Time has flown by! We’re already three weeks into the course and so much has happened it would be impossible to write it all down, so here’s a bit about what I’ve been doing in each subject.
On Mondays we have an entire day of media law! Pretty tough going but it’s been really interesting learning about the various crimes including the difference between theft, burglary and robbery. We’ve also learnt about the Contempt of Court act – what you can and can’t say about people when they’ve been arrested, the Sexual Offences Act – what you can and can’t say about the victims, as well as a bit about Copyright. We’ve also had a go at a few NCTJ exam questions to get used to the type of questions we would be asked.
We’re now nine units into Marie Cartwright’s wonderful Teeline textbook – almost halfway through the theory! Since the first week we’ve learnt how to write several hundred words, along with countless special outlines and word groupings. We can read and write some simple (yet stilted) sentences – my favourites from the book are ‘I do like to make homemade cake’, ‘I will be able to go to the club with you today’ and ‘The old lady looked odd in her orange overcoat’. I can see those being useful…!
Last week we had an inspiring lecture from John Jenkins who told us about his experience in the industry and gave us some helpful tips for tight writing. He said “You need to make each word count” – which I try to remember every time I write a news story.
I’ve also written my first community story, interviewed someone for another story and attended my first community meeting in Portslade. Here I met Sue Bowes who used to teach at Brighton Journalist Works! She’s now part of the Drugs and Alcohol Action Team at Brighton and Hove City Council and told me about a ‘Recovery Walk’ happening next week. This gave me an idea for the PA feature we have to write for our portfolios. I plan to talk about the drugs and alcohol situation in Brighton and even though the numbers are quite shocking, there are people who recover. So I’m going to go on this walk and find out their stories, as well as interview Sue. Exciting!
This week we also had a go at phone interviews – it wasn’t too scary as I’ve done it countless times at my local newspaper, but there’s still room for improvement. We’ve also been going through some NCTJ exam papers, practicing our news writing, headlines and news tweets.
I love being able to understand politics now. We’ve covered Parliament, and both Central and Local Government. In summary, the Queen has no power, people like to hold the Government to account a lot, and local government finance is worse than pulling your own teeth out with pliers.
On a different but related matter I also found out that I’ve been selected to be a staff writer for the online publication ‘This Festival Feeling’ which I’m very excited about! So a busy couple of weeks, and it’s only going to get busier!