TRAINEE JOURNALIST REVEALS ALL IN TELLING TUTOR EXPOSE.
After I was accepted onto the Magazine Multimedia Journalism course at the Press Association, I absolutely trawled the blog (once I'd bloody found it that is). I think I managed to get all the way back to the by-gone age of 2013 and since then it seems nothing has changed. Each post instilled a new, more potent fear.
I saw posts lamenting the significant workload, gif after gif exposing the panic, the all-nighters and the damn-right delirious. I had every idea and yet no idea of what I had let myself in for. Say good-bye to your friends, your parents, your boyfriend, you're basically going to go hibernate underneath a newspaper for a few months. Or perhaps that should be drown in newspapers...
We're coming into the beginning of the third week now and some of the best characters are the tutors themselves.
There's Roberta, a no-nonsense, straight talking ball of ambition. She would like to say that her catchphrase is 'If you have a voice and something to say, people will find you.' For us, it's more likely: 'You've got to move the story forward.' Roberta's the lead tutor and with an extensive journalism career it's wise to take what she says very seriously. Already she has turned what most of us thought was journalism right on its head. Don't be misled, for example, into thinking that journalism is about writing your thoughts on what you like. The work of a good journalist is to be able to write on absolutely anything, with confidence. And you can forget working for that independent culture mag, for now at least. Thanks to Roberta, we're all realising that being a journalist is about a love of writing, the craft, rather than a particular passion about the subject matter- that's what blogging is for.
Then there's Richard (I've started with the R's so i'll go on). Richard is the only person in the whole entire universe who sits at home and makes up new shorthand words for 'fun'. Every day he modifies a shorthand outline and exclaims 'I like to do it this way. It looks so much nicer.' You can see the complete pleasure he gets out of every outline, every vowel indicator, every word grouping. I admire his passion and it's not every tutor who would get you to transcribe a Carpenters' song, but I am far off from falling in love with shorthand. As someone who has a bit of a knack for languages, I wasn't particularly fazed by shorthand at the beginning, but let it slip and those 60 words-per-minute will haunt your dreams. When you love someone it is unconditional and it is for all their flaws and failures. I can only assume this is how Richard feels about shorthand- even at 8:30am on a Monday morning.
The first week was NEWS NEWS NEWS and RESUBS RESUBS RESUBS, so Darshan, our social media and SEO tutor was a welcome break. We all breathed a sigh of relief when he said 'We're not coming in at 8:30, we're starting at 9:30 and finishing at 5' and when he gave us at least an hour lunch break. It also meant no homework, as it was all about social media optimisation and using social networks such as Twitter to your advantage. Darshan admitted that SEO and analytics was quite dry and I suppose it was, but having someone warn you first always makes things a little easier. There was quite a lot of 'stuff' to cram in as we only had two days and then it was video editing!
Tom Mavro walked into the stuffy computer lab, started unpacking his camera equipment silently and gruffly told us to gather round. Cue a long afternoon of powerpoint on video production. Some of it was certainly enlightening, in fact, a lot of it was. I think it's difficult as a freelance tutor. You can't ever really gage someone's knowledge on a topic so you have to start from scratch. For this reason, some of the things Tom went through we all knew before having had experience of DSLR's and it made us impatient to start filming. Tom's pretty strict, he didn't expect anything less than perfect, much like the other tutors on the course. He told us he wanted 40 bits of B-Roll (essentially a visual filler to overlay on top of speech) and 12 vox pops. Tom's dark side came out on video editing day when, incredulous at our limited amount of B Roll he just kept pacing the room, shaking his head and raising his eyebrows every time we told him that was the only footage we had of a big red bus. Working to a deadline with Tom felt like being at bootcamp complete with physical and mental exhaustion as he tells you to get a move on/pushes you out of the way because he knows he can do it quicker himself.
The tutors so far have been a lovely funny old bunch but God knows we've learnt a hell of a lot in three measly weeks.
That's all from me,
"I learned the craft of news reporting at Newcastle from some fantastic professionals, whose wisdom I have always kept with me. Being bang in the middle of a raw and vibrant city in the North East is also fantastic place to try to hone those fledgling skills."
Tom Newton-Dunn // Political Editor, The Sun