I spent a rewarding six weeks in Warsaw this summer, writing for Culture.pl (a media outlet under the Ministry of Culture) and researching Polish history. Having written a couple of pieces for Culture.pl before I travelled to Warsaw, it was an enriching experience to spend time with the team and develop my own writing style and Polish language skills, particularly when embarking on more difficult articles to research.
As a result of my interest in Polish interwar history, I was able to write the biographies for Polish singers of the era, whose works are unknown to English-language audiences. My experiences researching for these pieces involved contacting representatives from archives and translating pre-war newspapers, as well as using historical reports to ensure an accurate account was produced. I then used information acquired from these pieces to write detailed articles on unknown Polish film developments and on music, translating song lyrics or searching for posters in archives. My articles were shared by journalists across the world, including at Polish national institutions, POLITICO, and the Polish Press Agency.
Part of my work included the opportunity to interview Noam Zylberberg, a musician with Polish roots who plays interwar music. I prepared for the interview by researching musical styles and technicalities, extending my knowledge of the topic, and my piece allowed for the exploration of the more general fascination with interwar art in modern artists.
I also furthered my journalism skills with a comparative piece on the two new films released on Division 303, the Polish RAF squadron. Working alongside a Polish speaker, I watched both films and developed my critical abilities through analysing historical detail and factual accuracies and inaccuracies, supported by contacts at the Sikorski Museum.
Being a part of a three-language team at Culture.pl enabled me to see the workings of an international outlet, from understanding why certain articles were more popular for readers, to suggesting future topics to cover. I was also able to attend national events in Warsaw which strengthened my knowledge of the country, as well as understand what it would be like to live there permanently – a venture I am considering after I graduate. Culture.pl also offered me the opportunity to write further pieces for them, enabling me to develop my own interests in Polish history.