Dominic Ponsford visits Journalist Works

18 02 2010

“Print is not dead” — was the rallying cry of Press Gazette Editor Dominic Ponsford when he visited Brighton’s Journalist Works Training Centre.

Despite last year being the worst in history for the British media, Dominic told students there were signs of hope for the coming months and pockets of buoyancy within the industry.

He gave examples of new ventures that are making profits in the face of falling circulation and advertising —  the Cleethorpes Chronicle newspaper and, an online business news service.

“There have been massive redundancies across all sectors but people are still needed to produce publications. Many senior and higher paid people have been sacked which leaves the way open for younger journalists with new media skills. Trainees entering the job market today will be well placed if they are willing to be flexible and work across all platforms including print, subbing, writing online and blogging,” said Dominic.

He told students blogging had played a major role in changing the way the media works.

“It is important get into blogging, not just because it is fashionable, but because blogs link to so many other things. It is a way of networking, getting yourself known and receiving feedback on your writing. If you find a subject you are interested in and write with insight, blogs will get you noticed by the journalists you want to work for,” said Dom.

Another area of success has been the rapid rise in ultra-local news said Dominic, where people have set up websites covering areas as small as their own postcode.

“More and more people are making money from local news websites, doing well by advertising hotels and places to eat out. Ultra news is there for the taking,” said Dominic.

But he said print will always be part of the media mix.

“I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds, in particular what The Times and Sun will do regarding charging for content online, but print will always be part of the future,” he said.

Dominic went on to give students his top practical journalism tips which included: being keen by starting work early but not staying too late, looking smart, keeping a contacts book, being prepared to hunt people down for interviews, keeping on top of breaking news with RSS feeds, being confident, respecting off the record conversations and protecting sources.

“Above all, enjoy yourself. Journalism is a job where you can do something worthwhile for society and dispel ignorance. After all, you are probably not in it for the money so enjoy every day.”

By Louisa Hannah




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