BJW students learn of suicide reporting impact

12 02 2013

Reporting of suicide is a tricky area for journalists.

There’s more than 6,000 suicides a year and Brighton and Hove has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. What’s more the rates are going up dramatically.

Our trainee journalists visit courts, councils and inquests as part of their training and so we invited Chris Brown from the local suicide prevention charity Grassroots to come to talk to students about a subject that remains somewhat taboo in the public arena.

She gave us guidelines for how to report suicide and how to look after ourselves while doing so.

“Inappropriate reporting can lead to copycat suicides, particularly among younger more vulnerable audiences,” she said. “But positive outcomes of suicide reporting include helping to de-mystify it and challenging the stigma that surrounds it.”

She told us that studies in Toronto found that voluntary restrictions on newspaper reporting of subway suicides resulted in a 75% decrease in suicides by this method.

Students were shocked to hear that their reporting can make a difference, resulting in an overall increase in suicide and or an increase in uses of particular methods

Ben Paine, student, said: “The impact which a suicide has is catastrophic.. It is apparent that being bereaved by a suicide can lead to an increased chance of suicide for the bereaved themselves. Grief, loneliness, shame, can lead someone bereaved to taking their own life can elevate the chance of suicide by up to 40%.

“ We learned that by publishing helplines and contact details with the article it may aid any person who has suicidal thoughts by getting them to talk to the right person.”

The Grass Roots Suicide Prevention Organisation website is

And the suicide reporting guidelines are here:


Cain is able (the story so far)…

12 02 2013

We always tell our student journalists that time races by on our Fast Track 14-week NCTJ course and this week rookie hack Daniel Cain has taken to his blog to sum up how life at Journalist Works simply shoots by when you are learning new, interesting stuff (and getting addicted to seeing your byline…)

Over to you, Daniel…

After the initial shock of the first couple of weeks on the course things have finally settled down enough for me to get my head around where I’m currently at.

It’s been a whirlwind and I’ve experienced things that I would never have done before I came here (nothing life changing but fun nonetheless). I’ve attended a protest at a university – something I never did in my time there – I’ve helped plant a community garden and I’ve attended magistrates court to take notes on live cases.

From a selfish perspective it’s been great, I’ve had four pieces published (two in the Leader and two in the Argus) but it’s the overall experience that has had the biggest impact and left me feeling like I am actually getting closer to my dream of becoming a paid journalist.

We’ve had some inspiring speakers visit us so far. We got to meet the Fleet Street Fox just a week before she revealed her real identity in the Times, we heard from the Chichester Observer editor Colin Channon and also freelance photographer Andrew Hasson, whose work has been used on everything and everywhere.

Each day brings something entirely new and opens your eyes to writing in a way that you had never thought about before. Take today for example. We had two scientists come in to guest speak about stats and data, on the face of it not everyone’s cup of tea, but I definitely came out of it with a new outlook on how to process information in a way that’s not misleading and now know when the media is pulling the wool over our eyes.

Hopefully my story pool won’t dry up and I definitely need to start putting as much time into PA, production and law as I do shorthand and reporting… but it’s just too addictive seeing your name in print.

Roll on the next few weeks.

A brush with the unmasked Fox

11 02 2013

Anonymous Mirror columnist and Brighton Journalist Works regular speaker Fleet Street Fox finally unmasked herself today in The Times as Susie Boniface with a fascinating piece about life on the tabs.

Our students, however, already had the inside track after meeting her last week in person when she came to give a talk about her career in journalism.

Here’s what two of our trainees, Joe Riddle and Charlotte Ikonen, had to say about Fleet Street Fox’s wise words…


Tabloid journalism, anonymous blogging, and Jagermeister were among the topics discussed when a mystery writer came to Argus House this week.

Fleet Street Fox wasn’t pulling any punches as she spoke frankly about the pros and cons of life as a journalist in the 21st century.

She gave a stark and honest account of her experiences in the business as a roomful of trainee journalists listened on, eager to get a taste of what their future could hold.

One key message was about the importance of striking a balance between being a compassionate human being, and being ruthless enough to succeed.

According to the Fox, being enthusiastic “to the point most people would consider being unwell” will get you a long way, especially when coupled with unrelenting persistence and determination.



Enthusiasm to the point of mental illness is what it takes to be a journalist are the wise words of the great Fleet Street Fox, who gave an inspired speech today – yes, we did see what she looks like.

The best piece of advice was the importance of remembering who you are writing for. Each publication has a different readership, and the skill of a journalist is being able to adapt and change for the reader.

Apparently becoming a good journalist is about a balancing act; balancing the humane against the inhumane impulses. It is about running towards encounters that others run from, but at the same time not going too far (such as the recent hacking scandal).

Contrary to popular belief, journalists will always be needed, and as the next generation of journos, we have the opportunity to change the negative views into positive ones.

Right, now I am off to find a way of charging for news on the internet, to help save the journalist profession…………..

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!