Scouting for talent at BJW!

30 11 2010

The head of a major newspaper group came to talk to Brighton Journalist Works students this week – and he said he had jobs on offer, and plenty of tips on how to get them.

Alan Geere, head of Northcliffe Media in the south east, has 45 newspapers under his wing and employs more than 200 journalists.

“What I love about journalism is that it’s still a bit of the Wild West, it’s not brain surgery, and you can start now. Get yourself in on work experience, get organised, make yourself indispensable and never leave,” he told the room of 25 students from the Fast Track NCTJ Certificate in Journalism course and some students studying for an MA in Multimedia Journalism with BJW and the University of Sussex.

So how to get that work experience?

He dispensed valuable advice on CVs and cover letters, and what to say, and NOT say in an interview, the subject of separate blogs, coming soon. He also took time out to talk to eight keen students who all said they wanted a job with him. He invited them to send  their CVS and cover letters by Friday. Surrey Mirror editor Deanne Blaylock accompaniedhim and said she was scouting for talent at BJW.


BJW guide to writing a cover letter

30 11 2010

“Journalism is a contact sport. If you’ve seen a job ad, so have 150 other people. And the employer
has often got someone in mind anyway.” Alan Geere, Editor in Chief, Northcliffe Newspapers South

But it is still worth applying for job ads, if you do it right.

First the email. Do NOT write:

Dear Sir or Madam

“I am emailing you with regard to the vacancy for a trainee reporter at the Woking Womble. I am
a hard-working, ambitious, (insert a bunch of other vague adjectives here) and I feel I have a lot to

MA Multimedia student at Brighton Journalist Works, Harry Cockburn pleased Alan Geere with this attempt:

Dear Alan,

My name is Harry Cockburn and I am a living powerhouse of journalistic ideas
and ambition. Not only would Northcliffe benefit from my capacious outpouring
of quality copy, but I would be able to afford to buy some food and pay my

I am NCTJ qualified and have written articles in the past for the Bristol
Evening Post, The Bath Chronicle, The Herne Bay Gazette, I was a columnist at
the university paper, edited my own paper and worked on the audio editing part
of the Economist newspaper.

Potential ideas for stories I have identified are:
-Bee keeping in Kent
-Arts cuts.

To sum up: show off your journalistic talents in the letter, tell the editor something about yourself
which is quantifiable and specific with real hard facts and ideas – showcase your skills in short pithy
lively sentences. If you can’t – is journalism for you?

And for goodness sake check your copy!

12 tips to completing your portfolio

23 11 2010

Here are Brighton Journalist Works‘ own 12 top tips to completing your NCTJ portfolios, make sure you take a read before you submit your final work!

1 Your cover sheet is a sales document
Explain why this story deserves top marks: how did you find it? How many interviews did you do? How many drafts did it take? Why are you pleased with it?

2 Up to half your stories can be subbed pages completed on work experience.
But you will need to include the rough copy as well as the finished version so the marker can see what you did. Explain what you did and why it is good.

3. Keep all originals
When you go on work experience tell your boss you need to keep your original piece as well as the published article. The marker needs to see how much editing it needed. Keeping track of these articles can really save time when it comes to deadline day, as you will have to rewrite  the stories  if you lose them. Set up an email account dedicated to portfolio articles and email yourself the documents as you write them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Monica lands “dream job”

16 11 2010

Monica, day1

Brighton Journalist Works would like to congratulate current student Monica Adorno who has just landed her dream job writing for a leading snowboarding and skiing website. She told us:

“I’ll be writing features for (number one visited ski site in the world I believe!) and my first job is to write the Christmas and New Year guides for the Spanish site. I’ll also be making suggestions for improvements to the Spanish site (so some editing involved) and translations.

“I think it could lead to the full Spanish editor role…!

I’m ridiculously excited, a little bit nervous but up for the challenge.”

Congratulations Monica!

Ben Adams’ national story

8 11 2010

Brighton Journalist Works graduate Ben Adams has landed an exclusive story that’s been picked up on the front pages of the nationals.

He works for a pharmaceutical magazine, InPharm, and went to a conference where two health ministers were speaking.

Ben says: “During the press briefing I pushed them to answer my questions over the future of NICE – the government’s NHS drugs watchdog – as I knew from conversations with the health secretary that he wanted it binned.

“Finally at this conference (and this is a testimony to drip-drip policies by the gov’t) they admitted to me and the assembled press that NICE would be sidelined. This led to the government having to release official word on their position this week.

“We put this up on Tuesday last week

By Saturday the Guardian had it as their front page:;

The Mail’s front page on Monday:;

The Wall Street Journal:;

And the BBC:

“It’s interesting to see your story become a media meme and to see the differences in reporting and the interviews they can get.”

Good Luck Alex!

2 11 2010

Alex Robinson, a Brighton Journalist Works graduate has been shortlisted for the 2010 NCTJ National Scoop of the Year Award.

Alex was a student of ours on work experience when he got an exclusive scoop about Brighton and Hove Albion’s name of their new stadium.

As BJW is on the offices of a daily newspaper, The Argus, there was hardly any time delay from when he discovered the news to telling the editor who commissioned the story almost instantly.

We therefore use this space to wish Alex good luck at the awards ceremony on November 16th next week!