JOURNALISM student, Connie Nondumiso Zuma, spent two days in the Echo newsroom to gain practical experience in the media industry.“I chose Echo because it is one of the leading community newspapers in Pietermaritzburg and it was appropriate to get practical experience on such a newspaper. “Echo is also a brand so being familiar with such a brand has taught me newspaper brand management and brand standards. The Echo is also a newspaper that is very committed to working with previously disadvantaged communities and the issues they face, so it has given me a slight insight of how to see these issues from an objective standpoint. Being objective in matters of concern is key in finding solutions,” Zuma said.She said her interest in journalism is because she considers print media to be a powerful platform where common people can express their issues, and through that, find solutions.“As a social worker, I have come across people who have gone through horrific life events and so wish they can voice their experiences so others may receive healing,” she said.Zuma said the experience in the newsroom has spurred her on to venture into journalism with the aim of helping communities tell their stories.“Going through something and then reading about someone who has been through that and conquered it can make the reader see there is hope. “Journalism is a perfect match for my personality as I enjoy listening to people’s life stories and making the unknown known to the masses,” Zuma said.She described her experience at Echo as amazing, adding that Media24 staff are polite and professional individuals.“I had the opportunity of seeing theory come to life. “We read in our journalism textbooks about certain roles played by certain individuals and having to see those roles and duties being carried out is amazing,” Zuma said.The importance of time management and the role a journalist plays towards the production of the newspaper are some of the important lessons that Zuma said she learnt. “Being in the newsroom made me realise that every single event one comes across is important. You cannot be ignorant as a journalist because you might end up missing out on important stories.” Another lesson she took from her experience is that journalism is not a glamorous profession as she had assumed.“A lot of hard work goes into putting together a newspaper. I learnt that it is important to know what you are good at and to not interfere with what others are good at. “For example, a journalist and layout designer are both equally important for a successful issue, yet they are different specialities altogether,” she said.Zuma said after her experience at Echo she will pursue a career in the media industry.