Thursday, 30 September 2010

How to get the interview, how to get the job

Gary Wright, group editor at KoS Media, has this advice on what will persaude an editor to shortlist you.
In a word: evidence. Evidence that you are keen on the career, so cuttings and work experience are essential.
So now you've got the interview, how do you ensure you are the successful candidate?

Haymarket's group editorial training manager Jess McAree has this advice for how to succeed at interview:
Above all show desperate desire and enthusiasm, show that you are tough; tough enough to work long hours, take criticism when you have underperformed, show that you’ll stick at it even when it isn’t going well. That’s what they are looking for at interview.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Careers masterclass: What entrepreneurial journalism is all about

Pioneering multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook believes that, instead of having one full-time job, the modern-day journalist is likely to work at a combination of activities, some that pay (hopefully at least one that pays well), others that are done for free.

Adam's portfolio looks like this:
  • Teaching video journalism at Kingston University
  • Video journalist for agencies and sites online sites such as VJ Movement
  • Print journalism for clients including The Big Issue
  • Blogging
  • Selling information products, including e-books
You'll find much more about entrepreneurialism, and the full picture on journalism careers, at

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

How to get a job on FourFourTwo or Autosport

How to get a job on FourFourTwo

You'll find a good deal more about FourFourtwo here

How to get a job on Autosport

For more about Autosport, go here

Essential multimedia skills to get your 1st job in magazines

Jess McAree, group editorial training manager at Haymarket says: “Knowledge of multimedia, including video, is not essential today but it’s very desirable. Two or three years down the line it will be a requirement.
“In your training learn as much as you possibly can about all of the multimedia and publishing on the web.
“It’s not essential to know about coding but it is desirable. The journalist as coder is not here yet but some are looking to that.
"As a bare minimum you need to know basic htlm tags."
For the full video masterclass on finding your first job in journalsim, go to

Monday, 27 September 2010

NCTJ/PTC What do the editors think?

What course should you take?

Which accrediting body is the best: the newspaper-focused National Council for the Training of Journalists, NCTJ, the magazine-focused Periodical Training Council, PTC, or the Broadcast Journalism Training Council,  BJTC?
What length and level of journalism course: undergrad, postgrad, fast track? Which should it be?
In magazines, says Jess McAree, group editorial training manager for haymarket, they favour the PTC, but  “I personally when I’ve recruited people have never really looked at their qualifications… I’ve always wanted people who were mustard keen.”

What course should you do?

If you want to begin your career on local newspapers, what qualifications do you need? The obvious answer is an NCTJ pre-entry course, but industry experts such as Gary Wright, group editor of KoS Media, say that this lacks certain vital areas of expertise.
So if you take the NCTJ's preliminary qualifications as part of a university course - whether its at undergraduate or postgraduate level - make sure you also get a solid grounding in the web, video and audio, in addition to what the NCTJ requires you to know to pass its exams.

Friday, 24 September 2010

How not to get a job in journalism: application and interview errors analysed

A friend of mine has been interviewing applicants for a reporter’s post.
The ideal candidate would have two or three years experience on a newspaper or B2B magazine, but an impressive recent graduate of a practical journalism course would also be in with a good chance.

I’m not going to name the publication or identify any of the applicants. Suffice it to say that many dozens applied, and almost all of them could be rejected out of hand – because they made one of a shortlist of fundamental errors in their application.

So what I’m going to do here is analyse where the unsuccessful candidates went wrong. This is a case study in how not to get a job. Read the full post here:

Stealth writing: A secret source of income for freelances

Stealth writing is a phrase David Howell has invented to cover all the lucrative freelance writing that is not credited.

In the clip he gives the example of Business Link, a site which has thousands of pages of content, with not a byline to be seen. He writes that content.
He says: “It’s me but no one knows it’s me, and there is tons of stuff that sits under the high profile stuff. If you can find that work there’s a ton of it.
To get it, pick some markets, call and ask where they source their information from. It’s often a third party content provider, and if so you need to find out which, and approach them.
Apply the same skills that you would to getting a story to building your business: research, knock on doors: “People ask me what’s the most important skill doing this, it’s research frankly.
“The other key skill is you need to develop a selling gene, that idea that you aren’t selling something if you’re a journalist is rubbish, because you are.
More from David here

How to get your first job at the BBC

Alex Gerlis, Head of Training, BBC College of Journalism, on what you need to know to get a job at the BBC.
“I'm often asked at universities how can I get a job at the BBC, and what is a BBC job interview panel – a board – looking for, so I came up with this acronym: TRICK.
T stands for truth because you quite want people to tell you the truth, it's a surpise that sometimes people aren’t terribly frank.
R is for resiliance, which is absolutely critical
I is for ideas, you want people to come up with ideas, and ideas about how to cover them. I remember doing a whole series of interviews at the time of the last fire-fighters’ strike and you say, on day 23 or whatever, how would you cover it? And after you’ve heard the 22nd person say well we’d follow a fire-fighter and their family you are looking for someone – because there will be people out there – who have something just a little bit different because they’ve thought about it and they come up with something that’s original because that’s important.
“C is curiosity.
“K is knowledge. Sometimes on BBC boards we do general knowledge questionnaires and its no good having people say…’I think its really unfair to ask who won the recent heavyweight fight because I’m not interested in sport’, it’s having a good knowledge and also a thirst for knowledge.

Alex was speaking at the NCTJ's Journalism Skills Conference:

Find out more about careers in journalism at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide,

How to get your first job in newspapers

Some newspaper groups get multimedia in a really significant way. Many don't.

One that does is KoS Media in Kent. It runs a series of free local newspapers with accompanying websites, plus an online TV channel.
It's completely open to readers to add their own videos, and many do. In short, if you wanted to get your first job at a forward-looking newspaper group that appreciated your multmedia skills, then KoS would probably be on your shortlist.
Gary Wright is KoS Media's group editor, and in the clips and quotes here he gives an insight into the sort of graduate who might get their first job on one of his titles.

How to get your first job on magazines: Tip 1, Just Do It!

Demonstrate you are serious about becoming a journalist by publishing yourself online: “People who come to us now and say well I don’t really do anything online, we would definitely think that person’s not going to be any good to us.”
This is one of many tips from Jess McAree, group editorial training manager at Haymarket. You'll find loads more advice from Jess at

Journalism students: there are plenty of jobs for you. Maybe

Could it possibly be true that there are plenty of journalism jobs to go around?

I’d understand if you dismissed that question out of hand. Having been told just how tough it is to get into journalism – tougher than ever what with the recession and the slump in advertising – how could it be easy to get a job?

Actually, I’m not saying it will be easy. It won’t. But that’s not the same as the doom-mongers’ assertion that there are far too many students studying journalism.
I’ve tried to calculate the number of journalism jobs available each year for new recruits, and the numbers of journalism graduates there are, to see what the supply-demand equation looks like.
It’s by no means straightforward.
  • No-one seems to keep figures of how many jobs are available each year.
  • Even the numbers studying journalism are contested.
  • It’s not even possible to say with complete confidence how many journalists there are in total.
So I’ve done my best. You can see my figures, and how I arrived at them, by reading on here.

Four easy ways to track your Twitter unfollows

One flaw with Twitter: it tells you when people follow you, but not when they unfollow you.

Unfollows can be a useful gauge of your twitter performance, particularly if you get a rush of them after a particular tweet.

There are various services that analyse your Twitter account to identify those you follow but who don’t/no longer follow you.

Here’s a top list, as recommended by the members of the Twitter Strategies group on Linked In.

Brings up a clearn interface with your follows and their pix, with a green 'you follow' flash and a red 'they follow you' one, so non-reciprocals are clear. As are those who follow you but you don’t follow back. There’s a button to unfolow/follow on each entry.

Wasn’t working when I tried it, but here’s a quote from TechCrunch they use on their home page: "ManageFlitter is easily the best... It's a must-use." - TechCrunch

UseQwitter sends you a summary email at least once a day informing you of those who have stopped following you on Twitter.

They say: “SocialToo helps you manage Twitter and Facebook and unclutters your stream and Social Graph so you can focus on what's most important - relationships!

Video Masterclass 13: How to get your first job in journalism

This masterclass aims to help you decide which branch of the media interests you the most.

And to guide you in ensuring you have the qualifications and experience an editor in your chosen field will be looking for.

You'll find:
  • a wide range of video interviews with journalists, editors and other key industry figures
  • essential information on the paper qualifications you'll need
  • the work experience you are expected to have, and
  • the other demonstrations of ability that an editor will expect.
As well as general advice applicable to all, you'll find material that relates specifically to:
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • broadcasting
Find out more at:

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Welcome to the many recent subscribers to Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide

Hopefully, as you take a look around the site and flip through the accompanying textbook, things are making some sort of sense.

The About the Course section should give you some pointers as to how things are organised, and what to expect.

You'll find info here on how to keep in touch: through Twitter, the blog, Facebook, email bulletins and on your mobile.

The Masterclasses section is also worth an early look. That's the place where we try to tackle new developments in multimedia journalism, and deal with the looming question of employment.

You'll find a new section there from September 24 which is about getting your first job in journalism. If you've only just started your course you might think it's a bit early for that. But it's not. There is loads you can do to make yourself truly employable. You could start today. Even if it is Fresher's Week.

If after all that you haven't found the information you need, then please get in touch. Use one of the Add New Comment buttons you'll see on any page of the site. It's worth it because, unlike with your ISP or mobile phone provider, your call actually is important to us. 

Your questions, comments, observations and moans will help us to make MMJ what it is intended to be: a really valuable guide to multimedia journalism, and a community of mutually supportive journalists, industry figures and journalism students.

Monday, 13 September 2010

MMJ: The new 2010-11 season of Masterclasses

What's new at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide.

Masterclasses kick off again at on September 24.

Here's the list of planned topics for the 2010-11 academic year, but there will probably be adjustments as we go along.
If there are topics you'd like to see added, please get in touch

September 2010
Masterclass 13: Careers in journalism, an overview and update
What's right for you: consumer magazines, business mags, TV, radio, local papers, hyperlocal, or self-employment?

We're all multimedia journalists now, but the simple truth is that the people handing out the jobs are still - predominantly - operating in one of the traditional media categories. We'll look at how to pick the area that best suits you, and how to demonstrate in your application, and at interview, how good you'll be at enhancing the multimedia capabilities of anyone who gives you a job.

We'll also cover working as a freelance, and the opportunities that developments in hyperlocal are opening up.

Going live from: September 24

October 2010
Masterclass 14: iPhone for Journalists
Smartphones are a highly convenient way for the multimedia journalist to publish instantly

We'll look at how to turn your iPhone into a fully-enabled multimedia reporting device, so you can file text, stills, video and audio instantly to a custom-made blog, to a mobile-enabled multimedia site, and any combination you like of Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and a huge range of other platforms.

We're concentrating on the iPhone, but what we cover is also applicable to other smartphones.

Going live: October 16

Masterclass 15: It's the law, so why don't we follow it?
Media law textbooks are very clear about the letter of the law, but what journalists do often differs from it in practice

If you wonder why what is written and broadcast seems out of step with what the law says journalists should do, this Masterclass is for you. A legal expert explains how, and why, the law is interpreted in real journalistic life.

Going live: October 30

November 2010
Masterclass 16: How to pass the NCTJ's new Newswriting Diploma exam
A guide to what examiners are looking for, and a sure-fire approach to the exam

We'll cover the golden rules you need to follow to convince NCTJ markers that you are a safe pair of hands, hear from those with enviable records in getting student journalists through the exam, and offer a step-by-step approach to the exam that will maximise your marks.

Going live: November 13
Masterclass 17: A new struture for online, multimedia story-telling
Has the traditional inverted triangle/pyramid had it's day?

With multimedia content, combining material from other sources and linking, the simple story structure journalists have been taught for generations needs some refining. We'll look at some models for adapting structure that are being devleoped by a range of multimedia practitioners and assess their value.

Going live: November 27

December 2010
Masterclass 18: HTML, what you need to know
You don't have to be an expert coder, but you do need the understand the basics

An introduction to what html is, what it does, and how. We'll conduct a seminar in basic, essential html with demonstrations of how you are likely to need to use it.

Going live: December 11
January 2011
Masterclass 19: Long-form journalism, topic areas and beat blogs
How to make your website a valuable resource and attract loyal users.

We've concentrated a good deal in these masterclasses on how to reach out to new audiences with the effective use of a wide range of social media. The goal was always to draw readers who appreciate what you are doing back to your branded website and print publication.

Now we look at how to make that website as effective as it can be at turning casual visitors into committed and regular consumers of our content.

Going live: January 22
February 2011
Masterclass 20: NCTJ Multimedia Portfolio
What the examiners are looking for in your multi-platform news and features

Going live: February 12

Masterclass 21: Curating user-generated content
How to cover a major story by blending your own material with that from other professional and citizen journalists

Going live: February 26

March 2011
Masterclass 20: Hyperlocal reporting and geotagging
Industry experts with the latest guidance

Going live: March 12

Masterclass 21: Travel writing
An experienced travel writer on how to do it right

Going live: March 26

April 2011
Masterclass 22: Email bulletins
How to turn an RSS feed into a bulletin, and add your Twitter feed to it

You don't have to create each email bulletin from scratch anymore. We look at how the process can be automated, and how a bulletin can be linked with blogs, Twitter and other social networks to form a coherent broadcasting and marketing strategy.

Going live: April 9

Masterclass 23: Social media update
What platforms you should be using now – and how

Going live: April 23

May 2011
Masterclass 24: Features writing
Analysing how the very best features writers do it

Going live: May 7

Masterclass 25: The jobs market
Industry experts on where the opportunities lie right now

Going live: May 21

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Sir: A Times subscriber wishes to object in the strongest possible terms

I subscribed to The Times because I get the paper every day anyway and wanted to see what the added online access and Times+ offering would do for me.

And, as the Times is bravely experimenting with paywalls, and I have a paywall around my MMJ project, I wanted to see what could I learn, and to find out what  the user experience was like.

So? Well, here’s the key thing.

These days I do as much work as I can on my iPhone. It seems to me pretty obvious that mobile is the way things are going, partly because it makes working so surreptitious you can do it on a mobile device without others suspecting you’re slaving away when you should be relaxing.

So when I find a site that doesn’t have a mobile phone version, I’m frustrated.

And the Times doesn’t have a mobile phone version. So, despite being a subscriber, I can’t see it on my iPhone. That’s such a major miss that it’s really unforgivable. Other sites I use all the time, such as the Evening Standard, Sky, and the BBC, offer me a mobile-enabled version of their content, yet my paid-for Times does not.

It’s banking on me paying for an iPad version. I might, one day, but for now newspaper iPad apps just look like the last refuge of the dead-tree journalist.

Then there are the simple functionality issues. Times search was always lousy, but that wasn’t a problem when you could search on Google instead. Now that’s not so easy. So it can be impossible to find items you know are there. Recently I needed to research what a Times columnist, Frank Skinner, had been writing about, yet the Times search didn’t seem to recognise Skinner as a contributor to the paper.

I’ve just repeated the exercise, and the first item that comes up for him is dated September 2008:

What I need are his columns, presented with the newest at the top.

If I change the default filter on results from ‘most relevant’ to ‘latest’ I get this: letters mentioning the man:

What about Times+? I get it that creating a rewards-fuelled community around a news title makes sense. 

But the offerings are – with some exceptions – paltry. A free glass of champagne here, priority booking there. What I really want is to be able to read the Sunday Times Culture section on my iPhone,  and then click to buy some of the books I find well-reviewed there at a really competitive price. Which means matching Amazon. But I can’t. I can go to the Times bookshop and get a smidgeon shaved off, but nothing like the discounts on new bestseller hardbacks Amazon offers.

Times+ needs to have offers that place it among the very best, but it doesn't.

An exclusive £28.50 brunch menu at the Royal Albert Hall? Pass. Try to win tickets to see the Steve Miller Band? Umm, nah. 

But it’s not all bad. I can watch the new Oliver Stone movie for free on line, for example. Thing is, I haven’t been tempted by any of the other Times+ offers. Tell a lie, I bought a case of wine. But I could do that without being a subscriber. What about a Twitter-based wine tasting, as Slate hosted a little while ago? 

What about any ideas that exploit the opportunities that the web, mobile, and social media offer old media? [sound of tumbleweed tumbling]

So, I have to say:

Usability: Fail
Functionality: Fail
Community: Doctor, I think I have a pulse, but it's awfully faint.