NCTJ Gold for Grimsby

Exciting news for Grimsby and the east coast as the Grimsby Institute has been accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) to offer its gold standard Diploma in Journalism course.

The 20-week full time fast track qualification will prepare any aspiring journalists for the demands of a fast-changing multimedia industry.

In the 21st century journalism has converged with journalists being expected to have the skills required to work across all platforms. Traditional broadcast and web skills are also needed by print journalists.

The course we offer will equip future journalists with the skills they need to be an effective reporter. You will learn shorthand, law and how government works all within the demands of a working newsroom.

With an NCTJ certificate on your CV, a prospective employer knows you have grasped the basics.

To gain entry on this course you will need to demonstrate an interest in current affairs at all levels; have 
a lively interest in people, places and events; 

good spelling, grammar and punctuation; a willingness to accept irregular working hours; 
an ability to work under pressure to meet deadlines
 and determination and persistence.

A Journalism Diversity Fund has been set up by those in the industry who want to support the training of journalists from socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

This industry fund is aimed at people without the financial means to attend NCTJ training courses. Applicants will need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to journalism and the potential to succeed.

The fund can help financially by paying course fees and living expenses, as well as providing a mentor, and helping to find work experience. To find out more about the fund and whether you would be eligible check out the website www.journalismdiversityfund.co.uk and to download an application form.

To apply for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism you need to download an application form from the NCTJ website – www.nctj.comImageApplication forms must be returned to the NCTJ as soon as possible or at least six weeks before the start of the course.

If invited for an interview, you will be required to take a written test, based on current affairs knowledge, to test your English skills and writing ability.

You will also need to demonstrate a keen interest in working as a journalist by having undertaken work experience placement at a news organisation.

On finishing this qualification, if successful in getting a job on a newspaper as a junior then you can work towards getting your senior.

All learning will take place in our newsroom within the new University Centre. Candidates will have access to the latest TV and radio equipment.

This is certainly an exciting opportunity for anyone wishing to become a journalist and is a great way to break into the industry.

Industry Partnership – Grimsby Telegraph

As some of you may know Year 2 students on the BA Multi-Platform Journalism degree at East Coast Media have been spending a day and a half a week in the newsroom at the Grimsby Telegraph producing content for the web.

It’s been a steep learning curve, going from sitting in class practicing and learning theory to being thrown into a REAL newsroom and expecting to go out in the area and find stories. Some have achieved a lot, while others are taking their time. I’m meeting News Editor, Lucy Wood, next week to discuss what’s worked and what will be done differently this semester. I will post you the verdict!

I think one of the big things for many is confidence. There seems to be a lack of it, in their ability to be able to do things, such as pick up the phone and talk to people or go into a shop and start chatting to strangers about what’s happening. They need encouragement and praise. It’s about nurturing them and making them believe in themselves and their ability to do the work. I have every faith in them and know they are capable, they need to believe it and trust in me! I wouldn’t ask them to do it, if I didn’t think they were capable.

Look out next week for an interview with Lucy Wood and I’ll post an interview with my students too about their experience.

Industry Partnerships

Students at East Coast Media are fortunate that the department has good industry contacts. Over the years journalism students have done work placements at BBC Hull and the Grimsby Telegraph on a regular basis.

The partnership with the local newspaper has now gone one step further. Final year students have always gone in for two to three weeks as part of one of their modules, but for the first time second year students are going in, but they are working in the newsroom for a day and a half for a year.

The reason for this is for them to gain hands-on practical experience of life in a newsroom. To work alongside the professionals and get to understand how the newsroom operates. The students are working as patch reporters. In small groups they have been given three patches. It gives them the confidence and the experience to go and talk to people and find stories at grass roots level and it gives the newsroom extra pairs of hands. And if lucky, their stories will be published, not only in the paper but also online.

The module they are being assessed on is called Multi-Platform Newsroom, so the students have to find stories and then translate them into different formats – online copy, photos, video and audio. They already have a website that they have been working on since October to showcase their work and talents for assessment purposes http://nelincolnshirenews.webs.com/ Any work gathered for the newspaper will be published there first before going on to this site.

This is exciting for all concerned and while some out there may grumble about “working for free”, this is the only way these students are going to be able to get the practical, hands-on experience. It is not just about sitting in the lecture theatre reading books and taking notes. It is about getting into the real world and for someone to let go of your hand and push you forwards.

Their first half day was spent in two groups walking down the length of Freeman Street (once the grand entrance to the fish docks and sadly now a run-down area) talking to traders and shoppers for the sole purpose of making contacts, getting a feel for the place and finding stories.

Somehow the groups had split into male/female. The latter, I have to say, found five stories, while the boys found three. The competitive streak was very evident! They were sent out with notebooks and pads and had 1.5 hours to uncover things. The News Editor, Lucy Wood, already knew of three big stories down there and wanted to see if the groups would come across them (I have to say they did uncover two of them).

I followed the groups to see how they were performing and to prompt when necessary. The boys I lost in Foresight, but I managed to catch up with the girls who were in and out of shops introducing themselves. I had to give one or two prompts with interview techniques, but it probably did not help having your tutor breathing down your neck or knowing she’s hiding in the shop listening to you.

Everyone they met was friendly and approachable, which I think surprised some of them. They’ve made their first contacts and many traders invited them to come back and speak to them next week. Those first tentative outings will form lasting contacts (hopefully).

Then it was back to the newsroom and the story writing process began. They also started to think about pictures to accompany their pieces and how they would cover it for a podcast and video. Deadlines are real and there’s no hoping the story will disappear if you’ve forgotten to ask someone their name – they’ve realised that one. “Phone them up” I’m saying.

I’ll keep you updated on this experience and you can follow their antics on twitter @rosereiki or @eastcoastmedia. We’re lucky that the News Editor is very enthusiastic about this project and she’s also very keen to enhance the opportunities online with audio and video content.

#pickthetick

S

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.