One month as an NCTJ student.

It’s that time of the week again where I can breath a slow sigh of relief at 12.30pm on Friday afternoon. I’ve had a full-on week of learning, working, revising, writing and it’s finally the weekend. Although to me – the weekend means more work, but at least I’m earning money.

We all realized today that this is the end of our fourth week on the course. It has gone so quickly, we’ve already learnt so much and yet we’ve got a lot longer to go. If this month goes as quickly as it has, then I can imagine the next four are going to be the same and soon enough I will be able to call myself an NCTJ qualified journalist.

This week, I have been focusing (stressing) a lot on my portfolio. As part of the course, you have to submit a portfolio of 10 pieces of your work. Ideally these should be published articles, although getting 10 published articles is easier said than done. Luckily, the internet has made that easier for us and gives us a lot more opportunity to be able to get our writing more exposure. So on top of our modules, homework and revision, this is something we have to do in our own time. So it is a slight bit of pressure knowing you need to get articles published. This week I have written a review of an event in Brighton that is hopefully going to be published on the Latest 7 magazine website in Brighton, written an article for a new Brighton magazine (look here), written an article for an online women’s lifestyle magazine (see below) and hopefully have a piece published on Wedding Ideas magazine’s website. Phew!

We got to do a lot more work with Design this week. We set out a basic magazine spread on InDesign, and looked at the balance of picture vs. text in layouts. I am trying to think of ideas for my double-page spread as I want it to be creative, but it’s hard to tell what will get the most marks!

In Law we have been doing about children in court and sexual offences. It’s a tough subject – hard work, sometimes dull, sometimes confusing and sometimes engaging. Our law teacher is very good though, and tries to make the three hour lessons not a complete bore – he usually adds to what he is saying by showing us newspaper articles that relate to that topic. The one thing that I like about this subject is that I can use and relate it to every day things. For example, picking up and reading the Metro this morning, read a court case about a child who ‘could not be named for legal reasons’. And why’s that? Because of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 under section 49. Maybe it is going in somehow…

Our full day of reporting on Thursday may sometimes seem like it’s going to be tedious, but the thing that makes it interesting is that we aren’t simply sitting there learning constantly about new things and how to write, but we actually do it. It’s the one module at the moment where we do a lot of writing for in class. It’s sometimes a bit daunting to get given a lot of information and be told – write a 300 word story on it now – but that’s what it’s going to be like in the real world so I guess it’s teaching us well! We got grades back for the first time today on some work we did last week, so hopefully I am on my way to achieving that gold standard!

Shorthand is getting harder. I guess it had to soon enough after blabbering on about how much I enjoy it. The speed thing is going to be hard, it’s alright knowing the theory but that’s going to get you nowhere in the exam! Well definitely not to 100wpm.

A lack of pictures with the post this week, although I’m sure you’re getting bored constantly seeing pages from my shorthand notebook and messy room!


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