Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Work Experience: PC Advisor


After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break.

The first of these placements was at PC Advisor in London. PC Advisor is a technology magazine that covers the world of gadgets and technology, looking at phones, laptops, tablets and television.

PC Advisor produce a magazine on a monthly basis, and during my placement, the team were finalising content to submit before the magazine went to print.

I was given a variety of tasks during my placement to help out the team. Although the PC Advisor team produce a lot of content for the magazine, my tasks throughout the week were associated with PC Advisor's website. Everything I wrote was looked over, either by a member of the news team or the editor, and then published online, making it directly available to view from the PC Advisor homepage.

On the first day, I arrived at the London office and sat in on the news meeting. It was very similar to the news meetings we have at Winchester News Online. The reporters pitched their ideas to the news editor and the weaker stories were put aside, with the strong ideas being developed further.

I was involved heavily with the discussion during the news meeting and was given a number of tasks to complete during my week at PC Advisor. The team helped identify what I was most confident in writing about and went from there.

After the news meeting, I was thrown straight into producing content for the website. On the first day, I produced a number of articles using information from press releases and PC Advisor's numerous industry contacts.

My first story was about the London 2012 Olympics, and looked at expected mobile phone theft figures. The full story can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/mobile-phone/3371425/london-2012-olympics-will-see-67000-smartphones-lost/

I also produced a story on an upcoming software update that was set to arrive for Android mobile phone users. The full story can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/google-android/3371469/htc-announces-android-41-jelly-bean-updates/

Next, I wrote about the newly formed partnership between film-streaming service, Netflix, and TalkTalk. The full story can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/broadband/3371514/lovefilm-offer-12-month-instant-membership-for-talktalk-customers/

After I had completed my news stories, I was asked to do some research into whether or not it was possible to play Windows games on a Mac. I compiled a document with some useful facts and figures that, a couple of days later, I used to form a full how-to guide for the website.

Towards the end of the day, I was shown around PC Advisor's SEO system. I found it quite fascinating to see how the company alters its content to fit current trends in web traffic. It was also interesting to see how traffic was arriving to the PC Advisor website in the first place.

On my second day at PC Advisor, I was asked to write a feature and a product review. I began my day with the product review. PC Advisor editor, Matt Egan, sent me some details regarding a new web application, Timista, which was designed to help people in London organise their time out in the capital.

I was asked to give a fair, honest review, and used a number of devices at PC Advisor such as laptops, tablets and phones to give readers a good idea of how the application performed on each operating system.

My full review of Timista can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/software/3371815/timista-review/

After my review was completed, I began work on my feature: an Xbox 720 rumour round-up. I wanted to make sure that what I was writing was accurate, so this feature took up a lot of time on my second day at PC Advisor. I sifted through print interviews, spreadsheets and 'leaked documents' to help me along the way.

My feature was a great success online. A look at the SEO system showed it had been tweeted by over 70 unique users, shared on Facebook multiple times, and had also generated some discussion in the article's comment section. I was very proud of how well the feature was received, and the news team at PC Advisor were quick to congratulate me.

My full Xbox 720 rumour round-up can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/features/game/3372097/xbox-720-release-date-price-specs-round-up/

On Wednesday, I continued to produce news stories from press releases. I also began to write up my next feature on playing Windows games on a Mac, but this was something I completed the day after.

My how-to guide on Windows gaming can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/game/3372413/how-play-windows-games-on-mac/

After completing my how-to guide I published my next news story, which covered the new 7digital music store. The full story can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/windows/3372098/7digital-releases-first-digital-music-store-for-windows-8/

My final day ended earlier than usual. It was explained to me that for PC Advisor, Friday is the quietest day of the week. After helping to create and send out the weekly article round-up email, which is sent to thousands of PC Advisor subscribers, I was given some feedback about my week.

Matt Egan, PC Advisor editor, said: “"Tom is a talented and self-motivated journalist who produces high-quality content with the minimum of fuss. During his time as an intern with PC Advisor he was energetic, reliable and polite. Tom produced a series of high-quality news, feature and tutorial articles with very little input from the other editors. He was able to take himself off to research complex technical data, and produced copy that was both well-written and informative. Tom would be an excellent addition to any editorial team."

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at PC Advisor. It was fascinating to be a part of, fun to write for, and great to be a part of the team.

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