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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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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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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Guest Post – Emma Farley: a journo’s life outside the city

It’s the second guest post in a Wannabe Hacks double-whammy and – from the Freelancer’s neck of the woods – Emma Farley tells us whether living outside the big cities is really that troublesome. Make up your own mind whether her journey so far has been or will be enough…

Emma blogs here, reviews films for the Digital Fix and also writes here

Emma Farley

When I was 15 I decided that I wanted to be a film journalist.

I had it all figured out.

I genuinely believed that by the time I was 25 I would be making a living writing about film. As my 23rd birthday approaches, I’m still optimistic enough to believe that my dreams could come true by the time I reach that 25th milestone. However, compared to most other journalism graduates and film geeks, I’m at a major disadvantage… I’m Cornish.

I knew it would be difficult being based in the South West but I tried to make a hopeful and enthusiastic start…

At 16 I started writing for my local film magazine, Movie Magic, as well as the website Talking Pictures. I also did a week’s worth of work experience at my local paper. After completing my A Levels in Film, Media and English, I went to Cornwall College to study Newspaper and Magazine Journalism and topped-up my foundation degree at Marjon University where I achieved a first-class degree in Writing for the Media.

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Getting it on with multimedia: Audioboo style

(Direct Audioboo link here…)

Man speaking through meagphone

At Hacks we are always looking to practice what we preach – a couple of weeks ago we introduced our first podcast and today we are continuing our foray into the audio world with an Audioboo. The idea behind these shorter, more informal posts is to allow us to communicate some thoughts, ideas and insights to you in bite-size pieces. No doubt at some point you will hear the Chancer moan about the price of coffee on his patch or the Freelancer giving some impromptu pitching advice.

These ‘boos will be available from iTunes so you can get them on your iPods (or non Apple mp3 players… as you should be able to do with our podcast soon as well). This way you can have the Hacks at your side even when you don’t have access to the Internet.

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Guest Post – Harry Low: fast-track journo courses

Wannabe Hacks goes back to the blackboard this week and Harry Low – already shorthand-deep into a fast-track journo course – lets us know exactly what it’s like and what to expect.

‘Special outlines’, ‘leading and kerning’ and the ‘fade factor’ are a few phrases which – had you presented them to me a month ago – I would not have had the foggiest what you were on about.

Harry Low

However, having just completed my third week of a fast-track journalism course, I would at least feel able to give you an indication of what is meant by these words.

The pace of the course is quick. Not too fast but we are progressing at a speed which feels appropriate considering that we need to have all coursework written, portfolios completed and exams sat (and hopefully passed) within the 18 week duration .

The course, roughly speaking, runs from Monday-Thursday with hours usually around 9am-2.30pm. In addition to the 17 or so hours of contact time, we are expected to do up to 10 hours of additional study each week as well as complete work experience on our Friday off.

In order to fit this in a few things have become apparent:

Bring the right equipment

A cancelled train meant that I arrived almost 30 minutes late to my first class (perhaps allow plenty of contingency time if travelling by public transport would be another worthwhile tip, but that’s for another day). I had, though, made sure I had with me the necessary pens, pencils and – crucially – a shorthand notebook: a key item for any wannabe hack.

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Life at the New Statesman: Part 2

Following on from ‘Life at the New Statesman: Part 1, which looked at the process of getting settled in an organisation today I am going to talk about having focus whilst interning.

What do you mean focus?

Everyone has specific interests, hobbies and passions and this applies to our working life as well as our non-work life. As an intern you are many things to many people, often asked to take on the more mundane and time-consuming tasks required to keep a business running day-to-day.


Image courtesy of Flickr user: Dani Ihtatho

However as an intern you are there to gain valuable experience for yourself as well; so you need to make sure that from time to time you are completing work that complements what you want to learn and what skills you want to improve. There are a couple of ways to go about doing this:

1. Do not offer yourself out to the entire office too often, although when you do have no work you should go looking. Don’t get into the habit of taking on anything and everything. By being selective you can build up a new skill set that becomes valuable to both you and the office.

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Podcast #1: student journalism

Student journalism is often considered the starting point for many professional hacks these days. It is usually there in that under-funded and unequipped newspaper office that many modern journos get putting pen to paper and start falling in love with the publishing industry.

It is also there that many of your future contacts and friends are made. Just look at Wannabe Hacks: we are Features, Sports and News editors and even an Ed-in-Chief. We were all also writers, subs and proofreaders at some point – Wannabe Hacks is a direct result of our days in the Redbrick paper office.

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Guest Post – Joseph Stashko: three-year journo degrees

In another guest post special, Wannabe Hacks is delighted to introduce Joseph Stashko: a writer and blogger who likes online, student journalism and social media. He is currently working on several online projects and – this week – takes us through the ins and outs of straight three-year course in Journalism.

University is a daunting prospect for anyone.

Joe Stashko

Before you arrive fresh-faced at student halls there’s the question of what exactly you’re going to study. For those aspiring to a career in journalism, traditional subjects along the lines of English, History and Politics are typical of many in the industry. Despite new courses springing up frequently, the study of journalism itself has now been around for a long time. My course (BA Journalism) at the University of Central Lancashire has now been active for over 40 years, so it’s becoming a fairly well-worn path.

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