Digital Editor Trainee Scheme (Part-time)

Learn how to run your own online local publication in this six-month part-time trainee scheme led by magazine editor and social innovator Tabitha Stapely.

Start date: Monday 21st February 2022
Application deadline: Sunday 6th February 2022
How to apply: Fill in the application form

Bethnal Green LDN magazine, a multimedia website and community.

Gain real life experience of running your own multi-platform local magazine as Deputy Editor and develop your long-form feature writing skills.

Learn how to reach and grows audiences in local communities, develop contacts and find unique stories.

Get hands on experience with social media management and onpage SEO to help increase organic traffic.

About the Scheme

Social Streets’ Digital Editor Trainee Scheme is a part-time trainee scheme for recently trained journalists who want to learn more about digital media. It will set you up with the skills you need to survive and thrive in the digital era and you will learn:

  • How to build an online community
  • Develop leads and find stories from the grassroots
  • Manage the production and editing needs of running a publication
  • Improve long form feature writing
  • Understand how to create and apply a social media strategy
  • Strengthen editorial values through angles and tone-of-voice
  • Write online and onpage SEO

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.

In-house Scheme

The In-House Scheme is for people who live in or near Tower Hamlets and have the opportunity to embed themselves in the community for the duration of the Scheme.

There are three positions available. Each trainee will be working on one of Social Streets’ three titles in Tower Hamlets (Bethnal Green, Whitechapel and Poplar). The trainee will be appointed Trainee Deputy Editor of the publication for the duration of the Scheme.

The In-House Scheme runs for six months and is made up of two modules.

Module 1 runs for the first three months. Trainees receive a weekly one-on-one tutoring session with Editor-in-Chief Tabitha Stapely as well as a two-hour group training session that runs every Saturday morning at 10am.

Module 2 runs for the second three months of the scheme. Trainees continue to receive the weekly one-on-one tutoring session but the Saturday group training session is replaced with group support session during which trainees can develop their own work with more freedom with guidance and feedback.

  • Run your own publication from day one.
  • Get bylines on one of Social Streets’ respected titles.
  • Work closely alongside other journalism trainees.
  • Build a local network where you live.

Out-house Scheme

Our Out-House scheme has been designed for those who are already running or about to set up their own local publication and want to benefit from the weekly training sessions in Module 1. Trainees can apply from anywhere in the UK as the module is run remotely.

These sessions will help make sure you have the skills, knowledge and systems in place to run your own successful online publication.

  • Two-hour training sessions on Saturday morning for three months.
  • Training, tips, workflows and systems that can be applied to your publication.


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Albert Toth Cohort 1 – Whitechapel LDN

I am passionate about on-the-ground reporting that aims to make a difference. I discovered through the scheme that Whitechapel has a rich history of community struggles, and many ongoing campaigns. It was very inspiring to uncover and report on all of this, and I was encouraged to pursue this interest. One of the areas I’ve developed most in through doing the scheme is finding stories. It’s taught me how best to make useful contacts that will lead to stories, how to find stories out-and-about on the patch, and how to use social media as a source.My favourite aspect of the scheme was the opportunity to build the Whitechapel magazine brand from scratch. It was very fun to act as an editor, working on social media and considering what to write based on factors like our content verticals and SEO, to try and boost our audience as much as possible. – Albert Toth has been accepted at City University for an MA in Newspaper Journalism.

Niamh Carroll Cohort 1 – Bethnal Green LDN

I love meeting people from all walks of life, and as a journalist I am passionate about the opportunity to tell their stories. I hoped the scheme would help me with this, both in learning how to build up relationships with sources and in how to interview and write their stories. One thing that I learnt, which I hadn’t really considered before, was the importance of SEO. As a journalist, you want your work to be in front of as wide an audience as possible, and SEO is a key tool to do this. Journalism is increasingly digital and the importance of SEO is going to be something every journalist recognises. I learnt all sorts of SEO tips and tricks from the scheme. It was also a real privilege to be accepted and embedded in the Bethnal Green community thanks to the reputation of Social Streets in the area. – Niamh Carroll is now a reporter at VideoWeek.

Ruby Flanagan Cohort 1 – Poplar LDN

I went into Journalism to tell stories, I want to be a feature writer and tell the stories that need to be told. This scheme really helped me build my experience and skill within feature writing that I will continue to work on as much as I can as I continue on in journalism. In this scheme I have learnt more about interviewing, particularly how to structure an interview to get out of it what you want, and long-form writing. My features usually don’t have a structure until I’ve finished and edited it multiple times. This scheme gave me more knowhow in how to write the feature so I can stick to my word count. I loved building the relationships with the community, I love to tell stories and I got the opportunity to tell so many whilst doing the scheme. It is the difference between local and community journalism and I loved building up my experience of community journalism. II was fun to be a part of a bigger team, getting to know the other trainees. – Ruby Flanagan is now a reporter at Accountancy Daily.


What is the difference between Social Streets’ trainee scheme and its internship?

The Digital Editor Trainee Scheme is an unpaid, six-month, part-time training placement with flexible hours for journalism graduates or post-graduates who have built up some writing experience and are confident writers. Trainees work under the management of Tabitha Stapely and the focus is on deepening their knowledge of digital media (social media and SEO), taking on responsibility of a title, and building hands-on experience in editing, production and strategy. Its part-time nature means this can fit around other freelance work.

By contrast, Social Streets’ internship is a paid, three-month, full-time, in-house position designed for people who may not have built up a portfolio of work, including recent English or journalism 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.

Do I need to have a journalism qualification to apply?

Yes. You will be expected to take responsibility of a publication from day one. You will need to have graduated from a BA or MA in journalism or to have an NCTJ and to have a portfolio of work to show your writing skills. Writers who have been on Social Streets’ ‘Writers in Residence Scheme’ may also apply.

Can I fit this around a full time job?

If you can work flexible hours, yes. If not, no. The part time nature of the trainee scheme means this will suit someone in part-time or flexible freelance employment.

In order to meet the requirements of the scheme, you will be required to conduct interviews and undertake research as well as attend weekly tutorial sessions during normal working hours. This means the Scheme is not suitable for those who have a full-time job unless you are able to work flexible hours.

What kind of one-on-one mentoring will I receive?

Trainees will receive a weekly one-on-one session with their mentor Tabitha Stapely. These sessions are 30 minutes and will give trainees the opportunity to raise questions, to go through detailed feedback on written content, and to gain advice on developing their profile as a  journalist.

I don’t live locally – could I still apply?

Yes. We have designed an element of the scheme to be open to all. You can pay to join the Saturday morning sessions only that are delivered during Module 1 during the first three months. To make full use of the training, it is recommended that you have your own online website and social media platforms so that you can apply the practical exercises.

Please note that you will need your own

What will the training cover?

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

  • Community engagement
  • Finding and developing stories
  • Longer form feature writing, including travel and culture
  • Sells, headers and subject lines
  • Writing for online
  • Developing a content calendar
  • Photography, photoessays and photo editing
  • Keyword search and optimisation
  • Data analysis and reporting
  • Social media strategy and management

What is the time and work commitment?

  • The Scheme starting in September lasts for six months and the Scheme starting in March lasts for five months.
  • The Scheme consists of two modules.
    • Module 1: A 30 minute weekly tutorial and a two-hour training session on Saturday mornings, both online.
    • Module 2: A 30 minute weekly tutorial sessions online, and a two-hour support session in person at our office.
  • Weekly mentoring/private tuition sessions are 30 minutes long and will be arranged during one afternoon of the working week on a day to suit the majority of trainees. This must be agreed before the applicants accept the place on the Scheme.
  • Trainees will be required to dedicate a further 6-8 hours per week to creating editorial content for the magazine. You will be required to complete one article per week and to engage with social media platforms on a daily basis.
  • Please note that Social Streets closes its offices for four weeks in August

What cost is there?

There is no payment nor is there any cost to the scheme if you live in or near 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 6-8 hours per week on creating editorial content for the magazine and its social media platforms.

If you are interested in taking part in the Scheme but live outside of Tower Hamlets, you can apply for the Out-House version of the Scheme. This gives you access to the two-hour training sessions in the Module 1 during the first three months of the scheme.

What are we looking for in our trainees?

We are looking for journalists who are social minded. 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 budding team leaders who want to manage their own publication. This is not a role for a lone investigative reporter wanting to uncover the next big corruption story. You must have excellent people skills and an interest in production and strategy as well as writing.

We are looking for people who can work autonomously. As you have the responsibility of a publication in your hands, you must have the professionalism and commitment needed to meet your obligations of producing weekly content. You will need to be able to work independently and autonomously, progressing your own ideas and seeing them through.


About Tabitha Stapely

Tabitha 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.

Following her degree in English Literature and Language, Stapely first trained as a journalist in 1995 at the London College of Printing.Her first work experience placement was at the Independent and she then interned at GQ at Condé Nast for one year.

Her first job was Editorial Assistant at Cosmopolitan’s Zest magazine and she then went on to be the Style Editor for the Saturday Telegraph Magazine. In 2010 she joined Hachette Filipacchi shortly before it was bought by Hearst and here she helped develop the digital strategy for Red, Elle, Handbag and Harpers magazines.

Stapely is a Cambridge Social Ventures alumna of 2016 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.

Cost of Schemes

Cost of the Six-Month In-House Scheme

  • For people living in or near Tower Hamlets
  • Run one of Social Streets titles as Deputy Editor
  • Module 1 – first block of three months includes weekly tutoring and Saturday training course (online)
  • Module 2 – second block three months includes weekly tutoring and Saturday support sessions  (in person)
  • Contribute one piece of work per week


Cost of the Three-Month Out-House Scheme

  • For anyone in the UK
  • Work on your own online publication
  • Module 1 – Three months Saturday training course (online)



How to apply

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

  • February intake – application deadline early February
  • September intake – application deadline mid July