The dreaded C word

Grade announcements are fast approaching for many. They’ll be wanting to know whether they got enough points to get them on to the course of their choice? If not, what will happen and what can they can do about it?

If you haven’t achieved the grades to match the UCAS points for the course, there are various options you can take, so it’s not the end of the world. There is hope!

UCAS clearing  is where you need to go. For those unable to get on their first choice, then clearing offers places on courses where there are vacancies.

Around 35,000 students every year  go through the clearning system. Getting on your first choice is competitive, but if it doesn’t happen, know you still have a chance of getting a place.

Once in clearing you’ll need to make a decision about what course you’d like to apply for (are you still looking in the same area?) and where in the country do you want to go (sometimes you’ll have no choice).

If it’s journalism then look no further than East Coast Media. Based at the Grimsby Institute, we are one of 23 Skillset Media Academies in the UK. This is a badge of excellence, recognised by industry and government. Look for the Pick the Tick badge.

Here we offer BA (Hons) Multi-Platform Journalism. There are very few programmes in the UK offering this. It has been written with assistance from industry to deliver graduates with the right skills and training.

The world of journalism has changed. Journalists are now expected to take photos, shoot and edit video, create audio packages – not only for traditional platforms but for online. This is bi-media, tri-media, whatever you want to label it and if you want to get a break into journalism, then you need to embrace this now.

At East Coast Media you will get the skills and knowledge to develop. There’ll be opportunities for work placements within the broadcast and newspaper industry. You’ll work alongside industry professionals and create real work for publication/broadcast as opposed to simulations. You’ll be encouraged to be creative and have ideas for 360 degree platforms. Recent students have worked on pilot television programmes with East Coast Pictures, an independent production company led by Julia Thompson,  former Director of Sony Entertainment UK. Those students also had to produce content for online and act as researchers, reporters, etc. It gave them real experience of working on a TV programme.

Tutors on the course are all industry practitioners, so you’re in good hands there and the course has excellent work placement relations with some big companies. You can expect your tutor to get to know you personally, rather than being a face among hundreds. This means that you do get one to one assistance and probably feel more valued.

So if it’s a career in journalism you wish to pursue and you’re passionate about it and motivated to do what you can to go far, then come to East Coast Media.

We will want to talk to you to find out why you want to the course and find out if you have the passion and motivation needed. Remember, ask us questions too. We will interview you and you’ll also have to sit an assessment test on the day and there is a written task to do as well. This thorough application process is to ensure you’re suited for the programme – we don’t just give places out to anyone. We need to know that you are right for the course, as much as we’re right for you. It’s all about quality on both parts.

If you know someone who is in this position and wants to do journalism then tell them about this blog. Follow @eastcoastmedia on Twitter.

To look at some of the work undertaken by the current students, visit their youtube channel or check out the course Facebook page.

For further information on the course call 01472 315550 (ECM Reception) or visit the website.

Course entry requirements from September 2011 are 240 UCAS points and a drive/passion/enthusiasm for journalism.

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Test driving

I had an opportunity recently to go on a test drive. To put you in the picture, the snow and chaos surrounding it  in December, made me revisit my aspiration of having a 4×4. One, I need one, having two dogs and a horse. The bad weather proved I did, as anyone owning a horse knows you have to be there day and night, no matter what the weather and my car just wasn’t up to driving through inches of snow.

So through the power of Twitter, after having made a few comments about snow driving and being pulled out of snow drifts by tractors, @jamesbt_uk made contact. He’s the Centre Principal of Listers Toyota (Lincoln) and a lovely chap. He offered me the chance to come drive a Rav 4 and see what I thought of it. The other vehicle I’d considered was the Landrover Freelander, but I had heard too many negative comments about them, which put me off. Sorry Landrover – though I do hear the recent models are not so problematic!

After a few phone calls, I found myself over the Christmas period in Lincoln. I have to say I was nervous. The vehicle was an automatic and I’d not driven one of those for ten years and it was a very expensive vehicle. I’m not used to driving prestige cars that cost around £26,000! I had nothing to fear. The team were fantastic, in particular Charlie, who answered my questions and showed me round the vehicle, before it was my turn. I had this vehicle for the day and what a treat!

I have to say it handled beautifully in the city and in the countryside and was a very quiet, comfortable ride. I was bowled over by it. If I were a motoring journalist I’d be talking about its horse power and how it rolls or whatever. I can tell you I loved the back seats, which moved. So if you had a leggy back passenger or needed more room in the boot it was ideal. Also you had 80 litres of additional stowage under the boot carpet/floor and at a flick of a button, the back seats folded flat. Very handy as I hate having to climb into the back of the car and remove headrests and fiddle about lowering rear seats. In the front there was a nifty glove box, which also acted as a cool box – handy for your lipstick! I don’t like lipstick when it melts. One thing I forgot to mention is its intelligent all wheel drive, which I believe means that it detects what surface you’re on and shifts accordingly into four wheel or “normal” drive. Oh and it had headlights and wipers, which came on automatically and had many other cool features, including heated front seats, which impressed my passenger.

I have to say it is on my wish list – not a new one, but definitely a second-hand one. Now you’re probably wondering what has test driving a Rav 4 got to do with East Coast Media and journalism? It’s all to do with that word “test drive”.

Before signing up for any degree course, you need to get a feel for what it is you’re going into and signing up for. Ensure that the degree is what you want to do. Do you really want to be a journalist? Where do you see yourself in five years time? Who do you aspire to work for?

Talk to tutors, meet current students and if the institution has an open day, go visit and look round. Do you envisage yourself living there for three years? Do you like the place? Do the staff have industry experience? What type of equipment will you be expected to use? Do you get your hands on the equipment? Some places, students don’t actually get to use equipment or very rarely see it. Ask questions, as many as you can. Find out about the course and what they offer to deliver. If there is a chance to do a “test drive”, ie go on a taster day, then do it. Unless you try, you’ll never know whether it is for you.

You don’t want to end up making an expensive mistake and regretting the choice you made later. So look out for taster days at East Coast Media. I’ve been going into schools and working with A level students on multi-platform journalism “test drives”. I’ll blog about these, so you can see the type of things we do.

Don’t forget for more information on the BA Multi-Platform Journalism degree at East Coast Media contact 01472 315550 or e-mail lingarde@grimsby.ac.uk

The new RAV 4, XTR AWD 2.2D-4D

PS. Here’s the new RAV 4, which I had the opportunity to drive. For more information on the RAV here’s the link http://tinyurl.com/6l4uc2l and for information on Listers at Lincoln http://tinyurl.com/6ho4aob

By the way, just in case you want to know, interesting fact: RAV 4 stands for Recreational Active Vehicle with 4 wheel drive

PPS. I added some extra detail about the vehicle, for those that might, by chance, think this is a motoring blog!

Multi-Platform Journalism team

East Coast Media’s journalism team are industry practitioners, something which is vital to know when deciding what course you wish to take at university.

Programme Leader, Emma Lingard, has worked in journalism for the last 20 years. From newspapers to radio and television to online, she has been there and done it. Alongside running the BA (Hons) Multi-Platform Journalism degree at East Coast Media (GIFHE) she also spends time working in industry as part of continuous professional development. She can be found in the newsroom of the Grimsby Telegraph producing video content for their website, as well as writing articles. Emma is also a keen advocate of social media, especially Twitter (@rosereiki, @eastcoastmedia) and blogging. She was also responsible for helping train the first batch of print journalists into VJs for the Press Association alongside David Dunkley-Gymiah.

She also works on TV programmes,which are broadcast on virginmedia. She recently presented a studio discussion programme called The People’s Jury and has spent the summer covering some of the big events for broadcast later this summer. For many years she fronted a programme about the history of Lincolnshire’s villages called Lingard’s Lincolnshire Rambles and has produced some one-off documentaries, Spotlight on Spurn, To the Manor Reborn.

Also teaching on the degree are Fiona Young, who worked with Emma at the Grimsby Telegraph in the 90s, before moving on to the Press Association. Fiona is our media law tutor. The latest recruits to the team are Ian Barnsley, who came to us from the Lincolnshire Echo and Hugh Riches, who is an ex postgraduate student of ECM and a published journalist. Teaching radio, we have ex-BBC Lincolnshire reporter, Chris Jones and Andy Wilkins delivers our online modules.

We’re always looking for people to add to our teaching list and regularly invite guest lecturers in. In the past we have had people deliver workshops on online writing, video journalism, etc, so get in touch on 01472 315550.

Getting through clearing

It’s that time of year when many youngsters will be awaiting their grades. Will it be enough to get them on to the course of their choice? If not, what will happen and what can they can do about it?

If you haven’t achieved the grades to match the UCAS points for the course, there are various options you can take, so don’t feel it’s the end of the world (I know easy enough for me to say!).

UCAS clearing (http://www.hotcourses.com/clearing-2010/clearing-houses-clearing-help/16180339/news.html) is where you need to go. For those unable to get on their first choice, then clearing offers places on courses who have vacancies.

According to the news release (see link above) there are around 35,000 people every year who go through this system. There is hope for those. Getting on your first choice is competitive, but if it doesn’t happen, know you still have a chance of getting a place.

So once you get to clearing you’ll need to know make a decision about what course you’d like to apply for and where in the country you want to go. If it’s journalism then look no further than East Coast Media. Based at the Grimsby Institute, we are one of 22 Skillset Media Academies in the UK. This is a badge of excellence.

From September 2010 the BA (Hons) Multi-Platform Journalism degree will run. This is exciting, as there are very few programmes in the UK offering this. It has been written with assistance from industry to deliver graduates with the right skills and training.

The world of journalism has changed. Journalists are now expected to take photos, shoot and edit video, create audio packages – not only for traditional platforms but for online. This is bi-media, tri-media, whatever you want to label it and if you want to get a break into journalism, then you need to embrace this now.

At East Coast Media you will get the skills and knowledge to develop. There’ll be opportunities for work placements within the broadcast and newspaper industry. You’ll work alongside industry professionals and create real work for publication/broadcast as opposed to simulations. You’ll be encouraged to be creative and have ideas for 360 degree platforms. Recent students have worked on pilot television programmes with East Coast Pictures, an independent production company led by Julia Thompson,  former Director of Sony Entertainment UK. Those students also had to produce content for online and act as researchers, reporters, etc. It gave them real experience of working on a TV programme.

Tutors on the course are all industry practitioners, so you’re in good hands there and the course has excellent work placement relations with some big companies. You can expect your tutor to get to know you personally, rather than being a face among hundreds. This means that you do get one to one assistance and probably feel more valued.

So if it’s a career in journalism you wish to pursue and you’re passionate about it and motivated to do what you can to go far, then come to East Coast Media.

We will want to talk to you to find out why you want to the course and find out if you have the passion and motivation needed. Remember, ask us questions too. We will interview you and you’ll also have to sit an assessment test on the day and there is a written task to do as well. This thorough application process is to ensure you’re suited for the programme – we don’t just give places out to anyone. We need to know that you are right for the course, as much as we’re right for you. It’s all about quality on both parts.

If you know someone who is in this position and wants to do journalism then tell them about this blog. Follow @eastcoastmedia on Twitter. Maybe we’ll see you soon!

Tips to getting onto a journalism course

Here are some top tips if you’re thinking of applying for a journalism programme. I receive many applications and read through all of them.

Some applications are better than others, but all are invited for interview, as I believe people deserve a chance and it’s a great way to meet them face to face to find out what they’re like and how they respond. Not all, however, get a place on the course and many are rejected for various reasons. For some, it ‘s simply not being able to convey themselves and use English to a high level. Journalism is about writing and being able to tell a story in a variety of ways that actually engages an audience.

You’d be surprised at how many applications I read that are not well written or constructed. Do these people actually read through their work to check for errors and to ensure it flows and reads well?  While I write this blog, I am constantly reading it and re-reading it and changing things. I am never satisfied and take pride in my work. So first tip is to have an idea of what you want to say and construct it so it makes sense. Tip two, check for spelling and grammatical errors. So many applicants use lower case i, instead of I. It’s lazy and sloppy.

Don’t lie on your form. Be honest. You should be demonstrating why you deserve a place on a university programme. Journalism degrees are popular. You will be competing against many people. Look at what you have done while at school or college, which makes you stand out. Have you done work experience at a newspaper or radio station? Have you contributed to a school newspaper? Helped produce a community newsletter? Examples like this show your enthusiasm and passion in the subject. Simply saying you’ve always wanted to be a journalist, without being to able to show some determination, in my opinion, is not good enough. It shows you have commitment and a strong interest in the subject and will stand you out amongst thousands.

Another important thing, is ensure you have the grades to get you on the programme. There is no point in applying to a course that you will not get on to. I have had applicants send in forms and they clearly have not got enough UCAS points. Also ensure that you have met the entry requirements and if it says GSCE English at Grade C or above, don’t apply if you have it at D or not at all. With me these people get a letter recommending what they need to do. Many never come back, as they were not serious about getting on the course in the first place.

Also, if journalism is your subject, then demonstrate you read more than the local newspaper. While the local newspaper is good, demonstrating that you read other papers or magazines shows you take an interest. The same goes for TV and radio. If pressed, could you tell the interviewer why you like one programme or publication above another? Understand what journalism is and find out what a journalist’s role is. So many still come in talking about print journalism. They fail to realise (and this is probably because they’ve never looked) that print journalists use video to produce content for the web. So at least show you have a basic understanding of the career pathway you’re choosing.

These are some of the key issues. The next stage is when you get invited in for an interview and assessment. I’ll save that for another time.

So to recap on my top tips:

Tip 1 – Have an idea of what you want to say and construct it so it makes sense

Tip 2 – Check for spelling and grammatical errors

Tip 3 – Get involved with publications or writing while at school or college

Tip 4 – Ensure you have the grades

Tip 5 – Have a strong interest in journalism

Tip 6 – Understand what journalism is about

For more information on courses at East Coast Media call 01472 315550.

East Coast Media – shameless self promotion!

Well it has to be done! I might as well use my talents as a journalist to promote my own course.

Currently the course at East Coast Media is BA (Hons) Journalism, validated by University of Hull. It predominately is print based, but due to moves in industry to go towards a more multi-media journalist, the course has been rewritten and will hopefully resurface as BA (Hons) Multi-Platform Journalism.

I am currently waiting for the programme to go before the university board to validate it. Fingers crossed for June 24th. Then if approved it will run from September 2010.

The new programme has been developed to produce an all-round journalist; one who can produce copy for print; produce video content for TV and online as well as audio. It will introduce them to concepts of social media and how to use it effectively as a journalist. How to source stories and engage with the audience.

The BBC and the local newspaper, the Grimsby Telegraph, have been asked for advice and read over the content. The Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) has also been instrumental in giving advice and support as to where we need to progress.

It is an exciting time and in preparation for September I have been hitting the social media networks big time. Though youngsters seem to use social media, they probably do not use them for the right reasons – networking, gaining contacts and information, searching for jobs, etc.

The programme will deliver the basic content in teaching undergraduates how to write for different mediums; how to use equipment to a standard; how to produce online material; how to operate as a multi-platform journalist, etc. It is a big undertaking, but one which the team are ready for. If anyone is interested in the course then they need to apply through UCAS, as we are now recruiting for Sept 2010.

We have a very rigorous assessment procedure, which includes an interview and written assessment – grammatical errors test and press release rewrite. Mature applicants are also considered. A big must for the course is that the candidate shows how passionate and enthusiastic they are to be a journalist – not many show this at all! They also need to be interested in news and current affairs – watch the news, not just local but national. Why do you watch it? What makes one news programme more engaging than another? What newspapers do you read? Why? It’s amazing when asked these staple questions, many let themselves down. They only read the local paper because it’s in the house; they watch the local news because it’s already on when they get home. It does not show me your passion for wanting to break into the industry. Maybe I’m really tough and harsh. But, if these processes are not gone through, the ones that don’t show that passion soon drop out.

It has taken me a year to put this course together and consider what future journalists need to know. It is also based on a report published in 2008  by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Just speak to any of our graduates to find out firsthand what they thought of the course – the new one will be much improved.

Contact 01472 315550 if you require further information. But don’t dismiss East Coast Media (which happens to be  a Skillset Media Academy) and Grimsby as being the end of the universe: there is more than meets the eye in this corner of the world.