George Walker becomes fashion journalist

29 09 2010

Fashionable George

Brighton Journalist Works graduate George Walker emailed us last week to tell about of his new job.

“Starting at Brighton Journalist Works, I wasn’t quite sure what area of journalism I wanted to work in.  I wasn’t sure if I preferred writing features and culture news or searching for news stories. I’d enjoyed both, so I came to the course with an open mind and no definite plan of action for my career.”

During his time at BJW he completed two weeks on websites owned by Delightful Media which included:

“Reporting from London Fashion Week, attending industry events and eventually working as the men’s style editor for the vintage site – and spent a month at the fashion desk of The Independent.

“I am now a journalist for My main tasks are writing product descriptions and designer biogs for the website, but (as we all know from interning) if you ask to do more, you will get to do more, so last week I wrote a five-page menswear feature.

“It’s an exciting place to be as the company is really growing, with the editorial content becoming more and more innovative and wide-ranging. The people are also brilliant, so don’t believe all those Devil Wears Prada clichés you hear about!

“After that, I knew I wanted to work in lifestyle and fashion journalism. I wouldn’t have got my job without all this work experience and I wouldn’t have got the work experience without Brighton Journalist Works.”

Congratulations George!


Freedom of Information: 10 Tips for Journalists

20 09 2010

As mentioned on our previous blog, Brighton Journalist Works is very lucky to have Matt Davis teaching for us. He is recognised as one of the UK’s leading experts in FoI. Here are his Ten Top Tips for success:

Tip OneThrow away your cynicism

People constantly moan about the tentacles of the state reaching into the dark corners of our private lives and the Government meddling in areas of our existence that they never before had any influence over. But what is recorded by the “everything in triplicate” bean counters means the data is out there that we can get access to.

Some rubbish the Act, saying it only has effect over the public bodies – yet ignore the fact that every interaction between private business and public authorities is potentially up to be released.

Tip Two: Think of the story before you think of the question

Don’t just strafe the authorities with random questions hoping that one of them might hit the target. Think of the story you would like to publish and then track back to who would hold the data that would allow you to write the story and how best you can get hold of that data. Sometimes boiling your desired story down to a headline is the most effective way of doing this.

“Our worst hospitals” was a fair summary of a story that showed how a small sub-section of our hospitals have to pay extra insurance premiums, just like an accident prone teenage driver, because they have such a bad record on health claims.

Tip Three: Immerse yourself in the statistics and the language of the organisation you are requesting information from

There are countless examples where the authority needs to be asked the question in a language that it understands rather than the bar room journalese that we communicate with. Then of course we have to establish which organisation holds the data we want and in what format that data might be held.

Read the rest of this entry »

FOI made easy as ABC

15 09 2010

Matt Davis, one of the best

MATTHEW DAVIS is Brighton Journalist Works’ Media Law lecturer and let us tell you, he is one of the best in the country!

Matt is an expert in Freedom of Information – and makes his living selling stories to the national newspapers on the back of FOI requests.  He has his own website dedicated to the Freedom of Information Act.

For all those that don’t know the FOI act only came to be in the year 2000 and allows people, if they follow the correct procedures, to “have access to official information and the right to request information from any public authority.”

The most recent MP’s expenses scandal would never have come to light if it wasn’t for the Act so we should celebrate the fact BJW have such a great informant on our books, and he’s a nice guy too!

Check his website at:

Saturday Subs students land jobs

6 09 2010

New BBC employee Rosie

Col Bernhardt and Rosie Rogers who were both on Brighton Journalist Works‘  Saturday Subbing Course from January to April this year,  have just got jobs.

Col said: “I wanted to thank you as I’ve started some freelancework on the subs desk at William Reed in Crawley. I have mostly been working onthe Morning Advertiser, but also Restaurant mag and M&C Report.

“It’s part-time and it’s well-paid, the other folk there are lovely, and I’m putting into practice everything I learnt on the course! I’ve now been doing it for three months, so even if doesn’t carry on for much longer, it’s still been a great experience!”

Rosie, on the other hand has just landed a job in the BBC!

She emailed us this week and said: “I will be employing many of the copy-editing skills I learnt during my course. I even had a test in my first BBC interview, which I was more than prepared for thanks to the exam! Whilst I know there will be a steep learning curve, I am very excited I would just like to thank the Journalist Works for teaching me the skills to get the job in the first place!”

Congratulations to both and glad we could help