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.

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!



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!

Flurry of excitement as Fleet Street Fox returns to Brighton Journalist Works

25 09 2012

Fleet Street Fox

Who is Fleet Street Fox?

Journalist, newspaper columnist and blogger Fleet Street Fox is always willing to give her forthright opinion on breaking news and how journalism works.

She shared her colourful stories with students at Brighton Journalist Works in April, and returns to offer her wisdom to the latest intake of NCTJ students on Monday, October 1.

Foxy’s career began at her local newspaper at 18 – from the age of 14 she pestered for work experience and a job  – before moving on to national titles ranging from tabloids to broadsheets.

Students will learn what it’s really like to face complaints, abuse and hear noises no one should ever hear from a soap opera star.

Foxy has a few handy tips on working with a raging hangover and how not to crash a nuclear submarine.

Her blog and Mirror column is a must read for any newshound as she picks apart leading news and controversy.

In a recent column for The Mirror, Foxy lays into the paps who took photographs of the Duchess of Cornwall in a piece titled: Why Kate Middleton Closer topless pictures are a continent apart from Harry’s naked Vegas escapade

“One knew they were being pictured, the other didn’t.

“Harry’s pictures were sold by someone who woke up with a hangover, flicked through their phone and thought ‘wow’. Kate’s were planned, sought, and stolen by a professional.

“But is it worse if your privacy is invaded by a stranger, or someone you’ve got drunk with?”

Writing about Hillsborough disaster on the Fleet Street Fox blog, she used powerful language and the horrific image from the front page of the Mirror published on the Monday after the tragedy.

Commenters commended her for the piece Hooligan (n.): A rough, lawless person.

“The anger I feel cannot be put into words, I was at the other semi final that day.  You put it into words for me. Kudos.”

“This is one of the most powerful pieces of journalism I have ever read.”

When it comes down to it, her fans think Foxy rocks.

Now Brighton Journalist Works students are very excited to hear about a life in journalism from directly from Foxy herself.

Melita Kiely is a an avid reader:

“I’ve been reading Fleet Street Fox’s blog for a while now and I like how incredibly opinionated, descriptive and witty she can be in her writing.

“Reporting for a newspaper leaves little to no room for opinions and it is refreshing and insightful to read about the topical news stories that Fleet Street Fox covers, the stance she takes on them and her reasons for doing so.

“You are definitely left with food for thought after reading her posts.”

Gareth Davies‘ imagination is running wild:

“The anonymity aspect is intriguing and bears a resemblance to ‘the secret footballer’ – if he/she/it is anywhere near as interesting as the secret footballer I’m sure we’re in for a treat.

“I’m anticipating a talk by a woman wearing an elaborate fox mask. I’m also preparing myself for disappointment in that regard.”

Puja Tirwari likes Foxy’s way with words:

“I think Fleet Street Fox has a way of bringing to light current issues in an amusing and unconventional way.

“I love how she weaves her words, starting out indirectly at first and then gradually transitioning into the subject.

“What I anticipate the most are the hilarious pictures at the end of every post.

“Her scope on different issues is refreshing and gives the reader something to ponder about.”

Jamie Walker likes a strong woman:

“I enjoy reading her blogs because I love how opinionated she is, she is very passionate about her work and has a lot of opinions about world events which is important for a journalist.

“Obviously it is difficult to give your opinion as a journalist but that is why her blog is so enjoyable.

“Her opinion is so strong and really makes the reader think about the issues being discussed.”

Student Emily Noszkay described Foxy’s previous visit in the blog post 43 and never been spanked – don’t read this:

“She jumped feet first into the blood-thirsty jaws of Fleet Street and worked her way around several high-profile tabloids. She got married, travelled the world, wrote a book, became a twitter phenomenon, hacked her husband’s phone, heard Denise Welch reach an orgasm and got divorced. Although, not in that order.

“While this was all very entertaining, and provided me with my favourite quote of the year so far: “I hacked my husband’s phone but he was shagging a fat bitch, so that’s ok.”

“The real message we got, although littered with unprintable words, was that the highs of being a journo completely out-weighed the lows.

“Fleet Street Fox told us we would be treated like second class citizens, called liars, have no employee rights,  exposed to sexism and people would never understand why we wanted to do our job.

“If we hadn’t of been too scared to try to leave, a good portion of us probably would have. However her next point made us feel more like we could reach our dreams, albeit with a strong drink.

“We were regaled with stories of deaths, births, scandals, expenses, sex, sex, bad breath, sex, and why we would hate our job most days.

“However, the glimmering hope was that we would not only be witnessing the events that everyone wanted to know about but would be writing that every one would be reading.”

Fleet Street Fox has her own range of t-shirts and mugs. The latest addition is a ‘proud to be a pleb‘ mug.

Proud to be a pleb

                       Stay classy

‘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