Tag Archives: speaker

Journalism Daily: Timetric on data journalism, new book on financial journalism and Northcliffe’s hybrid model

A daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter and subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

News and features:

Ed’s picks:

Tip of the day:

#FollowJourn:

On the Editors’ Blog:

Is World Journalism in Crisis? Speaker update: Nick Davies confirmed

As previously reported on Journalism.co.uk, we are supporting an event at Coventry University on October 28 that will ask ‘Is World Journalism in Crisis?’ with participants contributing via video-link from around the globe.

It already had an exciting line-up: chaired by the BBC College of Journalism’s Kevin Marsh, speakers include Fackson Banda, SAB-UNESCO Chair of Media & Democracy at Rhodes University, South Africa; Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine blogger and journalism professor at City University New York (CUNY), and Professor Adrian Monck, World Economic Forum, former head of journalism at City University, London.

Now Nick Davies, author of Flat Earth News and special correspondent for the Guardian, is also confirmed – live from Brighton. And, we’re permitted to hint, it looks very likely that the BBC’s Jeremy Paxman will be joining the conversation from London.

‘Is World Journalism in Crisis?’ Wednesday October 28, 2-5 pm. Entry will be free. For further information please contact John Mair at Coventry University, johnmair100 at hotmail.com or Judith Townend: judith at journalism.co.uk.

NB: The event will follow the annual conference of the Institute of Communication Ethics, ‘I’m an ethicist… get me out of here: Communication, celebrity and conscience in a global media age,’ also in Coventry, from 10am to 12:30. For further details contact Katherine Hill: K.Hill [at] leedstrinity.ac.uk.

MPs’ expenses data will be officially released Thursday but how much will be edited out?

Someone has left a comment beneath Journalism.co.uk’s article looking at the Telegraph’s transparency over MPs’ expenses. They  suggest that a member of staff at the Telegraph uploads the original data to Wikileaks.org. It’s probably unlikely to happen.

What has happened is this: following Gordon Brown’s promise last week, the speaker’s office yesterday confirmed that details of MPs’ expenses will be released tomorrow (Thursday), on the parliament website. Official, but edited.

The Guardian reports:

“The Daily Telegraph obtained a copy of the unedited expenses details and has been publishing extracts since the beginning of May.

“Attention on Thursday is likely to focus on how much damaging information would have been ‘redacted’ and hidden from the public if the Telegraph had not got hold of the details.”

WelshBlogger leaves this comment beneath the Guardian article:

“The ‘official’ one will be sanitised. I’ll only believe the Telegraph version. We, all, owe them a debt of gratitude. Why didn’t the Guardian do it?”

Will we ever see the unedited Telegraph version so we can compare the two? And compare the data with the stories generated by news organisations? Time will tell. WikiLeaks’ editor, Julian Assange, thinks it should be publicly archived information.

The Guardian, as WelshBlogger points out, didn’t get the data. It has, however, plotted information obtained via the Telegraph’s stories, in a spreadsheet.

140conf: Follow the event here

Following on from last month’s UK event on microblogging, Media140, a new event dedicated to all things Twitter takes place today and tomorrow.

140Conf or ‘The 140 Character Conference’ features sessions on Twitter and TV; Twitter and newspapers; and Twitter for newsgathering, with contributions from BusinessWeek.com editor John A. Byrne (@johnabyrne), Tim O’Reilly (@timoreilly) and Andrew Keen (@ajkeen) amongst others.

You can watch a livestream from 8:45am (EST) today – you’ll need to register and download the player. There’s also a great backchannel site hosting video, tweets, speaker profiles and latest coverage of the conference.

Alternatively, follow the Twitter stream of #140conf tweets below:

How Westminster students covered last week’s Journalism in Crisis conference

I got a peek behind the stage curtain last week, at the University of Westminster / British Journalism Review Journalism in Crisis conference (May 19/20). Geoffrey Davies, head of the Journalism and Mass Communications department, gave me a mini-guided tour of the equipment borrowed for the event – it allowed the live-streaming of the conference throughout; a real bonus for those at home or in the office.

Jump to video list here (includes: Mark Thompson / Nick Davies / Paul Lashmar / Boris Johnson and a host of academics and journalists from around the world)

The Journalism.co.uk beat means that we cover a fair few industry and academic conferences, and so we get to compare the technology efforts of the hosts themselves. While Twitter conversation didn’t flow as much as at some events (not necessarily a negative thing – see some discussion on that point at this link) the students’ own coverage certainly made use of their multimedia skills. I contacted a few of the students and lecturers afterwards to find out a few more specifics, and how they felt it went.

“We streamed to the web via a system we borrowed from NewTek Europe, but might purchase, called Tricaster. It’s a useful piece of equipment that is a television studio in a box,” explained Rob Benfield, a senior lecturer at the University, who produced the students’ coverage.

“In this case it allowed us to add graphics and captions downstream of a vision-mixer. It also stores all the material we shot in its copious memory and allowed us to store and stream student work, messages and advertising material of various sorts without resorting to other sources.

“Some of our third year undergraduates quickly mastered the technology which proved to be largely intuitive. We streamed for two solid days without interruption.”

Conference participants might also have seen students extremely diligently grabbing each speaker to ask them some questions on camera  (making Journalism.co.uk’s cornering of people a little bit more competitive). The videos are linked at the end of this post.

Marianne Bouchart, a second year at the University, blogged and tweeted (via @WestminComment) along with postgraduate student, Alberto Furlan.

“We all were delighted to get involved in such an important event,” Bourchart told Journalism.co.uk afterwards. “It was an incredible opportunity for us to practice our journalistic skills and gave to most of us a first taste of working in journalism. I couldn’t dream of anything better than to interview BBC director general Mark Thompson.

“We worked very hard on this project and we are all very happy it went on that well. My experience as an editor managing a team of journalists to cover the event was fantastic. We encountered a few scary moments, some panic attacks, but handled the whole thing quite brilliantly in the end – for inexperienced journalists. I can’t wait to be working with this team again.”

A sample of the Westminster students’ coverage:

If you missed the Journalism.co.uk own coverage, here’s a round-up:

Videos from the Westminster University students at this link. Interviewees included:

  • Paul Lashmar, Is investigative journalism in the UK dying or can a ‘Fifth Estate’ model revitalise it? An examination of whether the American subscription and donation models such as Pro Publica, Spot.US and Truthout are the way
  • Haiyan Wang, Investigative journalism and political power in China —A case study of three major newspapers’ investigative reporting over Chenzhou corruption between April 2006 and November 2008
  • Maria Edström, The workplace and education of journalists – myths and facts
  • Shan Wu, Can East Asia produce its own “Al-Jazeera”? Unravelling the challenges that face channel NewsAsia as a global media contra-flow
  • Yael .M. de Haan, Media under Fire: criticism and response in The Netherlands, 1987-2007
  • Esra Arsan, Hopelessly devoted? Turkish journalism students’ perception of the profession
  • Professor James Curran, ‘Journalism in Crisis,’ Goldsmiths College
  • Marina Ghersetti, Swedish journalists’ views on news values
  • Igor Vobic, Multimedia news of Slovenian print media organisations: Multimedia on news Websites of delo and žurnal media
  • Anya Luscombe, The future of radio journalism: the continued optimism in BBC Radio News
  • Tamara Witschge,The tyranny of technology? Examining the role of new media in news journalism
  • Juliette De Maeyer, Journalism practices in an online environment
  • Colette Brin, Journalism’s paradigm shifts: a model for understanding long-term change
  • Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Crisis equals crisis: How did the panic spread by the Greek media accelerate the economy crisis in the country?
  • Matthew Fraser, Why business journalism failed to see the coming economic crisis
  • Michael Bromley, Citizen journalism: ‘citizen’ or ‘journalism’ – or both?
  • Vincent Campbell, ‘Citizen Journalism’: A crisis in journalism studies?
  • Martin Nkosi Ndlela, The impact of technology on Norwegian print journalism
  • James S McLean, The future of journalism: Rethinking the basics
  • Mathieu Simonson, The Belgian governmental crisis through the eye of political blogging
  • Nick Davies, freelance journalist and author of Flat Earth News
  • Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
  • Jonathan Coad, partner at Swan Turton solicitors
  • Mark Thompson, BBC director-general
  • Hacks beat Flacks to knockout in Pall Mall debate

    Normally it is very sedate – the Pall Mall world of the Gentlemans’ Clubs. On Monday night it was a bare knuckle fight to the finish as the hacks took on the flacks in a Media Society/CIPR debate at the Foreign Press Association on whether this union was a marriage that would ever work. The Hacks won, for a change, persuading some of the 80 strong audience, mainly PRs, to change their mind between the beginning and the end of the session.

    Both sides have been reeling since the runaway success of Nick Davies’ book ‘Flat Earth News’ and its unearthing of acres of ‘churnalism’ – PR disguised as journalism – in the press. The Hacks were ably represented by three Terracotta Tigers: Rosie Millard of the Sunday Times, Roy Greenslade of City University and the Guardian, and Maggie Brown, the distinguished media writer. Up against them Peter Luff MP, once and still a PR man, and Jo Tanner whose PR skills helped elect the Boris Johnson as Mayor of London last year.

    The whole match was taking place in a rather significant setting. It was here in January 2004 on the stairs of the Foreign Press Association that Alastair Campbell announced his ‘victory’ over the BBC after his PR ‘triumph’ on the Hutton report.

    Sue Macgregor, late of the BBC now of national treasure status, refereed the whole shooting match. Millard played the men from the start accusing Flacks of ‘getting in the way of the truth’ week after week after week in her Sunday Times work. She reserved her especial ire for the PR machine of Buckingham Palace, ‘a venal institution’ whose spinners ‘bamboozled the public’ on Royalty.

    Peter Luff, only lightly mired in the recent MPs’ expenses scandal was having no truck with the journalist as saint. “Which journalist ever got the sack for getting it wrong?” he asked. On that current PR Disaster, Jon Stonborough, the former ‘spinner’ for Speaker Michael Martin was in the audience and was called upon to advise him. He was less than warm in his praise and less than generous in a forecast of career longevity for the embattled ‘Gorbals Mick’! [Ed – John submitted this piece this morning, timely given Martin’s announcement today that he will step down]

    Hacks and Flacks agreed that they were all ‘truth’ tellers and that there was an inverse relationship between the number of PRs now employed and the number of journalists unemployed. That was not a healthy sign.

    Greenslade, the sage of the internet and soi-disant conscience of British journalism, was equally punchy, producing a roll call of journos killed in the last two years.

    He then very effectively contrasted this with a blank sheet showing the number of PRs killed in action. The opposition was put firmly on the back foot by this low punch.

    Jo Tanner pledged, as they all did, to always tell the truth (however they defined it) and delighted in recalling the story of how she had exposed Baroness Jay as not the product of an ‘ordinary grammar’ as she claimed on television but a prize product of Blackheath Girls School. Good journalism for a PR.

    Maggie Brown revealed a trick of her trade – a simple device to get round the PRs who controlled access to celebrities and powerful people in the media and elsewhere. She simply ignored them and went round their backs. She cited the example of Jay Hunt, the controller of BBC One whose PR blocked her access. Maggie simply interviewed her proud Professor father instead!

    It was left to a super hack Phil Harding, former Today editor and Controller of BBC editorial policy to point out the idea of a marriage between the two was a pure chimera: “We do different jobs.” We do and did. Not a marriage more a friendship of distrust.

    After their defeat – smiling as always – it was simply left to the Flacks to buy the drinks for the Hacks…

    Last night’s Question Time: should Will Lewis get a knighthood?

    Last night’s BBC Question Time got a lot of people talking, not least in regards to the heckling of MP Margaret Beckett. The Twitter comments were interesting to follow too, some of which Paul Canning has reproduced here on his blog

    But here was the other story, as reported on the main Journalism.co.uk site: The Telegraph’s assistant editor, Benedict Brogan, on his newspaper’s handling of MPs’ expenses case. It started with a question from the audience: should the Daily Telegraph’s editor, Will Lewis, get a knighthood?

    Is it surprising that 25 journalists have been working on the story? Was it a courageous act by the Telegraph to publish? Should they be forced to disclose details about how they obtained information?

    Here is a transcript with a few of the repetitions removed for clarity:

    George Park, member of audience:

    “Should the editor of the Daily Telegraph be knighted for services to journalism and the British electorate?”

    [Presenter David Dimbleby asks Beckett if she approves of Telegraph’s publication of the information]

    Margaret Beckett, MP:

    “I think I’m going to find myself on dodgy territory, again. Because one of the things that is not quite clear about this riveting story is exactly what the Telegraph has done.

    “And one of the things that I think is causing considerable anxiety. Well, I know, because every member of Parliament, yesterday, was sent a formal letter from the fees office to tell us that the information which is now circulating, which it would appear the Telegraph has perhaps bought, I don’t know, contains not only details of the personal financial circumstances, account numbers, credit card numbers of every MP but also of all of our staff (…) Our staff, who are merely employees of members, whose details were all on file, of course, because they are paid through the fees office; they’re paid on their contract and all of that has been stolen, and that, I think, is not a good thing.

    “I’m not suggesting the editor of the Telegraph stole it, but what I am saying is it would appear he is profiting from someone else’s theft.”

    David Dimbleby, presenter:

    “If he didn’t steal it, he might be accused by you of being a receiver of stolen goods, which is almost as bad, isn’t it?”

    Margaret Beckett:

    “Well, I’m no lawyer, ask the lawyer.”

    David Dimbleby:

    “Well ask Ben Brogan: is it theft to have all this information that was going to be published by the House of Commons, on a disc? In your offices? Is it theft?”

    Benedict Brogan, assistant editor, the Telegraph:

    “You can speculate as much as you like…”

    David Dimbleby:

    “Well, it doesn’t just land… It doesn’t fly through the sky and land. Someone comes along to you with a little disc and says ‘here you are do you want this?’ and you say yes. and presumably you pay for it?”

    Benedict Brogan:

    “David, you’ve been a journalist for even longer than I have and the fact is the first rule of journalism – you don’t discuss your sources, or how you got things.

    “The fact is that the Telegraph has been working on this story for weeks: we’ve got 25 journalists working on it, lawyers, all sorts of experts looking at it, and I can assure you that a newspaper like the Telegraph, which is a serious newspaper, has not entered into this exercise lightly.

    “The things we satisfied ourselves about, were one, that the information is genuine; and two, that it is in the public interest that we publish it.

    “The fact is that if the Telegraph hadn’t published, it hadn’t taken what I would describe as fairly courageous action to put this out into the public domain (…)”

    David Dimbleby:

    “Why’s it courageous? Your circulation has gone up. You’ve had a story a day for seven days and from what one gathers another one tomorrow. And more the days after. What’s courageous about it?”

    Benedict Brogan:

    “You only have to look at the reaction of the political classes, and the hostility expressed towards the Telegraph to suggest that (…)”

    David Dimbleby:

    “Are you scared of the political class? What’s so brave about it? I don’t understand.”

    Benedict Brogan:

    “Not at all. When you heard that people were prepared to contemplate the possibility of legal action to prevent the Telegraph from publishing – this is something we had to consider. The fact is we considered it and we pressed ahead, and as a result the electorate, the British public,  are aware of something the MP’s did not want released and now people can see it for themselves and draw their own conclusions about their MPs.”

    David Dimbleby:

    “Ming Campbell, you’re a lawyer…”

    Ming Campbell, MP:

    “It used to be that the editor of the Daily Telegraph did get a knighthood because in those days it was essentially the house magazine of the Conservative party (…) Those days have long gone.

    “I’m rather more sympathetic to Ben Brogan than you might expect, for this reason: just a little while ago in the House of Commons we had an incident involving Mr Damian Green. And what was Mr Damian Green doing? He was leaking information which had been supplied to him… And what seems to me to be very difficult is to take a high and mighty moral attitude about the leak of this information.

    “What I do think though, and I understand why Ben Brogan might like to protect his sources, is that perhaps to demonstrate the commercial ability of the Daily Telegraph, and its auditor! Its editor! Freudian slip there you may have noticed (…) tell us precisely how much they paid.”

    Benedict Brogan:

    “As I said earlier, the key thing earlier is to not discuss sources, so I’m not going to get into that. You may try but I’m not going to get into that.”

    Ming Campbell:

    “Transparency, transparency, transparency!”

    David Dimbleby:

    “Do you know the answer for the question I’m asking you, even if you won’t give it?”

    Benedict Brogan:

    “I probably shouldn’t even tell you if I know the answer (…)  the politicians can try to distract us from the matter at hand by talking about the processes as to how the Telegraph got hold of it (…) what is important is what we now know about our MPs (…)”

    David Dimbleby:

    “The lady [up there] made a point that the newspapers had some responsibility to report positive things as well as negative things (…) What do you make of that?”

    Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald’s UK:

    “I don’t hand out many knighthoods… To me there are aspects of cheque book journalism, if that’s what it is, which are pretty unsavoury and pretty sordid, particularly when they’re invasive and they disrupt people people’s lives and I certainly don’t approve of that. But on this case I am pretty comfortable that this is in the public’s best interest. Or in the tax payers’ best interest, to be honest with you.

    “But it does require balance: I think we’d all like to see some good news, some balance put to this  (…)  How many MPs out there do play the game straight, give us hope and can give us some positive belief?

    “(…) Perhaps we [the panel] haven’t gauged the mood of the country. I spend a lot of time in restaurants, that’s my job, chatting to staff, chatting to customers.

    “Not one of them has ever made the comment ‘wasn’t the newspaper wrong to print it’. All the conversations is about the actual detail of course, and we shouldn’t fly against the mood of the country on this one.”

    Member of the audience:

    “I think the Daily Telegraph have actually done a very good job; they’ve made something transparent that should have already been transparent, and that’s what our money’s been spent on.”

    George Park, member of the audience:

    “Surely the main reason why the Telegraph had to do this, was because the Speaker, and people like him, were trying to suppress this information. And it gave the Telegraph so much credibility because of all of these people were dragged screaming and kicking to make all this information known…”

    Heather Brooke thanks the Speaker for ‘making my career’ / Alan Keen update

    In her latest blog post, Heather Brooke, FoI specialist and campaigining journalist, links to today’s Guardian G2 feature, in which she describes her role in the MPs’ expenses saga, and asks:

    “Is this the apex of my campaign? My 15 minutes of fame might now be coming to a close if the Commons actually comes clean, gets rid of the corrupt and institutes a new transparency regime. That actually looks as though it might now happen. I’m in such a generous mood I feel I ought to invite Speaker Michael Martin out to lunch just to say ‘thanks for making my career.’ I couldn’t have done this without him.”

    Following yesterday’s post on this blog, which noted Heather Brooke’s amusement at Alan Keen’s speculative questions about her background during a select committee session on press standards, libel and privacy in April 2009 and Brooke’s own update on the Keens, this article comes from the Telegraph today:

    “Alan and Ann Keen, the husband and wife Labour MPs, claimed almost £40,000 a year on a central London flat although their family home was less than 10 miles away,” Holly Watt reports.

    “(…)Mrs Keen is a junior health minister. Nicknamed ‘Mr and Mrs Expenses’ by the press prior to The Daily Telegraph’s investigation, the two MPs have been married since 1980 and represent neighbouring constituencies…”


    Twitter and hashtags at conferences – questions to ask

    A post from Travolution fits in neatly with a discussion Journalism.co.uk has been having with some followers: how best to provide live coverage from conferences?

    As an alternative (and additional service) to @journalismnews, we set up @journalism_live on Twitter, and it’s grown relatively steadily in followers. However, we are aware that some people, do not find immediate updates from conferences particularly helpful.

    So this post by Kevin May, about covering a travel conference (the Travolution Summit 2009) provides some interesting points for debate. It discusses whether publishing a Tweet-stream behind a panel is useful. May also flags up this point, as an aside:

    “A fellow conference organiser told me recently that his organisation felt that the quality of coverage suffered as a result of delegates spending their time tweeting whereas in the past they might have been busily crafting more analytical coverage.”

    This question from Neal Baldwin in the comments is also interesting (this could apply to using Twitterfall pages on site homepages too.)

    “Can I ask a question with my ‘old media’ hat on? If someone tweets a libellous comment, say about a speaker for example, and you ‘broadcast’ it to all via your wall, don’t you become the publisher and therefore liable?”

    Lastly, in another comment, Mark Hodson suggests appointing an ‘official twitterer’ of comments, to ‘free up the bloggers and journalists to add their own comments and intepretations’.

    (via @adders)

    Too old to become a journalist: UK journalism courses uncovered

    This blog has, so far, concentrated on the Lambeth College, National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) course. There are a multitude of other courses out there, many of which offer online teaching and IT skills, which, in the current climate especially, are essential.

    Below are the experiences of three other journalists who recently undertook training courses at Sportsbeat/News Associates, Cardiff University and noSWeat.

    Sportsbeat/News Associates
    Vivienne Raper, 29, is a freelance writer and journalist and has just finished her
    NCTJ course at Sportsbeat/News Associates.

    Prior to this she worked full-time as a writer for a healthcare and life science PR agency. Other highlights of her career so far include an internship at a think tank, a PhD in climate change monitoring, serving on the national executive of the Liberal Democrats’ youth wing, and a spell as a receptionist in a prison.

    Yet surprisingly, she maintains that journalism is the most interesting thing she’s ever done. She particularly enjoys breaking off-diary news stories.

    “The NCTJ accredited Sportsbeat/News Associates course is run by a sports news agency in Wimbledon, London. I did the course part-time over 10 months but they also offer a full-time, fast track option. It cost £3,500.

    “Unlike most NCTJ courses, students don’t need to have a degree to be accepted onto the Sportsbeat course. You must sit an entrance examination and interview, conducted by the course director or one of the heads of journalism training and a senior editor.

    “Most of the students on my course were career changers in their late 20s or recent school leavers who had jobs and didn’t plan to go to university.

    “The part-time course was brilliant for getting through the NCTJ exams without giving up the day job. I have no complaints – it did exactly what it said on the tin. I’d heartily recommend it even though I’m not remotely interested in sports reporting.

    “If you are, you can take a module in sports reporting and help out in the newsroom after class on Saturday evenings.

    “That being said the course suffers from the inherent problems with taking the NCTJ part-time i.e. everything is geared to passing the exams and leaves little time for anything else. If you have more money and want to learn about feature writing, podcasting or the history of journalism, I’d recommend a one-year diploma.

    “The tutors are very professional, extremely supportive, know exactly what the NCTJ requires and will help after the course has finished by checking CVs, offering additional shorthand classes and forwarding on job or story (usually sports) opportunities.

    “Time pressure meant we couldn’t do much outside preparing for the NCTJ. However, we did a couple of projects to teach journalism, learn QuarkXPress and collect clips for our NCTJ portfolio. We were split into groups and given an area of London to cover. Each group had to find stories and design a fake front page with headlines.

    “Like all NCTJ courses, it’s hard work. It’s a real challenge to combine NCTJ study with a full-time job and it’s particularly difficult to get through shorthand studying part-time. You need to be committed to journalism to get through a part-time NCTJ – amazingly, no one dropped out. Media law and public affairs are tedious and it was hard to stay awake at 9:30pm on a Monday evening or on a Saturday afternoon. This is a problem with the NCTJ exams and not the tuition.”

    Cardiff University
    Amy Davies, 22, is currently studying for her postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism at Cardiff’s Journalism School. She also did a journalism undergraduate degree at Cardiff – she must love it there – but is originally from the Midlands. She sees herself working for a variety of different magazines, even freelancing so as not to feel tied to one style. Eventually she wants to be an editor, but thinks this may be a long way off.

    “The course at Cardiff is accredited by the PTC (Periodicals Training Council) and has quite a high reputation. It runs for one academic year, from September to June, and costs around £5,500.

    “A degree in any discipline is needed to get onto the course. After applying candidates are called for a day-long interview and will sit a news knowledge and writing test. They will also have a formal interview with one of the tutors and must submit two feature ideas. Previous publishing experience is useful, but not essential.

    “The course is fairly well run in most areas and certainly provides many interesting lectures and modules. However, sometimes marking can be slow and so I do feel that progress can be hard to judge.

    “The diploma offers a choice of newspaper, broadcast or magazine options. All paths share some modules including media law (taught separately), public administration, reporters and the reported (a series of ethics lectures), online and mobile media and shorthand (although this is optional for the magazine and broadcast path).

    “Before we started the course in September, our shorthand teacher sent us worksheets and tapes instructing us to get up to 30WPM.

    “Shorthand classes were then Monday-Friday mornings from 9-11am and by December, a number of students (about half the class) were able to take and pass the 100wpm NCTJ paper.

    “In addition to the core subjects, students on the magazine course are taught news writing, magazine craft (how to use programmes including InDesign and Photoshop) and feature writing.

    “We also have the opportunity to create and publish our own complete magazine and website.

    “The course benefits from a high number of guest lecturers, hailing from various newspapers, magazines, broadcasters and online publications, who come and talk on various changes in the media.

    “Magazine students must also complete a minimum of two weeks of work experience at a magazine(s) of their choice.”

    noSWeat
    Tara Kelly, 27, is a freelance journalist and has just finished her
    NCTJ-accredited course at noSWeat Journalism Training in Clerkenwell, London.  Originally from New York, Tara has worked in corporate responsibility and the IT industry in Brussels and London. She holds an MA in International Conflict Analysis with a specialty in Conflict Diamonds. The fulfilment that comes with pitching and chasing up a story led Tara to journalism.

    “NoSWeat Journalism was founded by a former journalist who noticed there were no part-time, London-based NCTJ courses on offer. The success rate of its graduates and its central London location are what attracted me to apply and enrol in the course. You don’t need a university degree to get in, but you do have to sit a written exam and have an interview with the school director. The tuition is £3,500, but you get a slight discount if you pay early.

    “Media Law and shorthand were the most useful classes I took. We had the luxury of being taught by a practicing solicitor who is a renowned media law guru. The tutors held extra study sessions prior to exams, but have little patience for those who don’t attend class and make a sincere effort.

    “Journalism classes entailed learning QuarkXPress, practicing sub-editing, attending mock press conferences and going out into town in search of a local story. Much of what they teach you is centred on passing the exams, so the outlook is rather local and regional given the nature of the NCTJ.

    “The advantage of being a part-timer is that the course lasts 12 months allowing you more time to plan for work experience and complete your portfolio. On the other hand, part-timers working full-time may find it difficult to take advantage of the guest speaker lectures at lunch or the specially arranged day trips to the Old Bailey or House of Commons.

    “Like the field of journalism, don’t expect to be spoonfed at noSWeat. Students must approach editors and secure work experience themselves. NCTJ is definitely the magic word for gaining work experience opportunities though. Some of the national newspapers that our class completed placements on included the Financial Times, the Guardian, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, The Times and The Sunday Times.

    “Studying part-time, freelancing and managing to do a full-time job was extremely challenging in the final few months of the course, especially with exams and the portfolio hanging over your head. But if your devotion to journalism is unquestionable, it is well worth your Saturdays and Wednesday evenings.”