Journalism skills / NCTJ / Subbing and editing

Week 11. It’s nearly Christmas.

It’s not really nearly Christmas. It will be a lot nearer Christmas on my next post, or the one after that. But the excitement and build up for Christmas is something to look forward to and hopefully get a little time off from my 7-day weeks at the moment. I’ve realised every time I write a post about my course, I always seem to be moaning. That’s because when I write it, I’m always trying to fit it in around everything else I have to do. I’m also writing it on a Friday after a long busy week which has added a lot more to my to-do list, and is another week closer to the exams. But I do enjoy it funnily enough. It’s a lot of work, it’s harder than I thought, I have a lot to do BUT I don’t dread going in every day. It’s always good when you enjoy the company of other people on the course, we can have a laugh. I like learning about things that a lot of people know about but I don’t, like politics and local government (although it is sometimes very dull). I like learning new skills and improving my writing and I know that it is all going to be worth it when I can write on my CV that I’m a NCTJ-trained journalist.

Last week’s post was a bit boring, I just went through every subject and had a little moan. I’ve tried to include more pictures this week! In Shorthand, we had to tell our teacher if we were putting ourselves in for the first 70wpm exam in a couple of weeks. I’ve decided to do it, but the more practice we do, the more nervous I get. It really is taking over my life though, when people are talking I am thinking of how I’d write it in shorthand and if I can do it fast enough. Below are my notes for my Public Affairs lesson – it’s about 3/4 longhand and 1/4 shorthand, and you can see random words I’ve written in shorthand just because it’s easier, quicker, and it’s a bit of practice!

Public Affairs notes…

My desk is always filled with bits of paper with shorthand on, but this is my diary which inevitably has shorthand written in too.

My diary…

When you are trying to get the higher speeds, our teacher has said to practice speeds above the one of your exam. So for example, I’m trying to practice at 80wpm and 90wpm for the 70wpm exam. The annoying this is, is that I can write at the 70 speed, but if there is a word I can’t do, I stumble, pause, sulk, make something up and then hurriedly have to try and catch up with the 7 words she has said whilst I’ve been stuck on that one word!

Subbing. We have finally started to actually look at the exam in subbing. If I’m honest I think it should have been done a lot earlier, because I don’t think it’s straightforward and we are at a rush for time now. It could have been given more time earlier, but oh well, too late now! Anyway – below is part A of our subbing exam. For this question, we have to think up a headline and subhead. But the main part is copyfitting. All the extra writing on the bottom right hand side needs to be cut, so you have to take text out of the main copy for it to eventually come up and fit in. There are also a lot of mistakes and grammar errors in the copy (highlighted in pink on mine!). There are a lot of rules, once the text fits, like not having a word on its own on a line, or a line at the top on its own. It’s harder that it seems, especially trying to fit the headline into those two lines exactly, as well as being creative. I quite like spotting errors and grammar mistakes, but I don’t really like this whole copy-fitting thing, although I’m sure it’s useful to know. 

In reporting yesterday we went through a whole mock exam, the main problem I am having is getting the right angle of the story. If you don’t get that, then the rest of your paper is going to be.. well, wrong.

My portfolio is coming along okay. I think I’ve got all 10 pieces that I know I’m going to include, although not all are published. I’m going through the process of redrafting them at the moment and hoping to have this done by Christmas, so that over the holidays I can REVISE… fun!

On a different note, it’s advent tomorrow. This possibly still excites me as much as it did when I was 12 years old.




2 thoughts on “Week 11. It’s nearly Christmas.

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