The New Online Journalists #12: Michael Greenfield

Michael Greenfield

As part of an ongoing series on recent graduates who have gone into online journalism, Michael Greenfield talks about how he won a job as a Sky News Graduate Trainee, the different roles he’s experiencing across the organisation, and how he sees his career developing as the industry changes.

I’m on a 2-year rotational contract, meaning that every 10 weeks or so I move onto a different position and am trained up in that role. By the end of the scheme I should have a thorough overview of what Sky News does across all platforms, in both input and output.

Much of what I do is ‘on the job’ training, so I am fully immersed in that particular role and quickly pick up the skills along the way. For me it’s by far the best way of learning and getting the job done.

So far I’ve worked as a Researcher on the Planning Desk, a role which takes instructions and ideas from editorial meetings and sets about practically making them happen in advance so that we effectively cover a story.

This involves finding the right experts, case studies and locations to film, arranging interviews and logistically making sure that we will have reporters and crews in the right places.

Currently I’m training as a Field Producer, so I am out on the road either getting pre-recorded material or at live news events making sure, above all, that we get the shot. I am in constant communication with the reporter, crew and news desk so that all sides know what is needed and what is happening on the ground. Tweeting is now a big part of the role, for instance I have been providing live updates from the Leveson Inquiry.

What factors helped you land the job?

I was offered an interview after I was recommended to Sky News by someone I was doing freelance work for.

The main factors that helped me get to that point were:

  • having a Broadcast Journalism MA from City University London;
  • having a substantial amount of work experience in the industry;
  • going straight into work wherever I could get it straight off the back of my MA;
  • and applying myself as best I could when given the chance of bits of freelance work.

The whole process proved to me that you really don’t know how things will fall so you just have to get yourself out there.

Where do you see your career developing?

Well the scheme finishes at the end of August 2013 and I’m hoping that I will continue to work at Sky News. They are the pioneers in news coverage – they were the first UK news broadcaster to go HD, their iPad app has been awarded for it’s innovation and they are constantly looking to embrace new ideas and different approaches to how we see news.

I see my career and its relative success revolving around my ability to be a multi-platform journalist. The notion of TV, radio and online journalism being mutually exclusive is becoming increasingly outdated, and so I must strive to be a good journalist across all multi-media platforms.

Audiences expect news in many different formats now, so the more skilled I am at delivering the story through pictures, audio, online copy and social media outlets, the better I will be able to serve a public hungry for information.

I am keen to stress, however, that despite all the technological change, I will stick to the core principles of journalism that I have been taught and now exercise every day.

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