Community Editor Trainee Scheme

Social Streets Community Editor Trainee Scheme is a part-time trainee scheme for recently trained journalists who want to benefit from a journalism mentor and gain senior experience in feature writing, production and editing. You will get the opportunity to run your own publication from day one and receive training and tuition every week from Editor-in-Chief Tabitha Stapely.

Each trainee will be working on one of the three new titles in Tower Hamlets (Bethnal Green, Whitechapel and Poplar), replicating the model successfully used by RomanRoadLDN. The trainee will be appointed Deputy Editor of the publication for the duration of the Scheme.

Trainees work closely together providing each other with support and skill sharing. You will also get opportunities to meet and collaborate with the members of the RomanRoadLDN editorial team.

This scheme has a particular emphasis on digital media and will set you up with the skills you need to survive and thrive in the digital era. At the end of the scheme you will have an extensive portfolio of work, a solid understanding of multi-platform journalism, transferable skills in community engagement, a practical understanding of search engine optimisation and online writing, and the ability to decide and deliver a social media strategy.

Scheme Details

Difference between our trainee scheme and internship

Social Streets’ three-month paid internship is designed for people who may not have any journalism training including recent graduates and those in other industries wishing to consider a change career. Interns work under the management of the Editorial Assistant and the work involves more junior tasks. The internship requires a full-time commitment, nine to five, four days a week.

By comparison, the Digital Editor Trainee Scheme is a part-time training placement with flexible hours for journalism graduates or post-graduates who wish to take on more responsibility, gain experience in long-form feature writing, build hands-on experience in editing, production and strategy, and are looking for something that could fit in around other commitments.

There is no pay, nor is there any cost to the training and tuition sessions for those who are accepted under the Tower Hamlets Scheme. People who live outside Tower Hamlets may apply but there will be a cost for the training and tuition.

From day one, trainees will be working as Deputy Editor of their given magazine title. On occasion, this will be given on a job share basis with one other Deputy Editor. The benefit of job sharing is that each Deputy has companionship and shares responsibility for the overall success of their title. This is dependent on the number of suitable applicants.

Formal group training is given on Saturday mornings and weekly tuition sessions are arranged at flexible times allowing you to attend the Scheme while working full-time. Group training and weekly tuition sessions are delivered by Editor-in-Chief Tabitha Stapely.

The Scheme might suit someone in a junior role in a larger media organisation who is wanting to build up more writing and editing experience, or someone who is still looking for their first job and is having to keep down a day job to pay the bills.

  • Deputy Editor title from day-one
  • More senior work and responsibilities than internship
  • Part-time with flexible hours allowing you to work full time
  • Two-to-one tuition/mentoring sessions with Tabitha Stapely
  • Group training session with maximum of six attendees
  • Build a local network where you live

Mentoring and support network

Group training and mentoring sessions will be led by Tabitha Stapely.

Stapely has 30 years experience in the media industry. She was Digital Director at Elle and Deputy Editor of when she left to develop a new model of community journalism.

Stapely trained at the London College of Printing. Her first work experience placement was at the Independent and she then interned for one year for GQ at Condé Nast. Her first job was at at Hearst on Cosmopolitan’s Zest magazine and she then went on to be the Style Editor for the Saturday Telegraph Magazine. She returned to Hearst where she helped developed the digital strategy for Red, Elle, Handbag and Harpers.

Stapely is a Cambridge Social Ventures alumna and was listed as an East London Innovator in 2019 and as a Natwest WISE100 Women of Inspiration in 2020 for her work in social enterprise.

The Scheme is only open to people who live in the Tower Hamlets area or who are close enough to immerse themselves in the area. This means that trainees will be building up a network of personal and professional contacts in the area in which they live.

Training provided

All trainees attend Saturday’s training  session. Training will be a combination of theoretical and, where relevant, practical. Content will cover:

  • Community engagement
  • Developing a content calendar
  • Making writing even stronger
  • Sources and attribution
  • Commissioning and sub-editing
  • Data analysis and reporting
  • Social media: growing audiences
  • Sells, headers and subject lines
  • Social media management
  • Photography, photoessays and photo editing
  • Keyword search and optimisation
  • Writing for online

Coaching provided

Trainees will be given the opportunity of a weekly coaching session with their mentor Tabitha Stapely. These sessions are 45 minutes and will give trainees the opportunity to raise questions, to go through detailed feedback on written content, and to gain advice on developing a personal brand.  

Time commitment

  • The Scheme runs for six months. 
  • Training sessions are on Saturday mornings during term times only. These will be conducted at Social Streets’ office on Roman Road for Saturday’s weekly training sessions or remotely on Zoom
  • Weekly mentoring/private tuition sessions are 45 minutes long and can be arranged at a time to suit the trainee.
  • You will be required to dedicate a further 8-10 hours per week to creating editorial content for the magazine. You will be required to complete one long-form article per week.
  • You will need to live in or close to Tower Hamlets
  • Please note that Social Streets closes its offices for four weeks in August

Costs and payment

There is no payment nor is there any cost to the scheme if you live in Tower Hamlets. 

This scheme is offered on the principle of the barter economy, where people exchange services rather than money. Trainees will receive training and tuition at no cost and will benefit from a support structure, established community network and opportunities afforded by Social Streets’ reputation in the area. In exchange, trainees will be required to commit 8-10 hours per week on creating editorial content for the magazine.

If you are interested in taking part in the Scheme but live outside of Tower Hamlets, please contact Tabitha Stapely about the cost.

What are we looking for?

Trainees must have journalism training at BA or MA level or must have completed considerable intern placements at media companies.

Unlike other media organisations, Social Streets is a social enterprise and is working towards a social mission. We are redefining local journalism so that it plays a central role in strengthening the local community. We believe the future of local journalism is digital, ethical and community-driven.

We are looking for journalists who are social minded, with excellent people skills and have an interest in production and strategy as well as writing. This is not a role for a lone investigative reporter wanting to uncover the next big corruption story.

You will also have to be able to prove you can work as part of the time yet autonomously, progressing your own ideas and seeing them through.

You must live in Tower Hamlets.

All trainees represent Social Streets and must sign an agreement to adhere to our code of conduct.


“I worked for Tabitha at Roman Road LDN in 2019, and as an employer she has taught me more than I can say, from effective team management to turning passion for the local area and amazing journalistic ability into something that really does good. Thanks to Tabitha it has stuck with me that communication and empathy are everything, either among colleagues or with people from the community. She is always behind you as an employer – to push you to reach your potential, to educate you from the massive library of her skills and expertise, and to support you when you need help.” Anna Lezard

“Being mentored by Tabitha taught me to trust my instincts as a writer, which is something I’ll take with me for the rest of my career.” Scarlet Hannington

“I was a citizen journalist at Roman Road LDN in 2019-2020, where Tabitha provided me with the opportunity to showcase my articles as well as constructive feedback to further my journalistic skills. While I’m no longer part of the scheme, I continue to be inspired by her innovative take on hyper-local journalism, and thankful to once have been part of it.” Siri Christiansen


There are two admissions to the Social Streets Digital Editor Trainee Scheme, one in February and one in September.

  • February intake – application deadline January 15th
  • September intake – application deadline July 15th (due to office being closed in August.

To apply, please email Tabitha Stapely with Digital Editor Trainee Scheme in the subject line.