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.”



Musings on being halfway through the course…

19 10 2012

Brighton Journalist Works student Chris Cox is in thoughtful mood in his most recent blog post about the transition that takes place here at BJW from wannabe journo to nascent newshound!

He writes:

“So there it is. Halfway. This week marks not only the midpoint of the course but also the start of the transition into the exam period. Chocolate rain heralded the end of the Teeline theory (and the beginning of two hours of speed building lessons a day), we’ve reached the end of the public affairs syllabus and very nearly the end of the media law material. Mocks are looming and soon we’ll be starting production and subbing.

I realised a couple of weeks ago that, in spite of my best efforts to choose a phrase that I was confident I could write in Teeline properly at the time, the banner at the top of this blog isn’t quite correct. We hadn’t done the w-n blend by that point.

I’m leaving it as it is though because the whole point of this blog is that it’s a chronicle of learning. There’s no better illustration of that than close-but-no-cigar shorthand.

With the end (sort of) in sight, thoughts are naturally beginning to turn towards the future. They’ve been focused for so long on the build-up to and actually being on and getting through the course that it feels a little bit odd to be considering life after once again.

We’ve been talking about work experience, putting a journalism CV together and actually starting to secure placements. This has prompted me, for the first time, to contemplate properly what kind of journalism I’m really interested in and what I’ll need to do in order to pursue it.

In truth, I’m still working on that and I don’t really have an answer just yet.

I do feel energised though. It might all come crashing down around me at some point but, right now, the prospect of getting out there, getting a job and starting a career is actually starting to look achievable and that is a very refreshing feeling. After all, the prospect of finding something fulfilling was really the ultimate motivation for me doing the course in the first place.

For the first time in my life that I can remember, I actually find myself looking forward to the future. If nothing else (and there’s plenty else) it’s been worth it so far just for that.”

You’re doing great, Chris, keep it up!

Nobody said it was easy…

12 10 2012

Listen, we never said it was going to be a ride in the park training to be a journalist, Tom!

Here’s an extract from student Tom Harper’s blog, telling it like it is at Brighton Journalist Works….

“It seems as though I’m starting to get into the habit of doing a blog every other week now. My intention was to do one at the end of each week, but the large workload I have had has stopped that from being the case unfortunately.

The last two weeks have once again given a whole new meaning to the word busy, although it has been very enjoyable at the same time.

I had my first patch story published on The Argus website, which was good to see. Even though I’ve had quite a few articles published in various different places in the past, it’s still good to see your name on a published article!

Shorthand has continued to be a challenge, but I feel as though I’m getting the hang of it after reaching a point last week where parts of it just stopped making sense. This time in two weeks, we will have finished the theory part of shorthand, leaving us with a few weeks of speed-building before the 60wpm exam in November.

Media Law remains my favourite aspect of the course at the moment. I wasn’t sure what to expect before the course started, but it has been really good so far and being able to apply certain laws to cases which are in the news at the moment has definitely helped with understanding certain parts of it.

The last couple of weeks have seen us leave The Argus building and go out to report on events in Brighton for the first time (not including patch stories).

A trip to the museum at Brighton Pavilion for the Biba exhibition wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it was good to go out and do some proper reporting as we will have to do when we hopefully all get jobs after the course!

A trip to Brighton Magistrates Court was more interesting, even though we didn’t actually view any proper cases. It has made me look forward to visiting Crown Court later in the course, where we should get the opportunity to see one or two proper cases and report on them.

We also had a talk from Fleet Street Fox, who uses her anonymity to express her opinion on Twitter and her blog which she would not be able to do if she revealed her name.

Whilst I found some aspects of her talk interesting, there were other parts of it which I didn’t enjoy as much and she seemed to be almost too cynical for quite a lot of it.

This weekend shall be spent catching up on sleep and doing work for all aspects of the course, with one or two patch stories to come out of it hopefully.”

Keep going Tom, it’s worth it!



Another success story…

2 10 2012

Here at Brighton Journalist Works there’s nothing we like more than hearing about our former students landing jobs (we take a short pause from typing away at our keyboards and eating Hob Nobs to cheer) so we were delighted to get the following message from recent BJWer Caroline Wilson!

“After my work experience at The Argus I was certain that I wanted to be a junior reporter so I applied for all possible jobs on Hold The Front Page.

One was in Retford (Nottinghamshire), one in Basildon, one in Truro and one in Plymouth – my career is more important to me than anything right now so I was willing to relocate anywhere.

For my application letter I laid it all out in the design of a newspaper front page using Quark Xpress which took quite a bit of time and effort and though I thought it was perhaps a bit risky doing this I wanted to do something to stand out as I knew there would be a lot of applications. The headline read ‘The fight is on – newspaper bosses battle it out to win top new junior reporter’ (cheesy I know!)
I got a call from the Retford Times inviting me for an interview so I spent a whole week researching everything there was to know about the place and went in full of enthusiasm with feature ideas and my portfolio full of work.

They called me a week later to say that unfortunately they had offered the job to someone who had just that bit more experience than me. As the team there was very small they were concerned about me taking on too much responsibility for my first role. They did however say that they loved my application letter and that it definitely stood out from the other candidates. They said they had passed my details on to The Boston Target (Lincolnshire) where they knew there was a vacancy coming up.

After feeling truly gutted about not getting the Retford job and thinking I wouldn’t hear anything from Boston I was amazed to get a call from them THE NEXT DAY telling me how much I’d impressed the Retford Times and that, after a quick chat with them, they offered me a job as a junior reporter to start asap!
So as soon as I’ve sorted out somewhere to live I’ll be moving up and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

My advice would be that if you truly want something then do everything and anything you can to get it and don’t give up!”

Well done, Caroline. Another BJW success story.


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

‘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