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Five key courses for journalists in September

July 31st, 2013 | No Comments | Posted by in About us, Training

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Did you know that Journalism.co.uk organises one-day, evening and online training courses? We provide new skills to trained journalists. We are aware that we all need to keep learning, so we offer intensive and practical training in areas such as data journalism, social media and online video.

Rather than bringing in trainers who spend little time in a newsroom, we like to invite people to lead courses who are working journalists or who spend a large proportion of their of their time practicing a key skill.

And as our trainers are professionals taking a day out of their normal schedule to share their skills, these courses don’t take place very often. It is the first time that we are offering courses run by Luke Lewis from BuzzFeed and by Glen Mulcahy from Irish broadcaster RTE.

We have a great line up for September. You can click the links to find out more.

1. Data journalism (4 September)

Paul Bradshaw is a data journalism expert and is running this course which will get you started in dealing with data. You’ll be able to use data as a source of stories and learn how to present information online.

Paul divides his time between being a visiting professor at City University, London, course leader for the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, and a freelance trainer, speaker and writer. He founded Help Me Investigate, a platform for crowdsourcing investigative journalism, and the Online Journalism Blog.

2. Growing social media communities (19 September)

Luke Lewis, the editor of BuzzFeed UK and former editor of NME.com, is leading a course on growing social media communities. Interested in finding out how to make your posts go viral? Then sign up to the course.

This course has a great venue too. It’s being hosted by VICE UK in Shoreditch.

3. Mobile journalism (19 September)

Glen Mulcahy has been key to introducing iPhone and iPad reporting at Irish broadcaster RTE. In this one-day course he is leading you will learn how to shoot and edit broadcast-quality footage using an iPhone or iPad.

If you think you know how to use your phone, take a peek at this course description and you will probably realise that Glen can teach you some valuable lessons. (And if you want to see the quality of his teaching skills, take a quick look at this video of him presenting at news:rewired.)

This course is taking place in the building in London Victoria which is home to MSN UK and Microsoft.

4. Open data for journalists (19 September)

Kathryn Corrick and Ulrich Atz are experts in open data. This course takes place at the Open Data Institute, which launched earlier this year having been founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

This course is designed to provide journalists with an introduction to open data.

5. Online video (30 September)

Adam Westbrook is a multimedia producer and has been a key voice in the development of online video. He is running a one-day course in which you can learn how to shoot and edit video. Cameras and an editing suite are provided.

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Ten things every journalism student should know

If you are about to start a journalism course, here are 10 things you should know to give you the best chance of succeeding and getting a job in journalism.

Yes, you may only have had A-level results in your hand for a matter of hours, but you’re not going to make it as a journalist if you simply rely on attending classes and getting good grades.

Some of the tips we’ve come up with, most are from other journalists after we asked those who follow @journalismnews on Twitter for advice.

The suggestions are in no particular order and all are of equal importance.

1. You need to do much more than just attend classes. Start a blog, podcast and tweet get yourself known by building up a presence online (more on each of these below).

  2. Get as much work experience as you can. Sometimes this will turn into paid work, often it won’t. Checkout internship opportunities listed on Journalism.co.uk and other sites.

And if you’re reading this and wondering whether or not to take a course, here’s a thought.

3. Contacts, contacts, contacts. And that doesn’t mean just having a contact book. Connect with people via Twitter, engage online and get your name known within the subject area you’re interested in. It’s never been easier to do this so take advantage of social networking.

  4. Question everything. Develop an analytical brain. Learn how to spot a hoax press release, question figures and consider all the angles.

5. Be versatile. Learn to shoot video, be able to turn your hand to editing audio, get to grips with data journalism, make sure you get 100wpm shorthand, know your way round Photoshop. Journalism is not just about a notebook and pen but tools such as apps and your smartphone, Dipity, Storify and Audioboo, to name but a few.

 

6. Write, write, blog. If you’re an aspiring broadcast journalist learn how to podcast but anyone starting out should create a blog. If you don’t have a particular area of journalism you want to go into, pick a subject you are interested in and write about that. Follow others writing about that subject (see next point).

7. Hone your research skills and build up sources. Work on creating a network of contacts in Delicious, set up RSS feeds to follow subject areas that interest you, keep an eye on LinkedIn company pages. For example, if you are interested in fashion journalism, keep an eye on who is leaving and joining fashion houses listed on LinkedIn. Set up alerts to receive the accounts of these firms from Companies House. Publish the stories on your blog and pitch them to newsdesks.

  8. Get published. When you find a really strong, original story pitch it to a newsdesk ask get a byline and negotiate a fee.

 

  9. Build your brand. Your name is your brand so consider a Facebook page and create an online portfolio. If you’re thinking “I’m not the kind of person who says look at me”, get over that. You have to get your name out there.

10. Don’t give up at the first hurdle. You’re not going to have a great voice for broadcast or get your first pitch accepted by a magazine or national newspaper. When someone knocks you down, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep trying.

 

Here are five tips for aspiring journalists from Rob Mansfield.

Find out how some journalists got their big break in Journalism.co.uk’s Industy Insight video series.

Key blogs

Apart from Journalism.co.uk which has useful ‘how to‘ guides, info on handy tools and technology, daily tips for journalists and industry news here are some useful blogs to follow:

  • Wannabe Hacks, a blogging collective of aspiring journalists which is essential reading for any student journalist. Last years wannabes are now fully fledged journalists with great jobs and they’re about to hand over the reins to this year’s cohort;
  • Paul Bradshaw, head of online journalism at Birmingham City University, has a must-read Online Journalism Blog.
    • Got other tips for aspiring hacks? Leave a comment below.
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Comment: Response to Kelvin MacKenzie on shutting journalism colleges

Media law, 100 words a minute shorthand and how to shoot and edit a video, these are just some of what I probably would not have learned in my first month on a local paper.

But according to former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, writing for the Independent this morning, “there’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper”.

He believes aspiring reporters should start on their local newspaper at 18 and be on a national by 21. Perhaps he is unaware local newspaper editors, radio stations and TV newsdesks are not exactly falling over themselves to take on teenagers with no training.

Learning on the job may be a highwire act but it will be a lesson you will never forget compared with listening to ‘professor’ Roy Greenslade explaining why Wapping was a disgrace. No amount of academic debate is going to give you news sense, even if you have a PhD. It’s a knack and you’ve either got it or you haven’t.

There are more than 80 schools in the UK teaching journalism. These courses are make-work projects for retired journalists who teach for six months a year and are on a salary of £34,000- £60,000. Students are piling up debts as they pay to keep their tutors in the lifestyles they’re used to. I’d shut down all the journalism colleges today. If you want to be a print journalist you should go straight from school and join the local press. You will have a better career and you won’t owe a fortune. Good luck.

This is not the first time MacKenzie has rubbished journalism courses.

The Independent’s full story is at this link.

So, fellow journalism graduates, are you shouting at your computers/phones/iPads yet? Or has MacKenzie got it right?
Please comment and let us know what you think.

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NCTJ accreditation: essential or an outdated demand?

September 16th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Training

The value of industry body accreditation in journalism has been at the centre of debate this week, following a meeting of the NCTJ’s cross-media accreditation board last week, where members raised concerns about the impact of potential education funding cuts on the journalism industry.

Quoted in a report from the NCTJ Professor Richard Tait, director of the Centre of Journalism Studies at Cardiff University, argued that accredited courses must be protected in the face of cuts.

While the NCTJ is quite right to insist on sufficient resources and expertise so that skills are properly taught and honed, education is a competitive market, and NCTJ courses are expensive to run. In the likely cuts ahead, it is vital for accredited courses to retain their funding so that they are not forced to charge students exorbitant fees; otherwise, diversity will be further compromised.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk about his comments further this week, Tait said he was voicing real concerns that courses which meet industry standards may be more at risk because of their expense:

There has been a huge expansion of courses about journalism and about the media, but not all of them are accredited. These are not real journalism courses, they are journalism studies courses. There’s nothing wrong with them at all, some of them are very good courses, but they are not a professional training of journalists.

It’s really important that whatever happens to journalism education we protect those courses that provide this professional training of the journalists of the future.

If you’re running a journalism course that does not have a digital newsroom, does not teach videojournalism or students how to report online or what podcasts are, what’s the use of that? Some universities have invested heavily in these areas. But when money gets short people will say “do we really need this digital newsroom, do we need to teach shorthand etc”. There is a danger of people saying “frankly bad courses might be cheaper”.

Just days after the meeting, Brian McNair, former professor of journalism at Strathclyde University and now working at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, happened to discuss his decision to pull Strathclyde’s journalism course out of NCTJ accreditation in 2008 in a post on allmediascotland. His comments, which were picked up by media commentator Roy Greenslade, have since prompted huge debate about the value of the body. In his post McNair said accreditation is not enough:

In a world where (…) the supply of traditional journalism jobs has fallen by as much as 30 per cent (and those that remain are scandalously low-paid), the high flying journalist of the future needs more than NCTJ certificates in Public Affairs and Media Law to get on. He, or she, needs talent, imagination, a spirit of independence, an understanding of IT and social networking and their impact on media, culture and society in general; everything in short, that the NCTJ curriculum squeezed out with its relentless stress on externally-decreed learning by rote.

Many, maybe most, successful journalists never passed an NCTJ exam. NCTJ-certified journalists are being sacked, perhaps as I write, sometimes by editors who sit on NCTJ boards and declare their allegiance to the “gold standard” of training. The old world of print journalism in which the NCTJ was formed is passing into history, replaced by content-generating users, citizen journalists and all those journalistic wannabees who make up the globalised, digitised public sphere in the 21st century.

But while Tait reiterated McNair’s call for talent to be the measure of a journalist, he insisted that accreditation is a vital tool for students:

The problem is that there are a huge number of courses which have got the magic word journalism in them. If you’re a student and you’re looking at this multiplicity of courses and trying to work out what one is up to a certain standard, that’s absolutely essential.

What you’re already seeing in journalism is that it is becoming a profession where who you know is becoming more important than what you know. It should be about talent. I think that if you don’t have the accreditation process, the rigorous approval of courses by accreditation bodies, how can the students work out what to do?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments or by voting in the poll below:

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