Meet the new team: See how your support is strengthening journalism in Scotland

CommonSpace's summer work experience programme begins

OUR new team of four paid work experience recruits kicked off their first day at CommonSpace bright and early this morning.

Thanks to the generous contributions of all of our funders, we've been able to launch this two-month programme in order to help would-be journalists get some training and experience, and get on the industry ladder.

(If you’d like to sign up your support, you can do it here.)

CommonSpace's reputation for providing training has made us a popular destination for people who'd like to get involved in journalism, and we're delighted to be taking things to the next level by being able to offer a grant alongside four placements.

So, meet the team!

Maxine Blane @maxiboose

People often say that the children of the 1990s are going to be the last generation to feel nostalgia for a time before social media because our lives have changed so rapidly to accommodate it, but I don’t feel that way. 

As someone who grew up in a small town on the west coast, the ability to reach out and be part of a wider community of likeminded people was a very welcome development. Moving to Glasgow for university proved there was a whole other world out there, and what better way than social media to seek it?

When the opportunity arose with CommonSpace it drew my interest in several ways; having seen what political engagement on Twitter can accomplish I knew I wanted to be part of it somehow, but a Masters in medieval and renaissance studies isn’t an obvious gateway into grassroots journalism. 

However, social media was something I’ve always been quite involved with, and CommonSpace’s goal of an inclusive, innovative news medium was something I could definitely get on board with.

It’s an exciting opportunity that marries up well with my interests in politics and culture more generally, and I’m hoping that with this work experience I can develop some valuable skills and get some experience of the more active side of using social media politically.

Alice Muir @AliceTlg

I am a 22-year-old law student at the University of Strathclyde with a particular interest in Scottish politics and internet law. I grew up in the southside of Glasgow. 

I am hoping that this experience will enable me to gain the skills that I require to effectively investigate and report on issues that affect people in Scotland during this particularly exciting time in the Scottish politics.  

I first got interested in political and investigative journalism in light of the Edward Snowden revelations regarding mass surveillance back in 2013. I also have an interest in computers and technology and I believe that this is an important time to be reporting on the technology industry in Scotland and the rest of the UK in a post-Brexit economy.

I believe that there is a gap in accessibility of information for the general public with regards to politics, and that young people in particular are not being fed the facts about important political events in a way in which they can understand clearly. 
I hope that I can use this experience to learn how to fill that gap and to report on current political affairs in a way that is clear, precise and factual.

Stuart Rodger @stu_pot2

As someone with a long-standing passion for journalism, I am delighted to join the CommonSpace team as one of its summer interns. Common Weal was, for me, one of the highlights of the independence referendum of 2014 – putting forward an electrifying and progressive vision of an independent Scotland – so it’s a privilege to make a more substantial contribution now.

My motivation for applying was two-fold. The first was a desire to contribute to Scotland’s blossoming new media, as it continues to grow and develop. As the Scottish Parliament gets new powers and responsibilities, the need for a strong, independent media to hold the powers that be to account is more essential than ever. The second was to develop my skills in a trade which I would consider making a career of.

My prior experience consists mainly of longer, feature pieces on social policy issues like welfare reform and drug policy, for outlets as diverse as the New Statesman and Vice News. CommonSpace – being primarily a news-driven outlet – will be somewhat different. A challenge for me will be to see how I adjust from feature-writing to news-writing, which is necessarily more fast-paced and stylistically different in tone.

As the UK lurches from one constitutional shock to the next, there will be little risk of a slow-news day any time soon. I fear it may be a journalistic baptism of fire, but hopefully I can come out at the end of it having made a valuable contribution to the team’s output and having honed my skills as a hack.  

Nathanael Williams @RobertJSomynne

I grew up in South London and from an early age I have been passionate about history and politics. Through journalism we have the ability to record and express history to a wider audience while ensuring that they are as informed and engaged as possible. 
Having written on UK politics and international relations for a while I moved to Scotland because it's a crucial time for politics and the news. 

We have a great opportunity to have an original take on news stories that reflect the unique developments and perspectives in Scotland, the UK and wider world. I have always been interested in not only finding and giving voice to new ideas in the political and social arena but what Scotland's voice and view can sound like in the wider world. This is at a time when recognition of Scotland's image and agency is at a current peak of interest within the nation and outside it. 

Gaps in people's knowledge about the events and decisions affecting and surrounding their lives reflect gaps in the way we communicate about politics. There is always a fresh look and more detail we can bring to people and give them the access to information and analysis they deserve. 

My motivation will always be to look for voices and views previously unthought of or unheard in order to empower those who read my work.

Picture: CommonSpace

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