Wednesday, 22 April 2009

My week at Quite Great PR

My week at Quite Great PR

Day 1: After being at a magazine for a week I felt I should go back to my university routes and work at a PR company. I chose Quite Great PR which is based in Cambridge so no more long days and train rides. It is also a music PR company and the music industry is what I’m looking to go into.

I started the day meeting the team. My friend had previously worked here so it was good putting faces to names. My first task was to write a “fantastic hen night idea” on wedding site forums. This was for an act touring in May and June called “Here come the boys” (like the Chippendales, basically). I had to make print outs for all the sites I had posted on to go into the client folder to show them what work was being done.

After that I had to ring around local businesses for a networking event Quite Great was putting on the next day called the QGI. All of the people I spoke to said it was too short notice so it was a pretty pointless exercise really. At lunch we went round town and asked local businesses if they wished to attend the event. We had one maybe.

Day 2: I spent today sticking newspaper clippings into folders. This was so if any of the team wanted to find out who was the arts editor for say the times all they need to do was look in the folder and it will tell them. I thought this was a really good idea and quite enjoyed just sticking things down. Later on I went with two of the team to set up the room they had hired in a bar in town for the networking event. After the room was set the people started to arrive. It was good seeing what the staffs were doing to try and interest potential clients. The event was set up like speed dating and after 5 minutes everyone moved round and spoke to different people. I was told I wouldn’t be speaking to anyone but at the last minute I was put in. I didn’t mind this as I am sociable person anyway and for the most part I just had to speak about myself, what I was doing at uni, why I was there etc.

Day 3: Today I was ill, which was a real disappointment. As it was the Easter week I was only working there 4 days anyway.

Day 4: I got to write a press release today. It was for a band called Tommy Tokyo who are Norwegian and will be playing at the Great Escape Festival in May. This was really good and I was really pleased when the only thing that needed changing on the release was moving the quotes from the bottom to the top. It was posted out with their album and a couple of other albums and releases. I spent the afternoon doing mail outs for the team.

My week at NME

My week at NME

Day 1: I started my day travelling the 60 miles from Cambridge to London. Once I had arrived at the Blue Fin Building on south bank I met Karen Walter who I had been emailing over the last year about this work placement. There were 6 work experience people in total. One girl had been there for 3 weeks and another for 2 weeks. 4 of us started on the Monday. One girl had previously worked there for a week, so she was able to tell us what to start doing. We started with the post. Although it sounds boring it was a good job. After sorting the mail we distributed it around the office. This gave me a chance to meet the writers and talk to them about my work experience.

We then had a tour of the floor we we’re working on and an explanation of where all the other IPC magazines were based. We also got to go into the basement and see where NME radio is broadcast from. It’s a small office but was good seeing the session room where some of my favourite bands have played.

We had a mediocre afternoon with sorting out the archives. Although this started off boring we started looking through the archives. This was wholly enjoyable and I really liked reading about old bands I love. It was a bit weird reading about Joy Division in their hey day, especially as some of the articles were only months prior to Ian Curtis’ death.

At the end of the day we were given our singles to review. I was given Frankmusik’s new single “We’re better off as 2”.

Day 2: The day started off with the post again. By this time we had a method going on so it was pretty fast to sort. Once again I got to talk to some of the writers. I spoke to the News editor Paul Stokes and he agreed to let me shadow him later on in the day.

I searched online in the morning for stories on other websites that would be of interest to NME readers but weren’t already on I found 5 short news stories and emailed them off to Paul to see which one he wanted me to write.

He chose a story about David Hasselhoff’s two teenage daughters going into the music industry. I wrote the short article in the style of the magazine which looking back was a stupid idea. Of course it got sent back to me and I changed it into the style of then it was put up on the website.

Later on I went with Paul to NME radio to watch what he does with the news stories. It was fun being in the studio even though I had to be deadly silent.

Day 3: Post again! We got the task of research Michael Jackson for an upcoming article today. The task was split between me and another work experience girl. We split his solo career in half and found out details of his career online. We then went down to the archives and searched through all the archives around the time MJ had released an album. I didn’t find many news cuttings, I think this was because I had the first half of his career and his solo work wasn’t that big then. This took up most of the day.
Day 4: Once again post time. We were asked my Karen, who is the Editors PA to write a critique of the magazine which had come out the previous day. It could be written in any style we wanted and how ever long we wanted. I chose to do section by section.

In the afternoon James McMahon the reviews editor asked me to transcribe an interview he had done with Graham Coxon. I was really looking forward to doing this a Graham is an amazing artist and I love Blur. However, when it came down to actually transcribing it I was awful. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done and took forever. It was so noisy in the background and half the time I couldn’t hear what they were saying. Every five minutes a coffee machine went off in the background which sounded like a spaceship taking off. Not good when you’re trying to hear and work out what people are saying.

Day 5: My final day and I was knackered. Travelling the 60 miles there and back everyday really takes it out of you. I admire all the people who commute from Cambridge. After the post I carried on with transcribing the interview which I hadn’t managed to finish the day before.

In the afternoon I had a meeting with Emily Mackay the assistant reviews editor to discuss the single review I had written. I was really pleased with the feedback I was given. She was impressed with my review and said she was doubly impressed when she found out it was the first thing I had written. She warned me to stay away from cliché’s, which I had used for my opening line. She also commented on the personalisation of the review which entices people to read it and enjoy the review more.

Then it all came to an end. I had a great week and I plan to go back in September for another week.