OK Magazine

Completing work experience at OK! Magazine was a dream of mine since I was at school.  I felt so lucky and privileged to be working at one of the top magazines and completed a diary to reflect on my experience.

Monday 26th July 2010

During my first morning on the features desk the team explained to me that each morning they research the Daily Mail, Perez Hilton and any other gossip websites for the latest celebrity news.  The internet plays an important part of this research and is used by the journalists to find out the latest stories.  They have to keep up to date with what is happening and for any news they can use for the next issue.  I was asked by Chief Writer Andrew Fraser to transcribe an interview with Cat Deely about becoming the new face of Pantene Pro-V.  I found this a challenging task initially as she kept changing her story mid sentence and kept repeating herself however, once I grasped the main aspects of the story it became a lot easier to focus on the actual story and I could, therefore, miss out a lot of what she said as it was irrelevant. I found the journalists always used tape dictaphones when conducting interviews rather than using shorthand in comparison to the journalists at the Chonricle and Echo because they said it was easier to capture “the vibe” of the interview and it also meant they could capture accurate quotes.  However, it is essential to ensure the dictaphone has a full battery; play has been pressed; and you don’t delete or record over the interview. I was also told that it also acts as evidence in case the interviewee disagrees with what has been published.  The tapes are, therefore, retained on record.

Tuesday 27th July 2010

MY BIRTHDAY!! I transcribed two interviews from Kerry Katona and Alex Gerrard which was to be used for their celebrity columns. It was very clear they did not write their own columns or decide what they wanted to write about straight away which opened my eyes and made me feel quite disappointed initially but I understand the journalist is focussed on what they would like from the celebrity.  The journalist would ring them up and ask them their views on the current news in the paper and then they would give their answers accordingly.

I transcribed Alex's interview for her column

I transcribed Alex’s interview for her column

Telephones play a large part in the communication process for magazines.  It is much easier and quicker to conduct an interview over the telephone than to arrange to meet a celebrity with their busy schedules.  When the interview was completed it came to me to transcribe then it would be sent back to the journalist to edit.  Using a computer to type the interview was very easy and efficient, if I made a mistake I would simply delete and continue typing.  This is much better than using a pen and paper.  Whilst the reader may have some idea that celebrity columns are not actually written by them, it still attracts the audience to read their favourite celebrities thoughts and views. This practise has taught me that as long as the magazine has the celebrity “on board” to do an interview or column, on a regular basis, it is irrelevant how the interview is conducted as the end result will still attract the audience and ultimately help to sell the magazine.

Wednesday 28th July 2010

On Wednesday I was asked to transcribe an interview by footballer John Hartson and his wife who talked about the tragic events in his life and their wedding day.  I found this a particularly challenging task as they both had strong Scottish and Welsh accents which made it extremely  hard to transcribe as I am not the best at understanding strong accents.  This interview was recorded and conducted over the telephone.  I found that on this occasion this was not an effective method as the recording picked up pieces of paper rustling and when one or more person spoke it became hard to pick out specific quotes.  There was also the background noise of a baby which made it hard to hear what the person was saying.  I left gaps in my typing so the journalist could fill them in later but as the interview progressed it became even harder and I, therefore, explained to the journalist that I was unable to continue typing.  He said that this was not a problem and he was grateful as it was obvious that I had tried my best and did not want to give up.  It is very important to be honest in these situations and it gave me more confidence for the future.

I was asked by another journalist to write five questions for her to ask Kimberley Walsh for her column.  The questions needed to be based around current topics that had been reported in the press and something readers would find interesting.  I was also told that some of the questions would not provide exciting answers so it was vital to have back-up questions. Two of my questions and answers were featured in the final article.

I thought of the topics and questions for the journalist to ask Kimberley

I thought of the topics and questions for the journalist to ask Kimberley

Thursday 29th July 2010

I transcribed an interview with Noel from Hearsay who was saying about his birthday celebrations and role in a West end production.  The journalist was not excited about this interview but knew some readers would be interested to read about Noel.  It is also good to see what some celebrities who have not been in the media recently have been doing.

Friday 30th July 2010

I transcribed an interview with Eastenders star June Brown which I found so interesting and her tone of voice and speed at which she spoke was ideal as I did not have to rewind the recording to type something I may have missed.  I was also using an electronic dictaphone instead of a tape recorder for transcribing which I found more efficient but when I tried to rewind the recording it kept skipping to the next recording which was very frustrating and wasted valuable time.  It was easier to use an older tape recorder than a new hi-tech one.  As I said it was a fascinating recording but I had to keep on track with my transcribing and focus on the purpose of the article and I was gutted i didn’t have time to transcribe all of the interview due to my time ending at the magazine but it was fantastic to see the article the week after.

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