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:
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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
“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.
“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
“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.
“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.
“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.”
“I attended a taster day workshop here back in May and it was great.
“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__
“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.
“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
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.”