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Journalism student Samantha Cunningham reflects on a week well spent on work experience at CPL
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started my time at CPL. I had researched the company as thoroughly as I could, which made me feel slightly less nervous as my first day came around. On arrival at the offices, I was keen to find out what it would be like to be part of the CPL team – even for a short time.
I had prepared myself for the type of placement scenario that I had heard about from friends at other places – where you are put in a corner and forgotten about, or assigned a simple research task that lasts half the week. But this could not have been further from the reality of life at CPL. From day one, I was made to feel like an equal and valued member of the team.
After being welcomed to the company by managing director Mike Sewell in the big Monday meeting – and after a quick induction with very bubbly receptionist Ewa – I felt settled in and ready to get going.
As a student, it is always reassuring to find out that the time and money you have spent over the past few years in pursuit of a certain career path have been worthwhile. From the off, everyone at CPL listened to my ideas and contributions, and gave me really useful advice about the articles I wrote for various clients, as well as general tips for my career and about working in Cambridge.
I started the week creating short articles for a project in Elephant and Castle. Senior associate Adam Driver was really helpful and guided me through the client’s requirements and the best strategy for tackling different components of the assignment, including SEO and tweets. Creating these pieces helped to make my writing style more succinct, while drafting the tweets gave me the chance to try an avenue of journalism in which I hadn’t had much experience.
Later in the week, the design team showed me the process involved in rebranding magazines, and it was interesting to see how they translated a client’s vision onto the page. As they experimented with potential ideas for a masthead, it made me realise how dynamic designers have to be. They also took the time to look at my university magazine projects, and to give me advice and feedback on them – which was really helpful.
CPL gave me a unique work experience and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer team of people with which to work. The week helped me to figure out which aspects of publishing I find most intriguing, and made me feel more optimistic about my future and the direction in which the industry is going.
From start to finish I enjoyed my time with the company – and can’t wait to come back in the future, hopefully.