With lots of new things learnt, experienced and tried, our first (almost) three months of studying MA Journalism has come to a close. Here’s my summing up:
- Everyone seems to feel very differently about shorthand – although everyone loves our lovely and hilarious teacher, Sue. Personally, I do actually enjoy it, which definitely helps in the learning process. I passed the 60wpm exam with 100% and took both 80 and 100wpm yesterday, although I’ll have to put that out of my mind until January 3rd now! If I can get to 120wpm by April I’ll be over the moon.
- We also studied for the NCTJ’s Essential Media Law exam which we took towards the end of November and, though it beats me how, I managed to come at the top of the class with 89%. Considering I’d never really done anything on this subject before, I found the law really interesting, especially as real life examples kept coming into the news this term – most notably perhaps with Peach Geldof’s contempt tweet.
- I’ve been the arts and entertainment editor for our website, the Kingston Courier, which has had its ups and downs but I’ve loved it. I’ve been to see lots of shows, spoken to some lovely local performers and also found a few news stories about things like free schools and parking. I don’t really want to give my arts section up but we all swap round next term and we’ll also be producing a paper pullout for a newspaper which sounds like a fun project.
- The material for the NCTJ Public Affairs exam has been long and intense, with lots more still to go, which is one thing I’m not really looking forward to next term…
- My specialist module is arts and entertainment which I enjoy and feel good at, although I still need to finish my portfolio due in January. Next term we either create a specialist website or newspaper/magazine spread which I’m excited to try.
- We’ve gone into court and into a council meeting to get used to how these things work as we’ll have to go to them at some point. Court was okay but the council meeting was pretty boring, although at least I got to practise shorthand in both.
- We took the NCTJ Reporting exam last Monday and it could have gone well – the big news story was about a guy who chased down thieves and then got told off for keeping contact with the police on his phone whilst driving, which was at least an interesting one to write – but it’s the one that it’s basically impossible to predict as it’s marked so harshly.
As you can tell, we’ve been busy – and there are still the odd other things that I didn’t mention such as lunchtime lectures, news quizzes and interview practice – but I don’t get long for a break.
This Christmas, I’m doing three weeks of work experience, one week at the Surrey Comet and its newspaper group and two at the Isle of Wight County Press. It’s a bit nerveracking but exciting and hopefully I’ll have lots to talk about afterwards.