Sunday, June 6, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
- Numeracy to allow better use of freely available data
- Technology to allow journalists to control the means of digital production
- Enterprise skills to help find ways of making journalism pay
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
TRAINEE reporters on the Newcastle Press Association course have been wearing out their shoe leather on the election beat.
Eight intrepid volunteers blitzed the marginal seat of
Eight intrepid volunteers blitzed the marginal seat of
In a mammoth effort the group carried out a straw poll of 900 people in a day.
It looked like the vox pop from hell but they were determined not to be beaten. Each trainee had a target of 100 people to stop and ask two questions of. Every one of them hit their target and two or three went well beyond it.
Pollster supreme Tom Bristow brought back 180 responses.
The survey was carried our on behalf of The Journal which published the responses on Saturday.
One of the trainees on the course missed out on the chance to meet everyone in
Morgan was doing a video of Eddie in a coffee house while the rest of the team were putting in the hard miles. But that’s showbiz. (PJ)
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Sir Michael Parkinson, who started on a local newspaper when he was 16, has said he feels sorry for young people entering journalism today.
Sir Michael, presenting the National Association of Press Agencies awards in London last night, said: "I look back on 60 years now as a hack with great pleasure and great fondness because it was a very rich and different time for journalists.
"Today I feel sorry for the younger generation, not in a patronising way, but because we all know about how this industry has changed for the worst, with fewer papers and fewer opportunities." Nice piece by Jon Slattery on Parkinson's views.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Trainee Jack Maidment has scooped his fellow delegates on our Newcastle foundation course by landing the first splash story of the 17-week programme.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
As raiders tried to relieve a local jewellery shop of its goods, citizen journalists sprang into action taking pics and tweeting from their mobile phones.
The Uckfield News records how reports of the raid started appearing in the Twittersphere within minutes, while traditional media lagged behind in reporting what was an important story for the area.
Key learning point for pro journalists? When stories break, updates and first hand accounts will probably be on Twitter first and knowing how to use hash tags to find the info and following the right people is now a key piece of underpinning knowledge.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Good luck to all the nominees in the annual British Press Awards on Tuesday evening.We have three entrants in the Young Journalist of the Year Category and two nominated for the Showbiz Reporter of the Year award.
Potential young journalist recipients are:
Ex Newcastle foundation course delegates Guy Basnett, now with the News of The World who was a trainee with the Chester Chronicle when he was with us, before he moved to The Journal, Newcastle.
Andrew Gregory, The Daily Mirror, is also nominated. He was a Mirror graduate trainee who took our 16-week course.
And Jon Swaine, Daily Telegraph, was in the first intake of Telegraph trainees who took the training course we ran for the Telegraph three years ago in Howden, East Yorkshire.
The entrants in the Showbiz Reporter of the Year award are Fiona Cummins, Daily Mirror, who was also a Mirror graduate trainee and Sarah Tetteh, Daily Mirror, who was sponsored through the Newcastle course by Trinity Mirror South. The awards ceremony takes place at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, London. Walter Greenwood, former co-editor of Essential Law for Journalists, is to receive a lifetime achievement award at the same event. Despite being in his 80s, Walter still marks law papers for us in Newcastle. We are delighted his huge efforts in guiding journalists through the legal pitfalls are being honoured in this way.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
The awarding body’s board granted the award after an industry panel undertook a full assessment of the proposal for the new programme.
Securing accreditation was crucial before we could launch on August 30.
It means delegates will study for the full NCTJ syllabus and sit NCTJ preliminary exams as part of the course.
Our trainers have worked with them on our Newcastle course for a number of years and we are very pleased that the board recognised the strength of our proposal. It is quite unusual for them to accredit courses before they launch so this is a a clear indicator of the faith they have in us to deliver.
The panel remarked on the highly practical learning environment, its close link to the real world of journalism and most importantly, the fantastic track record of trainees securing jobs in the sector.
So we are now able to go full steam ahead for the launch. There is plenty still to do but this is a big hurdle out of the way.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Apple has now said the iPad should be over here by the end of April. The rumoured price is £499. Exciting times ... but what will it really mean for journalists? A lot more work? Another platform that they will need to learn? It will be particularly interesting to see how the regionals respond. As Peter Preston said in The Observer: "
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
That night, NBC’s Brian Williams told a black tie dinner in Washington, DC, that his network’s Justice correspondent, Pete Williams, had knocked the entire story down in about seven minutes. “Let’s just call it ‘primary sourcing,’” Williams said.
Monday, March 8, 2010
We are offering a series of free training masterclasses live on the web. The first of the 20-minute seminars will be How To Redesign A Newspaper. Peter Sands will talk through the redesign process, identify pitfalls, show examples and take questions. It will be live on the web, using Livestream Technology, at 1pm on Friday March 19. You can watch the seminar from your office or even from home but places are restricted to 50. If you would like to book a place contact Head of Press Association Training, Tony Johnston, on firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Surprisingly, only two of the 14 used Twitter, one still used My Space and two, from China were active on a Chinese social networking site.
When I asked who used Facebook, all 14 hands shot up.
On that basis, it's about time that we had our own presence on there so today we have gone live with a Facebook page for our Foundation courses in London and Newcastle.
Hopefully it will become a network for past trainees to keep in touch. We love to hear about their various successes.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
In our web training courses, we spend time drawing things to imagine how they might display on a web page.
We do it for a number of reasons; it stimulates creative thinking, sparks debate and highlights some of the gaps in expertise that will have to be filled if newspapers are to survive.
A simple example of this different way of thinking comes from The Times map display of their hotel reviews. It's not big or clever, but it works. How many newspaper journalists do you know who could take the original content from the archives, design, build and then publish them in this form? And what does it say about the skills we have in the newsroom?
I had a conversation recently with a news editor about a great bit of web content. I complimented him and his team for a great bit of work. "Nothing to do with me mate," he replied. "Our web editor got it from a local blogger." Nuff said.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The identity of 15-year-old Kyle Farrell, who pushed another youngster off a 20ft high sea wall leaving him with life-threatening injuries, would have remained anonymous but for the intervention of Hull Daily Mail reporter Claudia.
Claudia handed a note to the legal clerk at Bridlington Magistrates Court after Farrell was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm to a 14-year-old boy by pushing him off the sea wall in Bridlington.
At the time of the incident, the teenagers were with a group of around 20 youngsters who were tombstoning – a controversial pastime which involves jumping from large heights into the sea.
Claudia's note highlighted the fact that the victim, who landed on concrete steps after being pushed, could have died from his injuries which included a broken neck, fractured skull, a bleed on the brain and a punctured lung,
She argued that the order under Section 39 of the Children and Young Persons Act banning Farrell from being identified should be lifted as the case was a matter of public interest. She also cited the general principle of open justice with appropriate case law to back it up.
Claudia said: "I was ready to argue that Farrell had committed a serious offence and I had also been told by the detective in charge of the case that the boy's mother was very upset and wanted justice to be done, which could be argued involves naming and shaming the offender.
"But the judge asked no further questions and quite quickly decided that it was a serious enough case to warrant the naming of Farrell."
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Our Newcastle course has been in existence for 41 years and will continue to run twice per year.
The London course will be a mirror image and provide a route into journalism for those who prefer to train in the south east.
It will be based in the Press Association training centre which is just one floor below the main PA newsroom offering those attending the course a unique opportunity to learn new skills at the heart of a major international media business.
This new course is a great addition to our portfolio and we look forward to welcoming the first cohort on August 30th this year.
We hope to be able to annouce the course's accrediation by the NCTJ shortly,
For more information see www.becomeareporter.co.uk TJ
Monday, February 15, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
A TERRIBLE mix-up has left a city Premiership football club “red faced” and a newspaper denying all knowledge after the wrong pop star didn't play at a school in Liverpool. Following the success of American folk legend James Taylor's circus workshop at St Sebastian's primary school, Edge Lane, last month, and womanising champion golfer Sam Taylor Wood's appearance at a film premiere here last November, education bosses were “keen” to celebrate being the most improved council in the county with a series of low key cultural concerts in city schools.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
There are probably three things that distinguish a blog from a website:
1. Personality - blogs are personal. They can be instructive, educational, entertaining, useful, annoying or (often) pointless, they belong to somebody and are a reflection of who they are. Perez Hilton's celebrity blog is a case in point.
2. Interactivity - some blogs are conversational. Some are controversial. Some are funny or sad, and some, like The Pencil Sharpener are a source of information, expertise, entertainment and discussion. Even The Drudge report which at first glance looks like a random collection of links, relies heavily on involvement from visitors who suggest relevant articles for posting on the site.
3. Navigation - Blog posts are displayed chronologically, with the newest item first. Until recently this, the use of tags or labels, and an archive feature were usually all the tools you were offered to find your way around.
Peter Sands, fellow Pencil Sharpener blogger, has brought to my attention the new 'pages' gadget on Blogger. We can (and will) now add some extra navigation to specific pages or themes. Is this the beginning of the end of the static, stand alone website as we know it?
Friday, February 5, 2010
... from the Daily Trust http://www.news.dailytrust.com who have spent two weeks at our offices in London. They have learned everything from the subbing masterclass and the editor's chair courses with Peter Sands, Jonathan Grun, Tony Johnston and Andy Drinkwater and we have learned a huge amount about Nigerian newspapers and culture. They fly back tomorrow to 35 degrees and a group that believes first and foremost that good journalism sells newspapers. Good luck to them.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
The PG had drawn up a strong list of commentators
The Grey Cardigan (Press Gazette) - compulsory reading for all journalists. Sums up the industry in a way that others fear to tread.
Charles Sale (Daily Mail Sport) - continually breaks stories that would make the back page. Needs a bigger show.
Lucy Kellaway (FT) - does a first class job lampooning the excesses of management-speak.
If there are any other notables missing from the list let us know and we will give them a mention.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Most of our early courses focused on equipping writers with the ability to use a video camera. The thinking was that photographers were too busy capturing stills to think video and carrying more kit just wasn’t practical.
Slowly, over time, though, more and more photographers came on our courses. What they lacked in video know-how they made up for in the ability to spot was works visually and what doesn’t.
I’ve just had a chance to see first hand a camera that will probably have all stills photographers now being asked to shoot video drooling with delight.
The Canon EOS 7D looks like a digital SLR, feels like a digital SLR, takes the highest quality still photos like the best digital SLRs and just happens to shoot broadcast quality video too.
Some of the results being achieved are quite stunning and to switch from shooting still to video all you do is flick one switch.
It does have some downsides which those used to more traditional video cameras won’t like.
The audio options are limited and the viewing screen you have to use when using the video option is embedded in the back of the camera and will be hard to see in bright sunlight. It’s heavy too and you’ll probably need to use a tripod all the time.
But photographers used to the look and feel of a traditional camera body will love it, and it will mean them carrying just one piece of kit not two if they are asked to shoot both still and moving pics.
Our video trainer, Christina Fox, a broadcast cameraman never more than a few feet from a Sony Z5 or V1 was so impressed she bought one. Praise indeed. Read her full review here.
There is still strong demand for traditional skills, news writing, story-gathering and subbing for journalists; while the PR and communications industry is still keen to learn about the basics of sending a press release or planning a campaign.
New research would seem to indicate that the media is in a similar quandary in terms of what skills they want from their recruits. An American publication that goes by the splendid name of Journalism & Mass Communication Educator has just completed a study into what 'traditional' and 'non-traditional' media employers want. These two excerpts would seem to suggest that a much broader range of skills is now required to carve out a successful media career. In between the Americanese there are some useful insights:
Traditional news media were still most interested in hiring new employees with nontechnical routine expertise,” such as solid writing skills, working under deadline, editing, teamwork and communication skills, and Associated Press Style. About equally, however, they also were seeking employees with “technical routine expertise,” such as content posting and management, image editing, blogging, video editing, and social media knowledge....and in 'non-traditional' news media?
Nontraditional online news media were as interested in nontechnical routine expertise as traditional news media, but less interested in routine technical expertise (perhaps because they assumed new employees already had such skills or that they could be easily taught). Instead, nontraditional online news media were significantly more interested in hiring employees with adaptive expertise, such as knowledge outside journalism/mass communication, creativity, independent and critical thinking, leadership, and problem-solving abilities.
This would all suggest what we've been saying at Press Association Training for some time now, that the journalist of the future will need to have a much broader range of skills and more importantly a much better grasp of how the world is changing around them.
Monday, February 1, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
The 'paid-for content' debate is on the agenda again with the iPad launch. The New York Times has announced that next year it will resurrect its paywall. Its last one came down in 2007. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette launched its 'members only' website for $36 (£22.50) a year last August. So, 1,000 subscribers just about pays for a trainee reporter. It is made up entirely of content not to be found in the newspaper ... meaning someone has to gather it. Meanwhile Tindle Newspapers, Johnston Press and, of course, Rupert Murdoch are plotting their own paid-content strategies. And adding fuel to the debate this month is a Harris Poll that says 77% of adults wouldn't pay anything to read newspaper stories on the web. And those who would pay, wouldn't pay much.
No surprise. We recently went through a newspaper and marked up every item that the management team thought people would be prepared to pay for online. The paper remained unsullied. The conclusion was that for anyone to pay online for content it would have to be unique, interesting and genuinely valuable - and that would require big investment and innovation in editorial. Then there was the discussion about how long the content would stay unique once up there. This particular paper has gone back to the drawing board. We suspect they won't be alone.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Harold Evans's autobiography Paper Chase is a real walk down memory lane, a compelling piece of social history and a timely reminder of newspapers and journalism at their most colourful. But what is striking is how much is still relevant. It should be compulsory reading for all regional paper journalists.
On headlines: My first edict as editor (on The Northern Echo); place names are to be dropped from headlines. The editor's memo explained the main effect of place names was to deter the circle of readers who didn't live there, ie, the vast majority.
On photographs: I had developed a toothache looking at the pictures in the paper. There were innumerable small 'grip and grin' photographs of retirement ceremonies, flower shows, well-equipped bulls, empty buildings, councillors on rostrums. I couldn't believe they represented the changing dramas and personalities in the region ...
On typography: I am addicted to print. An addiction to print means you get your fix by looking at the shapes of letters in type even when the words don't make any sense. I savour the design of letters, the ascenders piercing the skyline, the fugues created by the descenders. Today I waste emotional energy nursing grievances about the migraine-inducing type on medicine bottles and the ridiculously emaciated compressed capital letters of credits on DVD boxes. What are they trying to hide?
The book is a reminder of why so many journalists were inspired by the man ... and why editors voted him the best UK editor of all time. The cover price is £25 but Amazon have it for sale for £13.78. My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times. An autobiography by Harold Evans.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Here are some of our favourite typography quotes to remind us that choosing the right font and using it properly is as important today as it ever was.
"There are now about as many different varieties of letters as there are different kinds of fools." Eric Gill.
"People who love ideas must have a love of words, and that means, given a chance, they take a vivid interest in the clothes which words wear." Beatrice Warde.
No matter how great the author's wisdom or how vital the message, unread print is merely a lot of
paper and a little ink. Herbert Spencer.
Last year we ran a typography workshop for Sony and in the process were delighted to discover these iPod apps.
Kern (59p) - you have to position a falling letter into the right place in a word.
WhatTheFont (free) - use the iPhone camera to take a picture of a font and this app will identify it.
The Font Game (59p) - how many of the fonts can you identify? Pretty difficult stuff.
The latter is provided by an excellent typography website http://ilovetypography.com. A must visit.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Firemen were called to extinguish a blaze in Old Compton Street last night...
Clad only in her scanties, a blonde, 22-years-old night-club hostess climbed along a 30ft parapet in a Soho fire last night to rescue her pet cat Timothy.And there you have it: Sex, sensation, pets and heroism.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
We used to give the Framley Examiner book away on our foundation courses to the winners of our media quiz - Who Wants To Be The Owner Of The Framley Examiner. Nice to see the publication has posted some new pages . Not for the faint-hearted though - it regularly gets very close to home. Don't you just love the typography...
Getting live coverage from the scene was a real problem for the broadcasters as power lines and phone links were cut.
The very first pictures started to appear on Twitter though around 11pm and I immediately started looking for anything from Haiti on http://www.picfog.com/ which is a great aggregator of real time images.
It took about 30 minutes then for these same pictures to be picked up and broadcast by the rolling news programmes. The first photographer to post was @CarelPedre
Sky News was the first UK broadcaster I saw to make a direct appeal to Tweeters to send them any updates directly.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Nothing is sacred on the web - as David Cameron is finding out. Check this out