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  1.  (10788.1)
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    Horror, horror, only horror, pure horror, unmitigated horror, constant and endless horror, for those who Fail To Follow Instructions.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2012

    So, I'm looking at journalism courses and going to visit City College in Brighton tomorrow to see if I can get on a course for free, or get other financial assistance.

    I've been working in PR for the past eight-ish years and am bored with it. Lots of journalists 'turn to the dark side' and go to work in PR, so I thought I'd be different and go the other way. I'm resigned to having to learn shorthand, but what else might I need to know? About either the state of modern journalism, training in it, or even just going back to college for the first time since '97?

    The real bummer of it is that I'm going to have to keep working and do a part-time course concurrently and won't be able to join in with all of the fun japes that students get up to, which is a pity, but nevermind.

    What do I really need to know, though? I need a new direction and a change and think this might fit me. Give me advice.
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2012
    Don't become a Journalist, They're an endangered species.
  2.  (10788.4)

    I didn't think journalists actually used shorthand any more. Don't they usually just carry an audio recorder or something?
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2012
    It's still one of the requirements. I've got my own version, but I don't think that'll count.
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2012
    Good on you, fella. I'm a part-time student and almost-but-not-quite full-time worker and there's still plenty of japery to be had.
  3.  (10788.7)

    A quick tech support one. All of a sudden the headset on my work computer has decided to route whatever goes into the speaker direct to the earphones, which means that when I'm taking calls on Skype everything I say comes back at me half a second later, which makes useful conversation insanely difficult.

    The problem is there regardless of whether Skype is running or not, so appears to be a system/hardware issue. I've gone through all the settings I can find, and searched the net to no avail. Anyone have any hints?

    The headset is a Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 and I'm running Windows 7.
  4.  (10788.8)

    Whilst college might be useful to you, specifically if you *want* to take the time out to do an NCTJ course, its not actually going to improve your employability as a journalist much.

    Your current work/background (especially if you do lots of copywriting as part of your current role) should get you interviews for jobs within papers/magazines/etc the 'trick' is finding the ruddy things. They exist but most of us work freelance these days... even those who are attached to papers on a full time basis are often technically Self-employed.

    Your PR job *will* get you at least long listed for press officer type jobs - these are usually the halfway house between PR and journalism :-) - assuming your application skills are up to it. You'll find these are mainly public sector or psuedo public sector though, with all that entails.

    Shorthand is useful though - there are still situations, like court reporting, where you cannot take a recorder with you. Personally I haven't used shorthand in years as without regular frequent practise it just went..., however I have my own abbr. writing that is as fast as my shorthand ever was. A bluetooth keyboard and a fast writing speed to get things onto phone often just as effective.
  5.  (10788.9)

    try going into the hardware properties of the audio device from the taskbar (select the 'Recording device'). Find the microphone that you're having the problem with and click into its properties - go to the 'listen' tab and ensure that the 'listen to this device' box is cleared - sounds like you've got it set to listen to the input signal, which due to latency will be slightly behind.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2012
    @littlepurplegoth - there are pretty much *no* press officer jobs going anywhere. I used to work as one for a borough council, and would gladly go back to it, but there are freezes everywhere. The only similar thing is for housing associations and they're pretty much blended with admin roles too. Which I don't want.

    The thing is, I don't really want to be a press officer. I'd like to have a go at denting other people's reputations, rather than having to defend someone's I don't especially care about. I think I could do the job better than a lot of journalists I've come across too, so there's also that.

    What I really do want is to broaden what I can freelance as and just pick up as many clues as I can. I went down to Brighton City College today anyway and yeah, I think I'd like to take a bit of time out there.
  6.  (10788.11)
    @Oddcult - I sort of wish I'd done what you're planning about 15 years back... however I stayed on the corporate side; got too used to the money. Don't know if I'd want to go into journalism now though; too much rubbish, too much recycling press releases, and don't have the hunger or anger to be the next Greg Palast... good luck though.

    Think shorthand is always useful anyway... keep meaning to ressurrect my rusty Teeline.
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2012 edited
    @oddcult, may I suggest starting up a blog? If anything it'll help sharpen your style and can give potential employers something to look at as well as your copywriting work.

    @JP as a publicist who writes a lot of press releases, it's kind of funny to see my work in a newspaper under someone else's name. :P
  7.  (10788.13)
    @oldhat - I've seen stuff lifted directly from the internal mag I edit used in a pretty high profile trade magazine that ought to bloody well know better. I'm also appalled at the standard of journalism on our local paper, I think regional press is scraping the bottom of the barrel now and it must be ghastly to work in.
  8.  (10788.14)
    @oddcult are you wedded to brighton?

    Social media (but essentially) press job going in the Gallery here in MK at the mo. Pay is average for field (iffy for SE, and yep here is definitely that wrt col, save cost of housing which is very midlands!). You'll find that Press officer jobs are generally being given PR type titles (sorry, should have said that before) and incorporate SEO etc.

    If you are interested there are a lot of short term intern type roles going though - some have a good record with continuing to use and pay their interns post placement. Twitter is a really good place to turn them up - but I suspect you'll be bored witless with that level of work, even though whatever City of Brighton college tell you, they are aiming you at Intern levels of readiness, pretty much any NCTJ course is atm :-( You could do NCTJ on the job just as easily and you would earn - all the major regional groups are recruiting at the moment, just not particularly openly (Southern are the only ones I've seen directly advertise, but I'm led to believe that the usual trainee posts are going just as in most years), where they are recruiting openly its by university notice board and word of mouth.

    Lifting from publicity is the norm and has been for many years - I was 'taught' to write with direct reproduction in mind, oh, over 20 years ago now. Standards have always been iffy - anyone good gets out of staff roles and into the editing levels or freelance asap.

    Freelance is definitely out there though - Imagine and Furture are both using freelancers a lot atm, albeit we are all being cycled like mad and the word rate is at the same level it was 10 years ago. Only paper paying 'bottom of ladder' freelancers an inflation/cost of living rate is the Daily Mail...

    The City of Brighton college course is considered a good one - but if you can take the time to do something I'd seriously look at Harlow, at the various Post grad aimed courses run by the distance course has a very good reputation, and an excellent post qual. employment level. They are the NUJs recommended distance or part time course.

    Look on as well (if you haven't already :-) )
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2012
    @littlepurplegoth - Can you drop me an email - oddcases at gmail etc?

    My situation is an odd one, which means I need to earn more than I'm making now, but don't quite need to be making what I was even ten years ago. But that also means that I'm fairly wedded to the location I'm currently in, which is still 45 minutes away from Brighton though, yes. The main reason I'm giving Brighton most serious consideration is because they've as much as told me that they'll help financially a fair bit, even possibly with costs above and beyond fees and have been really helpful in sorting that out. Lambeth sort of shrugged and said 'fill in the forms and we'll see'.

    I'd actually be happy with a staff writer's job for a year or so at least, but I really don't want to so social media PR. I really, really don't. It's not actually egotistical of me to say I pretty much invented a lot of the techniques that are currently used - not necessarily exclusively but still - and I'm really burnt out on the whole concept. What I love doing most about what I do is interviewing people and writing up features based on those interviews. When you're doing that under the banner of PR, there's always an agenda that you have to co-operate with, no matter how interesting side-tracks are, or unpalatable the subject. I'd like to be able to do that sort of work more often, but also be able to ask more interesting questions.
  9.  (10788.16)

    @JPCarpenter you are a god amongst men! I can once again watch dubstep cat videos without having to listen to my own breathing!

    On the downside I also now have no excuse when it comes to answering tech support calls...
    • CommentAuthorhank
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2012
    @oddcult: time to innovate new techniques?
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2012
    There are millions of younger and brighter people out there now with better ideas. I don't even use Twitter or Tumblr. I want to go back to creating content myself rather than being the one who finds the ways to get the content out there.
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2012 edited

    Oddcult: "Lots of journalists 'turn to the dark side' and go to work in PR, so I thought I'd be different and go the other way."

    *whistles, tries to look innocent, edges towards the door*

    Journalism doesn't seem to really be an up-and-going career in most countries nowadays, though. Here in Commie Reindeerland publishing houses are letting journos go left and right, and farming freelancers in a way that I'm not comfortable with. Some contract asshattery is why I finally stopped freelancing for good after 12 years this spring... :/

    Not sure how relevant to your areas, but just my .02€
  10.  (10788.20)

    Ok, my girlfriend and I are in New York for a couple of weeks (staying in Brooklyn, but will be subwaying I'm sure), and in Seattle and SF for a few days. What to do, what to do?

    Would you be so kind as to offer some suggestions for must-dos/sees?
    Of particular interest:
    - Unique tattooists (was quite close to getting a Peter Aurisch tattoo, but then he stopped replying to emails :( )
    - Burlesque places and/or non-sleazy-feeling strip clubs.
    - Comic stores with weird/cool/small press stuff that I wouldn't necessarily find elsewhere.
    - Small art galleries with cool stuff (that might sell some things cheaply enough for plebs like us)
    - Cool bars.