Editor Colin Channon visits Brighton Journalist Works

31 01 2013

colin channon

Never miss a deadline, get your 100 words per minute shorthand, be willing to work for free and don’t give up trying to get your work published.

These were the words of advice from Worthing Herald and Chichester Observer editor in chief Colin Channon, who dropped into Brighton Journalist Works this week to talk to our students.

The newsman, whose career spans decades, told students that local papers were all about understanding what makes readers tick and knowing what makes a good, solid story.

He also delighted the class with tales of the champagne golf tournaments, helicopter rides and far flung travel – we just hope our trainees don’t expect all that in their first job!


It Asda be good advice…

24 01 2013

It’s been nice to see some familiar faces popping back into Brighton Journalist Works this week. The September 2012 cohort are handing in final pieces of course work to get their NCTJ diplomas and have been wondering in and out of the office asking our admin superhero Tracy James to help them.

One student Mary Isokariari updated her blog (good girl – we love a regular blogger) and here were her parting words of wisdom to the new cohort: (who are busily beavering away in outline supremo Roxanne’s shorthand class as we write).

“So I passed my shorthand 80 wpm. Whoop, this is a big relief considering what a challenge it has been; my right index finger is still tender from all those hours of practicing …ouch. But it’s not over for me (bring out the violins) as I am yet to achieve my 100 wpm.

I have ONE DAY JUST ONE MORE DAY until I am free from the shackles of student life. I am so exhausted from all the studying; commuting every weekend, the lack of sleep, the quadruple-tasking and so on. I can’t wait until I can close my eyes without PA (Public Affairs) or shorthand tormenting my wee brain.

So for all you wannabe hacks that have started at Brighton Journalist Works, here are a few words of advice:

1) Start revising for PA now, no joke, the workload will seriously test your sanity.

2) Ditto for your PA feature.

3) Be prepared to throw tantrums and a few cushions over Shorthand, it’s not described as being ‘blood, sweat and tears’ for nothing. (Roxanne is roxmazing)

4) Asda will become your second home…correction Asda is your second home for the next 14 weeks,

5) And you’ll get know the staff, customers and their pets on a first name basis.

6) Embrace the discount shelf in Asda aka bargain galore.

7) Say ta ta to sleep.

8) Ladies, always carry a hat with you, umbrellas will simply not cut it against Brighton’s wind and rain.

9) Say goodbye to all your beloved soaps, dramas and cartoons as you’ll be constantly fighting against the clock to get through the hefty workload.

10) Enjoy it and good luck!

The story so far – week one at BJW over…

21 01 2013

It’s the beginning of week two for our NCTJ Fast Trackers and we think they are settling in rather nicely. The first week is always a bit scary but from reading the shiny new blogs that the students have been setting up (or updating – oh yes, we were impressed at how many already had blogs) it seems things are going well.

Here are a few extracts from some of them…

Nicolle Payne: “The course itself is amazing, tiring and fast paced. Just as promised. Of course the news writing was very interesting, keeping a list of sources of news on how to write a good story, with all the dos and donts of intros, was very helpful. But what really excited me was getting my patch, even if it is a large one, all the way from Rottingdean through to Seaford. It just means there’s more to write which can never be a bad thing!

Joe Riddle: “Learning shorthand seemed a very daunting prospect when I first opened my textbook and was faced with a wall of what looked like sanscrit or Egyptian hieroglyphics. I was sure it would be impossible to master this alien language in a mere 14 weeks. As it happens I seem to be getting the hang of it rather well and am suitably pleased with myself, whilst at the same time taking nothing for granted.”

Annie Hayes: “Having already taken Media Law (and my Court Reporting exam) with Brighton Journalist Works last term, I thought I’d totally prepped myself for how busy my life was about to become over the next few months. WRONG. It’s only Thursday evening of week one and I’m bone-achingly exhausted (it turns out commuting between Southend and Brighton every few days is knackering), I can’t stop thinking about shorthand, and every time I hear anyone speak about anything I keep checking to see if The Argus have already covered it and wondering if I can make it work as a potential news story with a new Brighton-based angle. We haven’t even started Subbing yet. Or the dreaded Public Affairs.

These things all sound bad, but after almost 2 years of working in what is a essentially a modern day factory (call centre banking), I can’t begin to say how exciting this all is. I’ve been so happily busy I keep forgetting to do normal people stuff like have dinner, text my friends, watch telly, re-tweet pictures of baby animals, sleep…

Good luck in week two everyone!!



First day at Brighton Journalist Works, according to Claire…

15 01 2013

Ah, the first day of  our new, shiny Jan 2013 Fast Track has passed and all those nerves and starting-something-different jitters have calmed a little for our students.

Delighted to see new student Claire Maxwell has already blogged about her first day – fancy a look? Click here then!


Another student bags a job….

10 01 2013

Happy New Year! Here at Brighton Journalist Works Towers we are looking forward to seeing 16 bright, shiny new faces on Monday when our first Fast Track NCTJ course of 2013 kicks off. We love seeing them trooping in all shy on the first day and then, 14 weeks later, leaving here armed with their portfolios, qualifications and a steely determination to bag that first job.

Talking of which, over Christmas we had a lovely triumphant email from a 2012 student John Herring whose blog on the trials and tribulations of training to be a journo kept us amused in the office.

His email said:

“Hi all.  Another success story for Brighton Journalist Works. I had an interview at the Newbury Weekly News at 10:00 on Friday morning. At 15:00 they phoned me back and offered me a job as a trainee reporter wanting me to start asap.

I start next Monday (Jan 14th).

 I’d like to thank you and all the staff at BJW for providing the excellent training, advice and work experience that is crucial for anyone wanting to get into the industry. Regards and thanks, John Herring.  ”

Yah, well done John – delighted to have helped you on your way!