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 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.


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

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 and for information on Listers at Lincoln

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 ( 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!

Video Journalism: are two heads better than one? (via Adam Westbrook)

Came across this post during my research into social media and blogging. For all (aspiring) journalists, you should read Adam’s posts. This one I found especially interesting, seeing it is an area I am involved in myself. I have worked as a VJ, as well as with crews as a journalist and producer/director. There’s a time and a place for everything, all depends on the situation.
Well worth a read!

Video Journalism has become intrinsically connected with terms like Solo VJ, One Man Band and Backpack Journalist. A video journalist, as we understand, works alone, exploiting the benefits of being light on the feet: a small, nimble unit. With more photojournalists experimenting with video, this idea of the VJ as a solo-worker is being accentuated. But what if this isn’t the best way? A cinematographer friend of mine got me thinking about this l … Read More

via Adam Westbrook