Channel 4 4Talent

In 2012 I completed fantastic work experience at Channel 4 in their 4Talent department which was so amazing and I loved every minute!! Please find below my journey at channel 4.

In March 2012 I was lucky enough to attend the All Inclusive 4 networking event which focused on how to make an application jump off a page, offered valuable, practical tips and techniques for making that break into the media industry. It was also a chance to network with Channel 4 staff across a number of departments. I left feeling so inspired and spent the next few days writing and rewriting all of the information I had learnt during the evening and waited eagerly for the work experience applications to open.

When the applications opened I took my time to complete my application remembering all of the points I had learnt from the All Inclusive 4 networking event and after an agonising two week wait I was delighted and overwhelmed to be congratulated having been selected to work in the 4Talent department for a week.

As I made my way to Channel 4 HQ I could feel my heart beating with nerves but my body was filled with excitement as completing work experience at Channel 4 was something I had dreamt of since I was at school.

Channel 4 HQ!

Channel 4 HQ!

My first day consisted of an induction which gave me an interesting history about Channel 4 followed by checking the inbox and replying to emails, putting together the bags for a 4Talent day, researching opportunities for young people which could be tweeted from the @4Talent Twitter page and of course getting to grips with not getting lost around the building!

On my second day I was lucky enough to be involved and oversee the last 4Talent day of the year. As the 30 aspiring Journalists slowly began to arrive eagerly anticipating the day’s events they were greeted by 4Talent Co-ordinator Priscilla Baffour who outlined the agenda and what to expect over the two days. 4Talent Manager, Glynn Ryland, was next to the stage and highlighted how important it was to stand out from the crowd, not to wait for permission and to look for the platforms to launch yourself from. All great tips were noted down by the Journalists ready to put into action. The journalists were also encouraged to tweet throughout the day sharing their thoughts and experiences using the #4Tdays hash tag.


The second guest of the day was Ewan McIntosh, founder of global consultancy ‘No Tosh’. He spent three hours focussing on creating your online digital footprint with the motto ‘If you can’t be a good online Journalist, you can’t be a Journalist at all.’ The Journalists took part in a number of activities to help develop their skills such as describing yourself in five nouns, the elevator pitch which involved introducing yourself in fifty three seconds (harder than you think!), perfecting your handshake, asking ‘Have you Googled yourself recently?’ and my favourite – Twitter analysis.

When Ewan explained he would be selecting some of the journalists to analyse their twitter pages there were some worried faces in the crowd and people slowly sunk deeper into their chairs hoping not to be picked but in fact, all Journalists were very grateful for the advice and constructive criticism Ewan gave them. One great tip I noted down was to have more confidence when writing your bio – instead of putting ‘aspiring journalist’ simply put ‘journalist’ as this looks more professional and creates a bold statement about yourself. Ewan also explained it was important to have a professional image, to be careful what you tweet about and to make your account public as more people will be inclined to follow you.

As Ewan’s insightful three hours came to an end it was time for lunch and everyone headed down to the restaurant to continue to network with each other and take advantage of their free five pound voucher!

After lunch the afternoon began with a talk from Channel 4’s New Media Commissioning Editor, Vicky Taylor, who described her job role and the journey she took to get to where she is today. She was very enthusiastic which conveyed through to the journalists and set thumbs quickly tweeting about the information they had learnt.

Another question and answer session followed with ITN Programme Editor, Rachel Jupp who gave the Journalists a detailed day to day description of what her day involves from getting into work at ITN, having a meeting with her team to discuss the day’s news, deciding what to feature on the six o’clock news, creating the stories, more meetings and getting ready to go live to the nation! Rachel, like most of the staff the Journalists met over the course of the two days, has slowly worked her way up to her dream job by networking with industry professionals, completing work experience and working in a number of different departments and at different companies to finally get to where she is today.

The last part of the day consisted of welcoming back 4Talent Co-ordinator Priscilla Baffour who spoke about the great work 4talent do for young talent and up and coming opportunities. People Development Advisor, Eva Ferri, also spoke about the Investigate Journalism Scheme, work experience, apprenticeships and a number of others available in the coming year.

As the fun-packed and eye-opening first day drew to a close the thirty journalists left with a spring in their step feeling inspired for the final day at The Guardian.

My third day involved finishing reaching opportunities for young people and observing a budget meeting which was very interesting and left me feeling much more knowledgeable about the constraints imposed by budgets.

On my fourth day I attended the second 4Talent day at The Guardian and was able to put my photography module experience I completed at University to good use as I was made the official photographer.

The second day took place at The Guardian in their Education Centre, headed up by Margaret Holborn, and with support from the Sustainability team. During the day it gave the aspiring journalists a real chance to experience what it would be like to be a journalist at The Guardian. After a brief history of The Guardian and a run through of a typical day, the day’s assignment was set which would involve working in groups of two or three to produce a front cover of the day’s news.

The Journalists working hard!

The Journalists working hard!

The groups received tips along the way and welcomed visits throughout the day from members of staff including Maya Wolfe Robinson, Commissioning editor for Guardian law, News reporter Helen Pidd, Culture Community Co-ordinator Hannah Freeman, feature writer Patrick Kingsley and Political reporter Helene Mulholland. All were extremely helpful and were able to share their experience about how they made it into the media industry. One of the tips I picked up on was to keep in contact with the contacts you make so they remember your name and will know you are still interested.

Finally it was time to print and welcome Sub editor, Oren Gruenbaum, to get his feedback on the final front pages. It was a tense moment for the groups but they seemed to exceed Oren’s expectations. He pointed out a few minor suggestions to improve the front covers such as changing headlines, using different images and checking spelling – all of which the journalists found helpful.

Before the day came to an end there was time for a quick tour around the multimedia centre to see behind the scenes and a question and answer session with The Guardian’s Assistant Comment editor, Joseph Harker, who shared his experiences.

For anyone who has not attended a 4Talent Day I would highly recommend applying. Not only do you get the chance to learn from the best, and make great contacts, it is a fun and a jam packed experience. Every single person left feeling inspired and motivated to keep pursuing their career into the media industry.

It is true what they say time flies when you are having fun and before I knew it, it was my last day at 4Talent and also Channel 4’s 30th Birthday!  I felt so  privileged to be working on such an iconic day and it was a great chance to network with channel 4 employees.

30th birthday balloon in the lift!

30th birthday balloon in the lift!

For anyone considering whether they should apply for work experience at Channel 4 I would highly recommend it. It is a fantastic opportunity to see behind the scenes, network and hopefully move one step further up the ladder towards that dream job. All of the people I met over the week had all worked hard to get to where they are today.

Since attending The All Inclusive 4 networking event and completing work experience I have gained so much valuable knowledge, some of the key points I would like to share would be:

  • Take time to fill out your application – research, plan your answers, be creative, explain what makes you different from everyone else applying, why should they pick you? It doesn’t matter if you send your application on the last day – It shows you have taken your time.
  • If you are not successful the first time – ask for feedback, people want to and are more than happy to help.
  • Network, network, network – Twitter is so powerful and great for meeting people. Engage with people in the media industry, send them tweets and ask them questions.
  • Enjoy yourself while you are on work experience and get the most out of it that you can.


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