GSMA – Kingston Uni: we won “because we took risks”

Lara O’Reilly is former editor of Kingston University’s River newspaper + now a reporter at Marketing Week…

Winning is sometimes far sweeter when you are not expecting it at all.

Hours before the event two nights ago news was spreading around Twitter that there had been an apparent leak of the Guardian Student Media Awards results.

According to the rumours a press release was sent to current editors of the nominated student publications asking if they would like photos of the event – oh and revealing the winner and runner-up of each category.

Kingston Uni Team

Lara O'Reilly and Callum Hornigold

We didn’t know the result for sure; everyone on Twitter was respecting the embargo, but there were plenty of smug-sounding tweets from certain students who seemed to already know the result.

We practiced our gracious losing smiles on the tube to the Guardian offices, still overjoyed that we had been nominated at all.

The ceremony was small, fun and informal – more like a networking event than an awards show, with everyone chatting to students from other publications and introducing themselves to a few of the journos associated with the event.

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NFD: some obscure and obvious freelancing tips

If – like me – this is your first National Freelancers Day then you’ll be sharing in my unbridled excitement.

Just like when old Saint Nick slides down our chimney chutes the NFD is a great excuse to revel in the merriment and help your fellow freelancing man… All we need now is a horrendously alcoholic cake and a drunken family punch up and the holiday is complete!

As an NFD gift to you I am sharing in a few personal freelancing lessons learned… a couple the hard way.

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News. Now.

Now I’m not going to get all gushy about the state of modern, accessible and immediate-feed journalism, but it is pretty amazing how you can just see something newsworthy and have it live and online within minutes. Now, this isn’t newsworthy by any sense – but goes to show what could happen if it was…

Police #1

On Wednesday 17th November at least 30 police officers were called to the White Hart pub in Tower Hamlets – where I live – to contain and traffic a large group of disruptive and uncontrollable football fans.

The fans sang the usual English football chants and required a heavy police escort away from the premises. There were eight police vans and two further police cars on the scene as traffic on the crossroads at Mile End Road came to a standstill.

Violence #1

This story – although I’ll admit it is terribly small – has not been reported anywhere else that I can possibly search: no papers, no online news sites… not even hyperlocal Tower Hamlets feeds.

What this means is that the all-round on-site journalist is as important as ever. Imagine if what happened outside my window was a scoop?

From the comfort of my own road – armed with just my mobile phone – I was able to snap, shoot, record, edit, upload and report within minutes. Suddenly this story – again tiny– is ready for the masses…

And it seems that if I wasn’t there then who would have known?

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Guest Post – Sarah Moore: TV journalism

This week – in a Hacks special – we look at a Wanna-‘be’ and a Wanna-‘been’ in the TV journalism industry. Our Wanna-‘been’ is the award-winning TV journalist Sarah Moore who has worked with ITN, ITV, GMTV and now lectures in broadcast journalism at Salford University.

Sarah is a journalist that has traveled and reported all over the world. Basically, she has bags of experience and that means there’s lots of advice… Here it is.

Lesson number 1: you do not break into television expecting it to be glamorous!
Sarah Moore #4

Of course elements of the job can be. It’s pretty glamorous being sent to Paris Fashion Week. It’s not however glamorous when you’ve been given just a few hours to get there and you’re not exactly dressed for the occasion or able to speak the same language as your crew.

I’ve spent the past ten years working in television news. I was very fortunate to get my first job at ITV Central in Birmingham, one of the best regional news stations. It was a big step for someone straight out of a post-grad course in Broadcast Journalism at the Cardiff Journalism School.

So how did I break into the industry known to be one of the most cut-throat and competitive of them all?

Lesson number 2: sleep is for wimps; a life is something you can have another time.

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Guest Post – Charlotte Hawkins: TV journalism

This week – in a Hacks special – we look at a Wanna-‘be’ and a Wanna-‘been’ in the TV journalism industry. Our Wanna-‘be’ is Charlotte Hawkins, who blogs here and currently interns at the Discovery Channel…

Charlotte Hawkins

Just like some of the Wannabe Hacks I too graduated this year and am now trying my hand at breaking into journalism. In my case, however, it’s the TV journo industry that I want to crack.

When I first researched a career in television I came across several horror stories of wannabes being exploited through “work experience” schemes. I have indeed experienced this myself, to an extent. The majority of the professionals I have encountered have been lovely, but there’s nothing more infuriating than working for nothing for a month only to overhear on your last day that it’s me who should be thanking them with the cake.

Also – in spite of the placements I have managed to secure – I am still distinctly lacking in show-reel material. Having decided only recently on this career path I (regretfully) only got involved with my Uni TV station during my final year. Dissertations certainly hindered my participation.

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Podcast #3: student protests – demo debate

It’s the Wannabe Hacks podcast pounding your ears once again!

This week The Chancer and The Intern get a little heated over the coverage of the Student Demo 2010…

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Pitch up – Look Sharp: the 3 Ps – prodding, pushing and persisting

Well it’s nearing midnight on a Tuesday and – like any good freelancer – I’ve decided to start my Wednesday morning assignments. One item on that assignment list is some pitching feedback for an article I delivered some weeks ago. I’ve got to say I’m sorry that I didn’t do it sooner… I’ll rephrase that:

“I’m so sorry that I haven’t got back to you; it’s been a really busy week!”

This is your first freelance lesson and although it might sound like something very negative it is actually extremely positive. For a commissioning editor to utter these words means that you’ve prodded, pushed and persisted.

These are three vital Ps for any successful freelancer.

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Guest Post – Jamie Smith: news agencies

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith had always wanted to be a journalist but he couldn’t get a job for several months after finishing his degree at the University of Sunderland. After six months of unhappy hunting – during which he wrote for the Guardian – he got taken on by online news agency Adfero…

It could be the right move for you.

Working at a news agency had honestly never crossed my mind.

After realising at a quite young age that I wasn’t going to be the new Andy Payton I set upon a path that would ultimately, I hoped, lead to a job in sports journalism. If I couldn’t play the game I would watch it and criticise those who could. It was going to be perfect.

A year and a bit after finishing my degree and I’m nowhere near where I originally thought I’d be.

But I am better off than many of my peers and that’s because I found news agencies.

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Podcast #2: internships and pay

It’s the Wannabe Hacks podcast pounding your ears once again!

This week The Chancer, Intern and Student investigate internships and chat about pay.

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Dealing with application rejection

The much-clichéd “current economic climate” has really hit me hard recently. Not only has it left a gaping hole in my already-low bank balance but job opportunities have also been very few and far between…

Added to the misery is that fact that there are several hundred fellow graduates and wannabes all jostling and jumping for the same few jobs…

With such incredible competition, rejection is rife.

Job Hunting

Image courtesy of Robert S Donovan

Rejection is something that can manifest and affect us in many different ways. Some will brush it off like petty schoolyard banter and think nothing of it, whilst others will treat it as an injection of adrenaline – a spurring of enthusiasm to push ever higher. Unfortunately there are also those that it can truly crush, bringing on yet another give-up-and-go-home day or Ben & Jerry’s binge.

I was the victim of such rejection just yesterday and although I avoided raiding the freezer for my favourite two American ice-cream makers (I seem more inclined to build my own coffee coffin) it seemed that rejection was the one part of wannabe journalism that I hadn’t yet been advised how to approach

Often added as an afterthought to most how-to journo articles, the “be prepared to be rejected” is often followed by a “don’t worry” – but it’s perhaps a little more complicated than just that.

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