UCAS 240

Anyone applying for the BA Multi-Platform Journalism programme at University Centre Grimsby needs to have 240 UCAS points or above. Applications will be considered from mature applicants. The main things that tutors are looking for are:

  • Passion for journalism
  • Interest in current affairs
  • Wide reading and viewing of news
  • Interest of things going on around you
  • Motivation and hunger for the subject
  • Some prior media experience
  • Interest in technology
  • Ability to write and communicate

Anyone interested then please contact 01472 311222 and ask for Dawn Beales, HE Administrator.

Top Tips to get on a degree

I wrote this blog nearly a year ago and thought I would revisit it. As term nears its end for many about to go into their final year at comprehensive, thoughts will start to turn to life beyond and university and degrees.

2012 will be an interesting year for many universities as course fees will have risen dramatically.

Here are some top tips if you’re thinking of applying for a journalism programme.

I invite all applicants for an 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, for others it’s because they don;t show any interest or passion for the subject. Some can’t even discuss why they like a particular news programme. Most often an answer is “because it’s on”.

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.

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.

April Fool’s Day stories

It’s interesting to see how people respond to media’s attempts at bringing a smile to people’s faces. April Fool’s stories are a big thing, can the media hoodwink their followers on this day. There were some good stunts out there too.

Year 2 MPJ student, Sam Dent, created one for the Grimsby Telegraph on the Royal couple, Wills and Kate visiting the Pier in Cleethorpes, It attracted 43 comments from GT readers, some were really harsh and negative. My reason for writing this to ask why? At the end of the day it was a bit of light hearted fun on what is traditionally half a day of pranks and antics, all to make people laugh and smile.

Some were hoodwinked by the story and the newsroom received numerous calls from people asking where they could get their tickets and some to offer congratulations on a funny story. I thought it was plausible, why wouldn’t Kate and Wills come to Cleethorpes? They are a modern couple, we’re always being told it’s about being accessible and the Royal family are to be seen amongst us all.

My students were angered by some people’s comments on the site. People who seemed to think it was a lame story and not a good attempt at an April Fool. But what makes a good April Fool? In discussions in the newsroom, the news editor told the students that the story, while having to be believable also had to have an element in it which made people question its reality. I have to say I think there are many real news stories out there, which many question as being not true, when in reality they are 100% true.

At the end of the day it was a light hearted fun story and I don’t really know what these people expected. At the end of the day, the story provoked enough interest for people to comment, even if they didn’t like it, so I ask the question who’s the fool here? Certainly not the paper, they’ve generated further traffic to their website….

PS. It is said that anyone who fails to see the funny side of an April Fool will have bad luck.

News podcasts

The Year 2 Multi-Platform students are currently producing podcasts as part of their newsroom experience. The podcasts are a round-up of the Grimsby Telegraph’s stories for the week. It is intended the first will be aired in the morning and then updated for the afternoon.

The first podcast was produced by Rebecca Fletcher and was uploaded to my audioboo site last week. You can hear it here. Taking it in turns, each week they will source the content and make decisions on running orders and then write the copy, before recording and uploading.

Of course none of them like to hear their own voices! But voicework is something they have been practising. Keep checking out the lingarde audioboo site for more news round-ups and visit Thisisgrimsby for more stories.

Also if you visit my audioboo site, please subscribe and become a follower and even better, you can download the podcasts via itunes.

Students working in the newsroom of the Grimsby Telegraph

Healing Manor – documentary

Healing Manor has been in the news recently. Not the house itself, but what has been going on in the house.

It’s been used for growing cannabis and a raid by Humberside Police to recover the plants, suggests they have a street value of £2 million.

In 2006 I produced a documentary about Healing Manor for Seven (VirginMedia 879). It looked at the history of the house and who had lived there. It’s mentioned in the Domesday Book when Earl Morcar and Earl Sigar are listed as being Lords of the Manor of Healing – suggesting there were two manorial sites.

Healing Manor

The site is a scheduled ancient monument and there are a number of moats. The current house is said to date back to the 1600s and boasts a cellar. The house was lived in by some eminent people including a Dowager Countess Yarborough, who married the Victorian racehorse trainer, John Maunsell Richardson, known to his friends as Maunsell (pronounced Mansell – if you’re a proper Lincolnshire yellowbelly!). Then it was lived in by Gerald Portman, later Viscount Portman, of the London/Dorset family whom Portman Square is named after. Portman married Dorothy Sheffield, daughter of the Sheffield family from Normanby Hall, near Scunthorpe. It was also lived in by one of the hunting clergy, a Rev Cecil Legard.

I spent months researching the history of the building and site and talking to past staff who worked for the Portman and the Bowlby family (daughter of the Viscount). I spent time going through endless books and papers and contacting the current Yarborough and Sheffield families for information. It was months of contacting and chasing people, especially to gain access to the house, as without that the documentary could not happen. It was a shame I had not got there earlier, as by the time we started filming most of the house was a building site and many features had been ripped out.

They always say don’t get close to your subjects, but I did. The house absorbed me and I became very passionate about its history. In fact some rather strange things happened, which if I revealed them you’d think I’d gone bonkers, but I know what I saw and what happened and it wasn’t just to me. I also found the graves of the Portman family in the nearby churchyard and spent one day cutting down and clearing the trees and shrubs which had taken it over, just so I could film it!

The grave of Viscount Portman and his wife in Healing churchyard