Struck by Biba…

28 09 2012

Current NCTJ Fast Tracker Mary Isokariari and her fellow  students checked out the Biba exhibition at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery for review purposes and was rather taken with it all…

Oh Biba, how I wish I was born in the 1960s when Edwardian high necks ruled and everyone played dress up in skinny sleeves and faux eyelashes.

As I strolled through the Biba and Beyond Exhibition at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, I felt like I had stepped back in time and into the creative vision of Barbara Hulanicki.

The exhibition depicts Barbara’s life through a series of poignant quotes, nostalgic video footage and photographs told not only from her perspective but from those close to her.

Barbara’s clean-lined illustrations were displayed throughout the three rooms. Her winning entry for The Evening Standard Newspaper fashion and design competition in 1955 propelled her into the spotlight at the age of 18.

The death of Barbara’s father in 1948  had a significant impact on her life and inspired early Biba designs, such as the brown-striped trouser suit worn by her father the last time she had seen him alive.

The exhibition allowed visitors to partake in the dreamy designs of Biba influenced by fashions of the different periods, such as the 1930s satin bias cuts dresses and the utility wear of the 1940s.

Black and white photographs showcased pivotal moments like the opening of the first Biba store on Queens Road, Brighton in 1965.

The Biba and Beyond exhibition also unfolded Barbara’s present life as an interior designer for buildings and hotels.

However, it was clear that Barbara Hulanicki single-handily changed British fashion. Her presence has managed to weave into the fashion consciousness of contemporary brands today.

Biba and Beyond: Barbara Hulanicki exhibition is on at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery until 14th April 2013.

Read more from Mary at


Flurry of excitement as Fleet Street Fox returns to Brighton Journalist Works

25 09 2012

Fleet Street Fox

Who is Fleet Street Fox?

Journalist, newspaper columnist and blogger Fleet Street Fox is always willing to give her forthright opinion on breaking news and how journalism works.

She shared her colourful stories with students at Brighton Journalist Works in April, and returns to offer her wisdom to the latest intake of NCTJ students on Monday, October 1.

Foxy’s career began at her local newspaper at 18 – from the age of 14 she pestered for work experience and a job  – before moving on to national titles ranging from tabloids to broadsheets.

Students will learn what it’s really like to face complaints, abuse and hear noises no one should ever hear from a soap opera star.

Foxy has a few handy tips on working with a raging hangover and how not to crash a nuclear submarine.

Her blog and Mirror column is a must read for any newshound as she picks apart leading news and controversy.

In a recent column for The Mirror, Foxy lays into the paps who took photographs of the Duchess of Cornwall in a piece titled: Why Kate Middleton Closer topless pictures are a continent apart from Harry’s naked Vegas escapade

“One knew they were being pictured, the other didn’t.

“Harry’s pictures were sold by someone who woke up with a hangover, flicked through their phone and thought ‘wow’. Kate’s were planned, sought, and stolen by a professional.

“But is it worse if your privacy is invaded by a stranger, or someone you’ve got drunk with?”

Writing about Hillsborough disaster on the Fleet Street Fox blog, she used powerful language and the horrific image from the front page of the Mirror published on the Monday after the tragedy.

Commenters commended her for the piece Hooligan (n.): A rough, lawless person.

“The anger I feel cannot be put into words, I was at the other semi final that day.  You put it into words for me. Kudos.”

“This is one of the most powerful pieces of journalism I have ever read.”

When it comes down to it, her fans think Foxy rocks.

Now Brighton Journalist Works students are very excited to hear about a life in journalism from directly from Foxy herself.

Melita Kiely is a an avid reader:

“I’ve been reading Fleet Street Fox’s blog for a while now and I like how incredibly opinionated, descriptive and witty she can be in her writing.

“Reporting for a newspaper leaves little to no room for opinions and it is refreshing and insightful to read about the topical news stories that Fleet Street Fox covers, the stance she takes on them and her reasons for doing so.

“You are definitely left with food for thought after reading her posts.”

Gareth Davies‘ imagination is running wild:

“The anonymity aspect is intriguing and bears a resemblance to ‘the secret footballer’ – if he/she/it is anywhere near as interesting as the secret footballer I’m sure we’re in for a treat.

“I’m anticipating a talk by a woman wearing an elaborate fox mask. I’m also preparing myself for disappointment in that regard.”

Puja Tirwari likes Foxy’s way with words:

“I think Fleet Street Fox has a way of bringing to light current issues in an amusing and unconventional way.

“I love how she weaves her words, starting out indirectly at first and then gradually transitioning into the subject.

“What I anticipate the most are the hilarious pictures at the end of every post.

“Her scope on different issues is refreshing and gives the reader something to ponder about.”

Jamie Walker likes a strong woman:

“I enjoy reading her blogs because I love how opinionated she is, she is very passionate about her work and has a lot of opinions about world events which is important for a journalist.

“Obviously it is difficult to give your opinion as a journalist but that is why her blog is so enjoyable.

“Her opinion is so strong and really makes the reader think about the issues being discussed.”

Student Emily Noszkay described Foxy’s previous visit in the blog post 43 and never been spanked – don’t read this:

“She jumped feet first into the blood-thirsty jaws of Fleet Street and worked her way around several high-profile tabloids. She got married, travelled the world, wrote a book, became a twitter phenomenon, hacked her husband’s phone, heard Denise Welch reach an orgasm and got divorced. Although, not in that order.

“While this was all very entertaining, and provided me with my favourite quote of the year so far: “I hacked my husband’s phone but he was shagging a fat bitch, so that’s ok.”

“The real message we got, although littered with unprintable words, was that the highs of being a journo completely out-weighed the lows.

“Fleet Street Fox told us we would be treated like second class citizens, called liars, have no employee rights,  exposed to sexism and people would never understand why we wanted to do our job.

“If we hadn’t of been too scared to try to leave, a good portion of us probably would have. However her next point made us feel more like we could reach our dreams, albeit with a strong drink.

“We were regaled with stories of deaths, births, scandals, expenses, sex, sex, bad breath, sex, and why we would hate our job most days.

“However, the glimmering hope was that we would not only be witnessing the events that everyone wanted to know about but would be writing that every one would be reading.”

Fleet Street Fox has her own range of t-shirts and mugs. The latest addition is a ‘proud to be a pleb‘ mug.

Proud to be a pleb

                       Stay classy

‘I love media law’ and other stories – starting out at Journalist Works

18 09 2012

During their first week at Brighton Journalist Works students hit the ground running.

As well as attending classes, students are finding stories for their community reporter patches, met some of Brighton’s hacks and hackers and taken part in a pop up digital newsroom.

What better way to end your second day at Brighton Journalist Works than in the pub?

It was a temptation few could resist as the majority of the new NCTJ fast-track students joined journalists and developers at The Eagle for the September Hacks/Hackers Brighton meeting.

Billed as part of the Brighton Digital Festival, speakers Aral Balkan and Joanna Geary talked about online communities from different perspectives.

Tom Harper

I then had my first more general journalism experience as I went to the hacks/hackers meet-up at The Eagle pub in Brighton.

Some elements of the talks we were given went over my head, but I found a lot of the discussion very interesting and it undoubtedly gave me a greater understanding of aspects of journalism which I had not really considered before my course had started.

Kristy Barber

After being let out half hour early, we headed down to the Hacks and Hackers talk in town. There we heard a talk from a pretty enthusiastic american guy called Aral Balkan.

He did a pretty awesome talk about Twitter, Facebook and a new app called which is basically the same as Twitter and Facebook however you pay £2.50 a month to keep your stuff private from the company ‘It’s your real-time feed, a home for meaningful conversation, where you control your data’. Pretty nifty stuff!

Then there was another talk from Joanna Geary, Guardians Digital Development Editor about the importance of community within the news.

It was a pretty cool talk and she seemed like a lovely lady however I don’t think my knowledge is that good yet to understand what she was talking about, I did catch on to an argument that was brewing between a few people in the crowd with was quite entertaining though.

Amy Roberts

Aral put on a very interesting presentation – all I’ll say is “is your privacy worth more than a pint a month?” if the answer is yes, get following Aral on Twitter!

Joanna is a very interesting person but to tell you the truth, I had no idea what she was talking about, it was a little too advanced for my knowledge but everyone else was enjoying and following it.

There were debates flying from every angle of the room, which was quite amusing to say the least. I also recommend following Joanna on Twitter!

Expert liveblogger Adam Tinworth wrote two pieces within ten minutes of the end of each talk: Aral on identity and privacy and Joanne Geary: So all that online community stuff is sorted now…

Hacks/Hackers Brighton organised a pop up newsroom and skill sharing session at The Dome as part of the Mini Maker Faire at the Digital Festival.

Alastair Reid, Jamie Walker and Chris Cox went along to see what they could find.

Jamie ventured outside the faire to the Brighton Food Festival in the streets outside The Dome and wrote how Brighton was over run with events for the Hacks/Hackers blog

Alastair experimented with digital storytelling and wrote his piece about Robo-Xylo and Scalexercise, uploaded video and pictures to the blog via apps on his smartphone.

Samantha Graham found her first story:

As part of our reporting course, we have to complete a portfolio of 10 different articles. Some of these can be community stories from our ‘patch’ (we’ve all been allocated an area of Brighton to cover for the Argus newspaper). My patch is Hove Park & Goldstone Valley, Aldrington, Hangleton & Knoll and Portslade.

So I took a trip to my patch and just drove around to get to know the area. I checked notice boards, churches, communtiy centres – and I actually stumbled across Hangleton Park Community Festival! I had a chat with the Friends of Hangleton Park and the chairman/organiser, Dave. My first story!

So did Kristy Barber:

Thanks to a link I saw my mum post on Facebook today, I’ve been able to get in contact with the news desk downstairs about a big event in Worthing this weekend that they haven’t covered yet. They asked me to write something about it by 6pm today to go with a feature in tomorrow’s paper, so fingers crossed I’ll see my name in black and white tomorrow morning.

Gareth Davis was the first to have a story published in Brighton’s daily newspaper, The Argus.

He discovered a woman’s homage to Team GB’s medallists in Hangleton.


Kristy was the first to write about her struggle with the squiggles:

Strangely enough, I’m starting to get the hang of it. It feels weird though because 2 days ago it all looked like a load of gibberish to me but now I can actually write sentences in the stuff! I’m so cool I even send a little message to my boyfriend in it.


And law

Amy Roberts found a new love for media law:

I love it! It’s so interesting! I really enjoyed learning about the laws surrounding writing stories. A good website to check out is it tells you all of the complaints put in against newspapers and magazines!

Journalism training is tough, but there was a chance for students to enjoy themselves at the end of the week.

They were bowled over after a rigorous week.


‘I knew this course was for me’ – new students at Brighton Journalist Works

12 09 2012

Summer is over and Brighton Journalist Works welcomes 21 new students to the 14 week fast track NCTJ course.

A significant number of students are skipping university for journalism training.

Here are their stories:Jack Clegg

“After being kicked out of my grammar school in year 11 for not meeting their grade requirements I moved to another school for sixth form.

“At sixth form I was taught English Language by a brilliant teacher and it was there, and because of her, I developed a passion for not just English but journalism.

“I didn’t really fancy following the whole university route and when I heard about the course at Brighton Journalist Works it sounded perfect and for that reason I am here now studying for NCTJ Diploma.”

Jack Clegg @JackClegg17

“The past sixteen months have been such a learning curve for me and a dream as I’ve been working as a freelance writer and journalist for multiple publications, such as Mail Online, and The South African Newspaper.

“Although this experience has been great, I have found it extremely difficult to find a permanent job despite the number CV’s, cover letters and written tasks I have sent out.

“I knew that something had to change and that’s why I decided to attend Press Association’s Open Evening for the NCTJ back in April.
Mary Isokariari
“I decided that their particular course wasn’t for me and so I ventured back into tedious task of job hunting. I continued with my freelancing and spoke to my existing contacts at major publishers.

“Then a few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from Journalism Jobs titled, ‘Become a qualified journalist by Christmas’ at Brighton Journalist Works.

“I was intrigued and immediately clinked on the link to find out more followed by a phone call to Paula.

“I really liked how the course was a mixture of newspaper, magazines and online and knew that this course would really benefit my CV and develop my writing skills.”

Mary Isokariari @maryisokariari

“I came straight from college to do this course because I didn’t want to waste three years studying for something I didn’t want to pursue.Laura Chacksfield

“I knew I loved writing and have always been interested in getting into journalism, so I thought this would be the ideal road to go down for me.

“I have absolutely loved the first three days so it was definitely the right decision!

“I think that if someone knows exactly what they want to do, they should go straight into a course like this to learn all types of skills.”

Laura Chacksfield@laurachackers

“I decided to join the course hoping it would give me the tools and contacts needed to pursue a career in the media.

“I graduated from university in June having studied English Literature and Media, I decided it would be the best time to start the course, getting some experience under my belt in a more specific field.
Sarah Jessica Morgan

“I would love to work in a publishing house one day, but the bigger dream would be to work as an editor for a major magazine.

“I’ve really enjoyed the course so far and am really starting to pick up shorthand quickly.

“The course covers political and reporting topics from the basics bringing all of us up to the same level, allowing us to raise any questions or uncertainties we might have about any aspect of public affairs and the media.

“Although the course is intensive, there seems to be enough time allocated to cover each topic fully and in depth.”

Sarah Jessica Morgan@_JMorgy

“I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, the dream is to become either a columnist or feature writer for a magazine.
Kristy Barber

“The plan originally was to go to Middlesex and study publishing and journalism, however,  talking to a few contacts from local newspapers they told me they don’t take on anyone without an NCTJ accredited qualification– which Middlesex wasn’t going to give me!

“After carrying out some research I came across Journalist Works and it looked perfect.

“Excited to exchange three years at uni and £40,000 of debt for 14 weeks + work experience I was determined to get a place.

“I have enjoyed my first weeks here an awful lot and definitely think I’ve made the right choice!”

Kristy Barber@KristyBimbo

Tom Harper

“I first heard about the course when I did work experience on the sports desk at The Argus when I was 14, and it was always my intention to look at the possibility of joining the course when I was coming to the end of my A Levels.

“The course seemed like a good option for me, as it enabled me to stay local and I prefer the fast-track element of the course to dragging out the same content over a longer period of time.”

Tom Harper@tomharper94

 “The reason I decided to study this course with Brighton Journalist Works is because I hope to become either a columnist/feature writer or a reporter.

“As well as gaining my NCTJ qualification, I hope that the course will enable me to make a decision as to which career path I’d rather go down.

“I chose BJW over other courses such as the one offered at the University of Brighton for a number of reasons.

Melita Kiely

“The course is shorter and therefore I’ll gain my qualification faster and hopefully be able to go out and find work asap. The lecturers are working journalists which means that they’ll undoubtedly have a lot more knowledge to pass on to us students.

“The classrooms are based above a working news room so the opportunity to get a story published is never far away, we are given our own patch of Brighton to report on and are guaranteed a lengthy amount of work experience at the end of the course, a week longer than what Brighton Uni had to offer.”

Melita Kiely@melitakiely
Jamie Walker

“I didn’t want go to university because I didn’t feel I was ready for the full experience that university offers.

“Then I found the Journalist Works course and it seemed like the perfect way to get to do the journalism course I wanted, but in an environment where I felt comfortable.

“Now it’s only been three days but I definitely think I made the right choice.”

Jamie Walker  – @walker_this_way

“The first time I heard about BJW was when a nice man came to my university (Sussex) to talk to us about the course.

“At the time I already had an interest in journalism. I’d had lots of work experience at my local newspaper, reporting and sub-editing, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

“I’d also spent a year as an arts editor at my student newspaper, The Badger, where I wrote various reviews, interviews and learnt the ins and outs of InDesign.
Samantha Graham
“After speaking to the man I decided to go along to one of the taster sessions.

“I vividly remember being engrossed by Richard Lindfield’s exciting and interactive lesson involving a robbery scenario which we had to report on in real-time as the news came through. I was hooked. I took the aptitude test, passed…and here I am!

“I am enjoying the course immensely, despite it being very much full-time. Bit of a shock to the system from being a lazy student with six contact hours a week.

“However I’m getting into the swing of things and I feel like I’m constantly learning important stuff.

“It amazes me how much information you can pack into one day. Surprisingly my favourite subject is shorthand – so far – but I’m also excited about doing more production journalism.

“I never thought I’d be learning about politics and law, but there I was, learning about the British constitution and the editors’ code of practice – and I wasn’t half asleep!

“The teachers are passionate, the coursemates are friendly – and I can’t wait to explore my patch at the weekend and find a good pub!

Samantha Graham@Sami_G

‘In my second year at Sussex University I visited the offices of the interior magazine ‘House Beautiful.’ It was after work-shadowing the editor and sitting with the subs, stylists and art team that I knew I wanted to work in journalism and see my name in print.
Rachel O'Brien

“The people I met on the day and other people I’ve worked with in the industry since then have all had an NCTJ qualification and recommended studying for the diploma to gain the practical skills that employers look for.

“I heard about Journalist Works through the University of Sussex careers centre. Based in the offices of the Brighton Argus I couldn’t think of a better place to learn how to be a journalist and so I applied in my final year.

“Eventually I’d like to work for a lifestyle or fashion magazine or for the features team on a newspaper publication. I dream about working for Vogue or Elle Decoration but I’m sure there are many others that do too.”

Rachel O’Brien

“I attended a taster day workshop here back in May and it was great.Amy Roberts

“I remember Paula mentioning the taster day gives you a good indication of whether the course is suitable for you. I went home after the taster day knowing 100% that I wanted to be a journalist.

“So here I am, studying an NCTJ with Brighton Journalist Works and although it’s intense and there’s a lot of information to take in, I don’t regret applying for this course!”

Amy Roberts @AmyRoberts__

Alastair Reid“I decided to take an NCTJ for a couple of reasons. Writing about my interests has always been something I’ve enjoyed, be it politics and current affairs, sport or music.

“At the same time, there are far too many stories around the world which go un- or under-reported and I think making these public is immensely important.

“Shine a light in the dark, knowledge is power, blah blah, cliche cliche.”

Alastair Reid@AJReid

“I decided to do this course because I’ve always loved reading and writing, and my studies have reflected that.

“However I have found that a degree in English Literature alone would not bring me to the sort of career that I desired.
Hannah Yates
“I spent all summer unsuccessfully looking for jobs, which initially depressed me but ultimately gave me the push to decide to do something that would show that I am career focussed and give me necessary work-place skills.

“I found this NCTJ accredited course and got very excited and enrolled quite last-minute. I do not regret it at all as I feel like I have already learnt so much in just a few days.

“I am particularly enjoying media law and public affairs as we are starting from the basics, and although I’ve always had an interest in these subjects, I’ve always felt insufficiently informed to comment, debate, or write about them.

“I am sure that will change by the end of this course.”

Hannah Yates@HanRiker

Rebecca Creed

“I decided to take the NCTJ Fast Track Diploma in Journalism as I knew that I really wanted to be a journalist, due to my passion for current affairs and sport as well as my love of writing.
“The course seemed perfect as I didn’t need a degree to secure my place and I knew I didn’t want to spend three years studying for a degree.”
“I graduated from university two years ago having done Psychology, a subject I loved but never had any intention of pursuing as a career.
“My feeling was when I applied that if I was going to be spending three years of my life and £18k doing something, it should be something I genuinely enjoyed and was fascinated by rather than something that would perhaps lead me down any particular path.

Chris Cox

“So since then I’ve been trying to find work, I got a graduate job at Cambridge University for a year but it was completely unedifying. Whilst the money was very good, I was never going to be satisfied by the work.
“I’ve always been drawn to words and have flirted with the idea of journalism on and off throughout my whole life.
“When the two-year anniversary of graduating hit I made the decision to finally stop treading water and actually try to do something with my life. So here I am.”
Chris Cox – @coxycj
“I decided to join this course to help me pursue my dream to be a journalist. I have wanted to be in journalism since school, and after doing a degree in Journalism and Politics, found that shorthand was necessary to become a newspaper reporter.

Rosanna Apps

“I chose this NCTJ course because of the great results in shorthand, the interesting modules and the capacity to make contacts and gain experience. I am really enjoying the course so far.
“Media Law is new and interesting, I am looking forward to it challenging me. I am also really enjoying
public affairs, as I find politics very interesting.”
Rosanna Apps – @Veil_of_Rozie

Booze, SM cafés and go to the opening of an envelope – How to succeed in journalism

3 09 2012

Know your patch is an essential rule for all journalists.

From the geography of an area or niche you work in, knowing the right people and building up contacts is an essential part of any journalist’s tool kit.

Journalists need contacts to help them source and develop stories whether they work for newspapers, business titles or glossy magazines.

All Brighton Journalist Works students start learning these skills from their first week as they are allocated an Argus community reporter’s patch and are expected to source and develop stories from these contacts.

Stories are about people

Getting to know people is essential as all stories have and need a human side.

Learning the patch is old-fashioned journalism. BJW students need to walk around the patch, find the notice boards, discover the community groups, attend a few meetings and even chat to a few locals in a pub.

We asked a number of journalists how they developed their news contacts.

Guardian technology and media reporter Josh Halliday ran his own hyperlocal news site during his final year as a journalism student.

His SR2 blog frequently beat the local daily newspaper to news stories because Josh knew the right people and lived in the community.

“Booze. Twitter. Hobbies. Booze,” he said. “That’s pretty much it – comes down to being visible.

“A harder thing is keeping contacts.”

Josh made a name for himself while still a student as an early adopter of digital media tools, such as Twitter. This helped him land his first job straight out of university at the Guardian. technology editor Sarah Marshall has worked for local newspapers and regional radio stations for many years and backs Josh’s advice to be visible and head down the pub.

When asked how she built up her contacts she said:

“It is essential to get out and about as well as contacting people (usually by email/phone). Twitter is essential (and yes, booze too).”

Digital developments

Editor of the Daily Post, Alison Gow, who is former editor of WalesOnline and executive editor digital of the Liverpool Echo, knows how essential grassroots contacts are when it comes to finding stories.

“There was no web when I started so going out to see people was key. My daily visits were to police, vicar, undertakers, grocer, butcher, town clerk etc.

“Now? Social Media cafés, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr groups, hyperlocal forums, Meetup groups. Plus real world visits to the usual suspects.”

Argus web editor and Journalist Works online journalism tutor Sarah Booker Lewis also put in the legwork on her first job as a reporter.

“I moved from Brighton to Buckinghamshire for my first job and knew nothing about the area. I spent a lot of time walking around my patch and going to the opening of an envelope.

“By the time I left the newspaper to return to Sussex many of my contacts thought I was local, which I took as a great compliment.

“I was active online for a long time before my first newspaper had a website, so I posted on the Chalfont St Peter community forum when it started.

“When I returned to Sussex as a web editor I worked on building a network of contacts on social media.

“My Space and then Facebook and Twitter proved invaluable as points of contact with the public. People can talk to us and I pick up stories every day.”

Marketing Weekly’s tech/media/mobile reporter Lara O’Reilly had to take a different approach suited to a business to business publication.

“I did the PR ring round then arranged as many face to face meetings with actual contacts as possible.

“Using LinkedIn, and attending conferences and events really helps build contacts, too.”

Wherever their future career takes them, a Brighton Journalist Works student has the advantage of building their confidence and the front required in real world journalism.