Journalism scoop leads to success for Juliet

30 06 2010

Brighton Journalist Works Student JulietI graduated from Brighton Journalist Works in June 2009 and, after a summer of work experience with the Argus, the Press Gazette and Esquire Magazine, I returned to the University of Sussex in September to study English BA, writes Juliet Conway.

In a bid to keep my journalism career afloat, I started my first year as news editor of the student newspaper, the Badger, and after one term progressed to the position of co-editor-in-chief.

In November 2009, I was honoured to receive the NCTJ student journalist award for Top Scoop, which I won for my front page scoop for the Argus – while on the first week of my course – about University of Sussex medical student, Hester Stewart, who died from a legal drug overdose, GBL.

Having a CV with such credible experience and achievements – none of which would have been possible without Journalist Works – I endeavoured in January this year to line up work placements for my summer. I knew all too well that in an industry as competitive and fast-paced as journalism, you always need to be one step ahead, and I feared that leaving it too late would do me no favours.

As anticipated, there were some disappointing replies, but it hardly mattered as I was overjoyed to get some acceptances as well.

I am currently in my first placement this week, working with the Press Association in London. I will then be putting my sub-editing skills to use during an internship at Progressive Digital Media (London), which will be followed by two weeks with the Camden New Journal as a news reporter.

I felt satisfied that this would keep me busy and well-practised during the break in my university studies, until quite unexpectedly, two weeks ago, I received a call from Amy Iggulden, news editor for the London Evening Standard. She said I had come up in one of her searches for “award winning young journalists” and that she had read several of my news stories which were all very interesting and well written. Then, to my utter disbelief, she asked if I would like to come and do some work experience with them.   As I am determined to complete my three years at university, I more than happily accepted an all-expenses paid month-long internship which I will take on after working with the Camden New Journal.

The call from the London Evening Standard really highlighted the effect of all my journalistic efforts and achievements in the past year, which undoubtedly can all be traced back to the fantastic top-quality training I had at Brighton Journalist Works. It really goes to show that despite journalism being so competitive and cut-throat, and despite the seeming lack of jobs on offer, there is still a palpable need for good, hard-working journalists – you just have to have the motivation and dedication.


How To Succeed on Journalism Work Experience

30 06 2010

Starting out on your first journalism work experience placement.Brighton Journalist Works arranges at least three weeks of work experience for all our NCTJ Fast-Track Certificate in Journalism students. They love it, the employers love them and the whole experience often leads to paid employment.

We’ve spoken to some of our students, to compile a list of useful tips and tricks from those at the front line of the new journalism world, as they begin work experience and paid placements. Here’s what we found:

Work Experience – Ten Top Tips to Success

1. Be on time and be keen. BJW Student James Beale says: “I got the impression from talking to people at the placements that some students come in late, don’t try very hard and don’t put themselves forward for much. You’ll get out what you put in.”

2. Make sure you have read the publication from cover to cover and for more than one issue before you get there. You should know who their reader is and what they’ve covered recently and what they put on each page.

3. Ask how you’re doing. BJW Student Bea Forrest says: “Speak up and ask for feedback because it won’t necessarily be given to you.” Take your boss for a drink towards the beginning and before the end of the placement and thank them for the opportunity and ask them for tips.

4. Ask as many questions as you need to, no one minds answering questions but don’t ask the same questions over and over. “Take a notebook and make notes when things are explained, it saves asking again”, says James Beale. “The more you take their advice on board and work quickly and in the way they want it done, the more pages they will trust you with doing”, says Nicky Slagter.

5. Come in with ideas. Nicky Corfield says: “Keep a notebook of your own ideas for possible stories, or of things you find interesting .It’s helpful to flick through as a resource.”

6. Know your area. If you going in to a regional newspaper know the city, if you are working for a specialist publication know the beat. “Look out for events, signs of new building work, anything that catches your interest could interest other people too”, says Alex Robinson.

7. Check online forums. Alex says: “A lot of what people write on forums is rubbish, but sometimes you can glean information from comments, even if it’s just a rumour you could find something to follow up. People talk about almost everything on forums so it’s also a way of finding out people’s opinions, useful if the topic is news or something newsworthy.”

8. Check Twitter. By searching ‘Brighton’ on Twitter you will get all the tweets that have mentioned Brighton. Twitter is increasingly popular; people often choose to leak exclusive information here first. Student Alex Robinson got an exclusive front page lead that the new Albion stadium was to be called The American Express Community Stadium by checking Twitter and forums.

9. Be ready to answer your phone. Anybody can call in with a story at any time. Be ready with a pen and paper to take key details. Always take a full name and age, ask the person’s occupation and their rough address. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be afraid to call back if there is something you missed out.

10. Call around major local organisations that may not necessarily give press releases. Sometimes just by calling a school or social club you can find a story, this can be a good way of finding photo stories or human interest stories e.g. an anniversary.

And finally BJW student Adele Jarrett-Kerr who is now running her own online magazine says: “So far, the two things that have mattered most in my career have been confidence and willingness to learn… I work freelance and I think the work that’s come my way has had more to do with my ‘can-do’ attitude and the hours I put into updating my knowledge than with any technical experience.”

Student’s music blog hits the right note

10 06 2010

Lurker blogA student training with Brighton Journalist Works (BJW) writes a blog which gets more than 10,000 hits a month. That fact emerged in a Business of Magazines session hosted by guest lecturer Dinah Hatch this week at BJW.

Richard Currie said he is planning to turn his blog, on a niche area of music, into a printed magazine when he finishes the course (NCTJ Fast Track Certificate in Journalism.)

Richard Currie said: “Our blog is looking pretty professional nowadays since we recently had an NY-based artist design us a suitable logo.

“There is an interview with him I did at the start of this month on the blog too (as well as a few interviews with musicians as far apart as Australia, the Netherlands and Brighton itself).

“This month we have received 10,139 visits/hits with almost 18,000 page views and it’s only going to increase. Our unique user visits is 5,599 this month. But for the entire time we’ve been running the blog we’ve had 25,134 visits and 12,389 unique users, so over the past couple of months it’s really accelerated to over 400 hits a day on average.

“Our largest audience is America by far, with UK coming second.”

He will be joining a growing band of BJW students who have started up magazines when graduating from the course. There’s also Adele Jarrett-Kerr who launched  “an online magazine for people who live creatively and wear odd socks” in March 2010. And was launched in 2009 by a group of five BJW students including Bruce Hudson.

“The Retro Collective is all about style, whether that’s an individual’s scene or the products from the world around them. Every month there’s over 30 pages of retro inspired product reviews with sections including: lifestyle, gadgets, fashion, music, film and sports.

“Each issue includes feature-length articles covering the heritage of brands; brand anniversaries; iconic figures, perspectives and styles; interviews and inspired trends,” said Bruce.

In this week’s workshop at BJW current students came up with more new ideas for magazines: a Career Changer mag and “Pocket Watch” the magazine for families who want to save money.

Dinah said: “It’s always fun chatting to up and coming journalists and hearing their ideas for future publications but I didn’t expect to hear that one of the group had already established a blog with 10,000 hits a month!

“Another interesting fact to come out of the session was that almost all of the students preferred print journalism to online – something I think would be of interest to a lot of magazine and newspaper editors out there who believe the under 30s only consume their media from a computer screen.”

Richard Currie is proud of his blog: “It’s a music and arts blog with an emphasis on the promotion of the underground and independent record industry.

“We lean towards the more unpleasant and extreme sides of heavy metal, while also representing other strange avant-garde/experimental genres but there’s a lot of variety between posts. It’s mainly release news, reviews and articles. The language is quite lofty and pretentious but we think this is an aspect people enjoy.

“It initially started as a platform to share albums we recommend and enjoy with whoever might have stumbled on it, but people seemed to enjoy our writing and the stuff we covered so we shed the dubious legality of file sharing and turned it into a full-blown magazine blog.

“We’re now planning to bring it into a printed edition as I was explaining in class. We’ve already made contact with numerous record companies and distros at home and abroad who are willing to stock it so it’s going well. Anyway, you can probably tell I’m very proud of it and love talking about it a bit too much. Dinah was cool, she knew her stuff. I enjoyed the talk and found it very useful/informative.”

Students get with the blogging beat

7 06 2010
Laura Oliver

Laura Oliver, editor,

Students at Brighton Journalist Works were urged to embrace the social media revolution by Laura Oliver, editor at, when she gave a talk to them recently. Following Laura’s visit, John Keenan presented a session on blogging and using WordPress. Then the students were thrown in the deep end and tasked with creating their own blogs beginning with an account of Laura’s presentation. Here is a selection of their efforts:

Melissa Ittoo

Budding reporters were urged to “get online” and embrace the social media revolution in a talk given today to NCTJ students at Brighton Journalist Works. Laura Oliver, editor of, discussed with students the benefits social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook could bring to journalists in updating their skills and improving their employability in a rapidly changing media landscape.

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Emily Atherden

 Tweeting is the way forward for journalists today according to Laura Oliver, editor of who advised students from JournalistWorks to embrace social media. Laura gave a short talk to students about the changing media landscape and to advise them on what puts them ahead of the bunch when it comes to hunting down a job at the end of their studies.

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Richard Currie

 The landscape of journalism is changing, Laura Oliver, editor of told Journalist Works students yesterday. Of course, if you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few years you would probably know this already. The internet is rife with journalist bloggers forecasting the death of print and a total transition to digital media, but how true is this common notion?

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Rebecca Taylor

Journalists are having to hone their business skills as the modern world and its dizzying technologies increasingly impinge on the old familiar comfort zones of the profession. This was the main thrust of online editor Laura Oliver’s talk to NCTJ students at Journalist Works today. With the diminishing money-pulling power of both digital and traditional print media, new and inventive ways are being sought to raise finance.

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 Davet Hyland

At a presentation on the state of the media industry delivered to Journalist Works students today, Laura Oliver, editor of, declared that the old model of getting into the workplace is not dead but is definitely changing. She then painted a picture of shrinking newsrooms, tighter margins and a more competitive job market as reasons why things aren’t what they used to be.

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Donna Vaughan

Laura Oliver of was at Brighton Journalist Works today to tell us about the skills needed in the world of journalism today. “Be aware of new media,” said Laura, “get online, start blogging and tweeting and be social media savvy. “Twitter is an accelerated contacts book. it won’t replace the contacts you make in person or over the phone, but it is another network that can be extremely valuable.”

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Michael Taylor

“Legal errors are too costly not to have another pair of eyes.” So said Laura Oliver, Editor of, when asked about the future of subs. Five weeks in to an intensive journalism course, these are exactly the sort of things you need to hear: pithy, memorable and, most importantly, true.

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Simon Hadley

Laura Oliver, Editor of, heralded the rise of the entrepreneurial blogger and urged new journalists to “get online”, in a talk given today for NCTJ students at Brighton’s Journalist Works. Her 45 minute talk focused on the changing media landscape and how journalist’s skills must continue to be updated and developed if they are to prosper. “Business isn’t just for business journalists” she said and pointed out the wealth of data being released by public bodies means that numeracy skills are almost as much use to journalists today as good news sense.

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