Placement with Peter and Melanie at the Mechanic’s Institute Review
Details of the practitioner and what you hope to learn from them
I completed a six week placement at The Mechanics Institute Review Online, a website for Creative Writing run out of Birkbeck University. Most of the volunteers at MIR work from home so a lot of the work I did was via email. However I did go on a visit to Birkbeck to meet the managing editors of the magazine. During my placemement, myself and one other student organised a Youth Takeover Month. We ran a competition, selected entries, and published the winning stories online.
Link to MIRONLINE: http://mironline.org/
About Page: http://mironline.org/about/
4/6/19 – Introduction and tour of the website (1 hour)
6/6/19 (2 hours) – Bing given editor WordPress accounts for MIR and learning how to edit a webpage on a professional site.
11/6/19 (1 hour) – Working on practice web pages
18/6/19 (1 hour) – Brainstorming ideas for a Youth takeover month at MIR
20/6/19 (2 hours) – Planning the call for submissions and design for the competition. Publishing these on the site. Learning how to use Trello, a project management software to organise a competition.
25/6/19 (1 hour) – Learning about social media marketing and how to get submissions
27/6/19 (2 hours) – Learning how to manage submissions using excel
2/7/19 (1 hour) – Emailing famous authors and MIR contacts and asking for them to write articles for the youth takeover (author engagement)
4/7/19 (2 hours) – Reading submissions
9/7/19 (1 hour) – Selecting winning submissions
11/7/19 (2 hours) – Scheduling posts to come out in September for the Youth Takeover month.
Friday 12 July 2019 – Trip to Birkbeck to meet managing editor, Peter Coles and attend a copy editing training session
16/7/19 (1 hour) – Copy editing
18/7/19 (2 hours) – Copy editing and finalising the project. Sending thank you emails.
Details of the project
I did work experience at MIROnline and my role was as a content editor. I got access to the MIROnline wordpress and was able to create blogs, interviews, and competitions. I was also given lots of information about how a creative writing magazine is run.
During this placement, I also completed my leadership project. This was a Youth Takeover of the site. The takeover ran for a month and I ran a competition to select the young people whose stories would be published. I will talk more about this in unit 2.
During the placement I learnt:
- How to use WordPress to edit posts and pages
- How to run a creative writing competition
- How to copy edit work to a professional standard
- How a creative writing magazine is organised using project management software
- How to engage young people on social media
- How to select appropriate images to grab attention and the copyright issues around this.
Here is a link to the pages I made on MIROnline: http://mironline.org/tag/youth/
I will have more images in unit 2 but here are some screenshots from my work on the website
Developing Strengths and Weaknesses
This project work placement helped me to develop these skills:
Marketing and sales
Feedback from Melanie and Peter
Kristin picked up skills very quickly. She was great at using WordPress and learned how to schedule posts and write copy. At school, Kristin finds it difficult to communicate with others so I was very pleased to see her communicate with well-known authors and MIR editors via email during the course of her placement. I did not expect her to be able to talk face to face with Peter as I sometimes have to mediate between her and an unknown adult, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that she was able to chat with him about copy editing for well over an hour when she met him in person. As well as this, Kristin ran an excellent competition that engaged many young writers and was a successful feature for the website.Melanie Jones, Former Managing Editor, (Melanie was managing editor in 2019)
It was lovely to work with Kristin during her work placement. Communicating via email, I would not have had any idea that Kristin had any difficulty working with people she didn’t know. She picked up WordPress and Trello (the project management software we use) a lot quicker than many of our permanent volunteers and staff and I was able to trust her with important and time-sensitive posts. It was great to meet her in person and discuss professional copy editing with her. She had already made a good start ono editing the stories we gave her and she picked up the skills in this area very quickly and put them to use in her own competition. The Youth takeover of the website was a huge success and connected with the goals of MIROnline to engage writers who may not have had access to a university level experience. I would happily take Kristin on as a permanent volunteer when she leaves school.Peter Coles, Managing Editor (from 2020- present, Peter was deputy managing editor at the time of the placement.)
Reflection on the placement
I really enjoyed working on MIROnline and would be interested in working on a magazine in the future. However, most of this was a little in my comfort zone as I could do it on my computer and didn’t have to do much communication face to face. For this reason, the best part for me was travelling to Birkbeck and working with Peter. It was also exciting to talk to established authors.