After a year of internships in all areas of journalism, travel, websites, fashion, magazines, lifestyle, freelancing and then back to fashion again, I decided that my ‘journalism career’ as it stood was lacking some authority.
Don’t get me wrong, I believed I was capable of being a hard-nosed, story-hounding, news dog – but just turning up to an interview and saying ‘trust me’ I find doesn’t usually cut the mustard.
So I started on my search for an NCTJ qualification and found myself at the door of Brighton Journalist Works (BJW) handing over my hard-earned wages.
I’d long decided a Journalism MA wasn’t for me, after three years in academia I was ready for a more vocational and practical experience where job prospects were tangible and theory is put into practice. Then I heard that the MA Journalism students from Sussex University were sent to BJW for the ‘practical’ modules of their course and I knew I had made the right decision.
The course is all over in 14 weeks, exams and all, with an additional three weeks of placements right after. As someone who doesn’t like waiting around for things to happen, this fast pace was exactly what I wanted post-university.
BJW also guarantee work experience after the course, which if you are a budding-hack, you will know is not easy to come by – who would have thought that offering your work for free would be such a burden hey?
I have just finished my fourth week on the course and it feels like it is going well – although reading Soup Du Journalism, the blog of former student Kayleigh – makes me feel like I’m not as stressed as I should be, but only time will tell…
Reporting is one of my favoured modules ie. not Shorthand. We begun with the basic formula for news-writing, inverted triangle format, the important of the introduction, quoting and exam practice. These classes also cover Court Reporting and we ‘ve spent the day at Brighton Magistrates Court – an experience which made me disheartened by the justice system rather than feel justice was in action, so to speak.
Media Law is another favourite and so far we have covered Civil vs. Criminal Law, Contempt of Court, Defamation, Sexual Offences and Reporting on Children – apologies if these all sound dull, but for obvious reasons they are essential learning and (embarrassingly) interesting.
Public Affairs was always going to be a contender for number one spot, as a humanities girl at heart, discussing politics, systems of governance and the monarchy is definitely my cup of tea.
Shorthand is my arch nemesis. There are no two ways about it. We are learning the Teeline form of shorthand and although it is a skill I know I will relish having (and have to reach 100 wpm for my diploma) I am not a skill-based learner (Maths, Languages I’m looking at you) and my favourite time of the week is always leaving the class…
Production Journalism has been a little mysterious so far, with only 3 classes under our belts in a month, it is still a bit of an enigma. So far though we have covered sub-editing and using design software.
We have also been given our own patches of Brighton for hunting down stories, so if you are a local and hear of any goings-on in town (particularly the Fiveways/Hollingdean/Preston Park/Patcham areas) then I would be forever grateful for your help.
Final disclosure, apologies if this post has seemed self-indulgent (and very long), it was based on the fact that when I was considering the NCTJ, Kayleigh’s blog was the most useful and honest resource I found and I want to emulate this for other people as much as possible.