In answer to our students worried about Twitter hacking…

29 11 2012

Just a quick one, this, but we wanted to share this post from social media consultant Veronica Pullen who has some sensible words to say about how to avoid getting your Twitter account hacked….

You have been warned!




Contacts, contacts, contacts!

29 11 2012

So, we train you up to know how to write a story, to not type any libels and to be able to take down what your interviewees say at lightening shorthand speed. Then we sort out your work experience and unleash you into the big wide world of journalism. What you do next determines whether you make it in the career you want.

Here’s a few words from past graduate Juliet Conway, who won the National Council for the Training of Journalists’  Scoop of the Year award three years ago whilst studying at Brighton Journalist Works. We think this says it all about perseverance….

“I did my journalism course before going to university, and so being trained as a journalist before starting my degree, I used the expertise to become editor-in-chief of the student paper. I also fitted in work placements during the holidays, so by the time I graduated I had amassed invaluable skills and knowledge – but of course as any graduate knows, that hardly ensures walking into a job.

“I began the arduous task of searching for jobs and editing my CV, but I also secured a work placement at ES magazine by contacting the editor directly. I knew sending out my CV was important, but I also knew my best chances of getting a job was to actually be in the right place at the right time.

“The month-long placement at ES magazine was unpaid but my travel expenses were covered and it was great experience (all placements are, even if it’s because it teaches you what you don’t want to do). However, it was clear there was no job at the end, but that hardly mattered as I met people and made contacts.

“For one job, I was sent to report on a film premiere and met a journalist from the Daily Telegraph. She told me her editor was looking for freelancers and I immediately took her email address and she said I should send her my CV. I did so the very next day.

“They got in touch and I started working for them as soon as my ES magazine internship ended. I’m still a freelance reporter but I work for them regularly each week. I could never have planned this. But what I did plan was the internship, and I did have the drive and desire to put myself out there when I met other journalists and contacts. Above all, I could never have started any of this without the essential skills I learned at Brighton Journalist Works. “

In the thick of it – MA student reports on MP fracas

16 11 2012

There’s nothing better as a journalism student that finding yourself in the middle of a breaking news story.

One of our MA students Nick Chowdrey was studying in class on the University of Sussex campus this week when Hove MP Mike Weatherly got into a spot of bother.

Here’s his blog post….

Today I had the chance to engage in some real life reporting!

At approximately 13:50 the fire alarm sounded during my Journalism in Transition lecture in the Silverstone Building on the University of Sussex campus. We quietly filed out to the front of the building, where we noticed a riot van had parked outside on the road.

Nothing seemed to be happening, so I went across the courtyard to get a coffee. Suddenly, a huge amount of shouting and banging erupted from the entrance to Silverstone. I looked over and saw a group of 20-30 people swarming the police van as it tried to pull away.

Officers were battering people off the sides of the van. I left my coffee behind and ran outside, taking video footage.

I spoke to two young girls shortly after I stopped filming who told me that they were squatters protesting about the recent criminalisation of squatting in the UK. They had chased Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove – who was due to give a lecture on the subject at the university that day – into the building. Police were called in to rescue him.

Daisy Stevens – one of the young squatters, who can be seen in the above video wearing a red jumper and black scarf – told me that they were angry at the dawn evictions taking place across Brighton. Daisy’s friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “we want him to be as frightened as we are.”

Putting into practice my two months of journalistic training, I immediately tweeted on the issue and my video was posted up on The Argus website:

Apparently, the BBC now has the video and it may be used tonight on South East today. Although I’m not sure how they’ll get round the amount of swearing… Either way, exciting times for the aspiring video journalist that I am!

The experience was incredibly thrilling. The wobble from the video is so bad because my hands were shaking with adrenaline. It reminded of being on stage – so many bits of information were flooding back to me at once and I was ready for anything.

I can only imagine what it must be like, for instance, for journalists embedded in areas of conflict.  I’ve always wondered what could possibly attract people to do that job – now I think I understand a little better.

Former BJW student lands celebrity writing role for Huff Post site

9 11 2012

Former BJW student Ellen Stewart has been celebrating after landing her dream job writing about celebs for the Huffington Post’s gossip and style site – and credits Brighton Journalist Works for opening the door for her through work experience.

But, as she explains, it didn’t just fall into her lap and she had to knuckle down and get on with interning for a year before she bagged the job.

Said Ellen: “I always wanted to work in women’s lifestyle media, and although a notoriously hard sector to crack I kept at it and finally all my work (and tea-making) landed me my dream job.

“The past year has been tough at times, but completely worth it. I got my foot through the door at Hearst magazines when BJW set me up on work experience on the subs desk at Esquire, and it all kicked off from there.

“Luckily my parents live at the heart of it all in London and I’ve been living rent-free. The majority of my internships were expenses-only, however, a few stints of paid work and setting myself up as a freelance sub meant I could make ends meet.

“Employers have been impressed with the amount of work I’ve managed to squeeze into a year so my advice to others trying to break into this industry is to keep at it, stay positive, and say yes – no task is ever too big or too small!”

Congratulations Ellen, we are utterly delighted with your news.

The burning issue of the Lewes bonfire

2 11 2012

Studying in Brighton is fun, there’s no two ways about it. There’s always something going on, whether it’s naked bike rides along the seafront, vintage car rallies or superhero marathons. This week, the talk is all of the bonfire celebrations at Lewes, a gorgeous historic market town just a few miles from Brighton.

Two of Brighton Journalist Works’ MA students Robert Henry and Diego Zurita were fascinated by the annual  Guy Fawkes celebrations in Lewes.   Billed the biggest bonfire in Britain, if not the world, Lewes’ annual celebration rarely passes without a note of controversy.

Here’s what they wrote about it:

Last year as upwards of 60,000 people took to its Saxon streets, emergency services had to deal with 127 incidents of potential harm and twenty three arrests were made for drunken or anti-social behaviour.

In recent memory there has also been the fall-out from the burning of the Osama Bin Laden effigy as well as the race hate investigation that stemmed from the burning of a model gypsy caravan in Firle, in the build up to the Lewes event.

Though, perhaps all such incidents pale in comparison to the infamy associated with the more traditional aspects of the Bonfire. To some, an event at which anti-papal banners and chants are brandished in the build up to the burning of a dummy Pope Paul V can be viewed as nothing other than flagrantly anti-Catholic. To others, such occurrences form part of a pageant which aims to celebrate England’s dark past in the manner of a Horrible Histories narrative.

Taking the issue to the heart of the town, we asked people on the streets of Lewes how they feel about this historic event.

How do you feel about Lewes bonfire?

“It’s great. We need to keep our traditions. It gets people together. They didn’t like it much when they burned the traveller’s caravans but people need to lighten up, don’t they?” Marilyn Gould, 64, Lewes

“It brings the community together. It’s a really special night for everyone.” Brett, 24, Lewes

“It’s a big community thing and a lot of the money goes to charity. To an extent it’s a great thing but I think they have to behave themselves, the bonfire society people. They’re not the police.” Steve Jacques, 50, Lewes

How do the people of Lewes feel about the bonfire and its history, generally?

“I think some people do take it very seriously and it does really mean something to them. I don’t quite get it. A lot of people go into it and they don’t really know why they’re doing it, they know somebody else that does it, friends of friends.” Jayne Zaloumis, 31, Lewes

“Some people feel threatened by it but it’s a part of history. If you lived here all your life you understand it but some people that move into the town aren’t quite sure how it works but once you talk to them they understand.” Paul Kinch, 41, Lewes

“All the people’s families have been doing it for generations. I think if they tried to stop it happening there would be quite a lot of protests.” Grace Harwood, 14, Lewes

“It’s mostly just a pageant. I’m sure there are pockets of anti-Catholic feelings but that’s their problem. I think most people take it on that superficial level.” Steve Jacques, 50, Lewes



Brutally honest inspiration from Fleet Street Fox

1 11 2012

Fleet Street Fox is not afraid of brutal honesty, whether it’s written on her blog or Mirror Column.

When she talks to journalism students, Foxy encourages them to consider a career at the tabloids because it is there they learn the skills that will take them on into any job.

Her visit to Brighton Journalist Works left Melita Keily excited at the prospect of her future career as she shares on her blog post Fleet Street Fox:

“A talk  I had been looking forward to for quite some time was the anonymous Fleet Street Fox. Hard hitting and brutally honest, it was a talk that inspired me no end, while at the same time scared the bejesus out of me.

“To be told that you will be called a liar several times a day, have countless doors slammed in your face, be the victim of the odd punch or strangulation, witness suicide, see corpses and become very accustomed to phrases involving the word ‘fuck’ and ‘aunts’ (as autocorect loves to put it) is a lot of information to absorb in 60 minutes.
“Oh, and did you know that when you’re hit by a train at 70mph you’re pretty much vaporised and all that’s left are little fat droplets the size of skittles? Yeah, you might witness that too.
“It was at this point I realised she was not joking when she said some people’s human-inhuman ratio tips over into mental illness. I think it’s clear why.
“But I also heard how writing can take you all over the world. How a 3pm phone call could see you on the next train to Edinburgh, or grabbing your passport and heading for the airport, or being on the front line of ground breaking stories, watching and telling history in the making.
“How you can bring down a government, have the press office for the House of Commons or the spokesperson for the Queen on the phone in a flash.
“How you will know information that you may never be able to publish due to ethical and legal reasons but you will know and more often than not you will have the power to tell. And let’s not forget experimenting with Jaegermeister which seems to be a fundamental journalistic skill.
“People will read your stories, your words, take in the facts that you sourced. And that’s why I’m more excited than ever about the career path laid out before me.
“Now I think I’ll go get some fresh air like Foxy told me.”


Rising to the Google maps challenge

1 11 2012

Today’s journalists need to understand how to use online tools to enhance news stories.

Tweeting and posting to Facebook is just part of the story that starts with a good web-friendly headline to entice reader involvement.

Students at Brighton Journalist Works had a vast amount of information to process during their interactivity and online journalism class with The Argus web editor Sarah Booker Lewis.

They started out learning about search engine friendly headlines and encouraging reader involvement.

Then the fun began with a masterclass on Twitter use and an introduction to building bespoke Google maps.

Maps can enhance a story to give readers a geographical concept.

Examples included a basic map showing the trail of destruction along major roads after a lorry leaked fuel along five A roads in Sussex and maps showing flashpoints during the London riots of August 2011. managing director James Cridland created his riots map after verifying incidents, rather than relying on rumour.

James Cridland London riots map

Students learned how to set up a map, add pins, draw shapes and lines and add notes, pictures or video to information post.

Once armed with this knowledge students had a week to create maps on a theme of their choice.

Rebecca Creed writes a Formula One blog and chose the same theme for her map.

She marked the location of every race in this year’s season with a bespoke marker.

Google maps offer users a wide selection of markers from Google pins to themed icons. However, Rebecca’s efforts proved she went the extra mile to resize and upload an image before adding it to Google.

Readers taking a look at her map see race highlight videos as well as details of who was in poll position and the eventual winner.

In choosing a map to support her blog Rebecca has the opportunity to enhance her readers’ experience.

Three students used their travel expertise when building maps.

Sarah Jessica Morgan’s (Jess) used knowledge gathered during her life growing up  in Africa, when creating a guide showing places to stay and visit.

Puja Tirwari also shared her experiences of international travel.

With encouragement it is hoped Puja and Jess can expand their maps into a useful resource for travellers.

Puja grew up in Dubai and has lived in Bahrain for 12 years giving her insider knowledge to advise visitors in an informal way. The same applies to Jess with her South African and Kenyan background.

Travel and music journalism are popular future career choices for young journalists, so providing and applying an extra layer of information can only enhance their stories.

Samantha Graham added a personal flavour to her Brighton gigs map by including her own pictures in the pop up windows.

A music venues map linking to blog posts about future concerts and reviews is relatively simple to set up.

Sarah was particularly pleased with the group, saying their maps were the best she has received since she started teaching the class three years ago.

The ability to build a Google map is an extra string to the student journalists’ bow. Employers are looking for individuals with a multitude of skills and the ability to think beyond the story.

Brighton Journalist Works students are certainly heading in the right direction.