all the clothing worn, the price and the brands and then I got to watch as a jet-setting woman with an enviable figure made it all look fabulous. On the Friday the photographer had me stand in to check the lighting so yes, I am actually a model now. Thanks for asking.

A year in Louisiana was just what I needed to detox from my shopping addiction. I went a year without buying any new ankle boots (crack cocaine for me) and the majority of my purchases were practical. Right now I am 100% the least fashionably dressed in the office because I haven’t really bought anything in the last twelve months. Unfortunately, working in the fashion department is the shopping equivalent of Trainspotting as I have “made a healthy, informed, democratic decision to get back on drugs as soon as possible”. After a year of being perfectly happy wearing running crops and a t-shirt I have now started, once again, to use words like ’embellished’ and ‘faux’. Leopard print cut out heels now appeal to me and is that a dip-dye, rabbit fur, full length coat with crystal trim? I must have it!! The ankle boot addiction? Back with an intensity that terrifies me. Today I saw a pair of burgundy boots sitting half hidden in the corner, they spoke to me and I couldn’t say no. After an hour of staring, a little caressing and a quick Google of the brand… they will be mine as soon as I have the funds.

Working in the fashion department has been great! The girls are lovely (when I left on Friday one of the girls, Harriet, gave me a bag of make-up and jewellery which made me grin like an idiot all the way home) and it’s like Christmas every morning going through the new items, but I’m not sure if I can work in fashion. It’s like sending a recovering alcoholic to work in a pub.

The view from the building I've been working in
The view from the building I’ve been working in

This experience has been incredible, seeing what goes on behind the scenes and all the work that goes into each of these publications is really something. I have no idea if journalism is an area I want to go into yet but this experience certainly hasn’t scared me off.


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