How to get a job on a national newspaper days after graduating..

18 01 2011

“Work hard, have no friends and go and interview real people.”  This was the advice from  Josh Halliday who started a job as a writer on the Guardian days after graduating from an NCTJ course.  Josh came to the Brighton Future of News Group  meet-up in Brighton at The Eagle in Brighton in January.

He set up his own hyperlocal website, SR2,  in Sunderland, while he was at university. It covered one and a half square miles and had 900 users a month.

“It started as a slapdash effort in two hours, then I started updating it four or five times a day.  No one else on our course was interested in local news or anything extra curricular.

“I used to go to neighbourhood watch meetings with half a dozen pensioners and a policeman there, my success all boiled down to personal relationships and actually getting out there. Showing up shows you care,” he said.

And he said he thought the scheme at Brighton Journalist Works, where NCTJ course members all have a page each on The Argus website covering a patch of the city, was brilliant, making it possible for students to replicate his success.

His tips for stardom on their patches?  “Set up searches for your area on Twitter and Facebook, follow-up stories in the newspaper, adding something new,  and get out and talk to people.  There’s no trick to it,” he said.

He attracted readers to his site via Twitter, and soon prominent journalists, including his future employers, were following him. When he graduated, the Guardian called him up.  “I was amazed and have still not had time to take it all in,” he said.

After the meeting Greg Hadfield, the Brighton web guru who used to head up digital development at the Daily Telegraph, said Josh’s talk was inspiring.  He also knew of BJW graduate Tom Hasson who got his job via twitter (see earlier BJW blog) and said that could be the future of job-hunting:  blog your way to a job.


How contacts at BJW got me my first job – Monica Adorno

18 01 2011

I was offered the job at while I was studying for my NCTJ exams, writes Monic Adorno.

People often say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know; well, this was partly true for me. If I hadn’t gone to the school then I wouldn’t have met Pete.

Pete teaches sub-editing and his wife was looking for a Spanish editor for a snow sports website. We exchanged a few emails, I got offered the job and the rest as they say is history. The tutors at Brighton Journalist Works gave me the know-how and also provided me with the contacts I’d need to get my journalism career started.

I started writing features immediately. It was Christmas so Alicia, Pete’s wife and European Editor for onthesnow, put me straight to work on a Christmas and New Year guide for Spanish skiers.

I’ve since worked on a product guide and am in the process of writing up an interview with a pro snowboarder.

As the second Spanish editor my job involves coming up with story ideas which then get commissioned, translating articles and suggesting improvements to the website. I think that in order to get the most out of any freelance writing job you have to be effective with your time management.

My first guide took me ages to write but it was so satisfying to see the finished product on the web and it’s fantastic to be getting paid to write about a topic that I love – which was the whole point really!

How I got my job in journalism via Twitter – Tom Hasson

14 01 2011

If I was asked, “What is Twitter?” I would find it difficult to know where to start, writes Tom Hasson. It is a fantastic application that can be used in many ways; it’s a marketing tool, an agent for free speech, a way of keeping in contact with your friends and even a new way to contact celebrities.

Twitter describes itself as having endless possibilities, and a few weeks ago I came across one of them. Twitter can get you a job.

Since completing the NCTJ-accredited course at Brighton Journalist Works in March 2010 I have taken on several freelance roles with various publications but I was constantly searching for full-time employment within journalism.

I came across a job advertisement on the Wired Sussex website; a web design agency called Bozboz was seeking a “Self-Facilitating Media Node” – a reference to Channel 4’s 2005 sitcom “Nathan Barley” that at first didn’t seem to describe the role at all. After thinking about it, I realised it was describing it perfectly; they wanted someone who had good copywriting skills as well as a full knowledge of digital media, and more specifically, social media.

The job description ended with the usual ‘Send us a copy of your CV as well as a covering letter’. It also said ‘Alternatively, you can apply via Twitter.’

The task seemed impossible. How on earth could I apply for a job if I could only use 140 characters? My address is at the top of my CV and that takes up 48 characters alone.

After a bit of thinking I came up with the idea of using a web-link in a tweet to get more content across. Simply putting a link to a copy of my CV seemed boring though – I might as well send the CV as it is. Instead I wrote myself a short script and set up a video camera. I filmed myself talking about why I’d be good for the job as well as a brief outline of my experience and interests.

After a bit of video-editing, the basics of which I had learned at BJW, I uploaded the video to, then minimised the link using and sent a tweet to Bozboz saying simply ‘I’d like to apply for the role of Self Facilitating Media Node’ followed by a link to my video.

A week later Bozboz phoned me to say that I’d been the only person to apply via video and, because of this innovative use of Twitter, they would like me to come in for an interview.

A couple of days after the interview I received another phone call to tell me that I’d got the job. I asked them what it was that set me above the rest. They told me that it was all down to my application via Twitter.

What is Twitter? Twitter can get you a job.

2010 in review

2 01 2011

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 44 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 91 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 14mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was June 30th with 79 views. The most popular post that day was Journalism scoop leads to success for Juliet.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for roxy freeman, journalist works wordpress, caroline lucas, oliver minkley, and jeremy white esquire.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Journalism scoop leads to success for Juliet June 2010


Rosie Rogers: stress, satisfaction and the student newspaper April 2010
1 comment and 1 Like on,


Roxy Freeman: From nervous newcomer to Guardian cover story March 2010


How To Succeed on Journalism Work Experience June 2010
2 Likes on


Journalist Works January 2010