Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Daily Mail looking for subs and reporters

The Daily Mail is once again looking for trainee subs and reporters. The paper begins its search this week for bright wannabe journalists to join its highly successful training scheme, run by Press Association Training. The subbing course has been running since 2003 and the reporting course is in its fifth year. The Mail's newsroom is now staffed by many of those who completed the training including deputy sports editor Mark Alford, sports journalists Alex Kay and Laura Williamson, backbenchers Jayme Bryla and Chris Roberts and current Young Journalist of the Year, the Mail on Sunday's Matt Sandy.
If you are interested in applying send your CV, 200-words on why you want to be a Mail journalist and six pieces of your work to sue.ryan@dailymail.co.uk by February 10. You should specify your preference, if you have one, for the subbing or reporting course. They are separate schemes which will start next September. The reporting course will be held in London and the subbing course will be held mainly at the PA's Manor in Howden, East Yorkshire. For the first time there will be one combined week with subs and reporters getting together at Derry Street. It is likely that the successful applicants will have completed a post-graduate journalism course or have newsroom experience. Shorthand and a driving licence will be an advantage for the reporters. If you are applying it is worth reading my piece on what the Mail is looking for here. If you get invited for interview, I look forward to seeing you in February. Good luck. 

Saturday, 10 December 2011

It's all going pear-shaped ...

We have had the dog that injured its nose, the woman who couldn't find a tin of custard and one of my favourites ... the straight banana drama. Now I am grateful to Daily Telegraph sub and fellow Newcastle United supporter @laurieallsopp for alerting me to, wait for it, the man who stumbled on a rather large pear in Sutton from the Sutton Guardian. Don't you just love the use of the word 'rather'. 
BBC journalist @JonMWelch, who flagged up the story of the Diss Christmas tree falling over in the wind, asks if editors are publishing this type of story for 'ironic website hits'. It's certainly a possibility. The dog that injured its nose led to 130,000 people logging on to the story on the Salisbury Journal website in a single day. Indeed the editor wondered whether the tale broke the record for page impressions per word anywhere on the web. As I said at the time, in this upside down world where hits on the website and driving digital audiences are critical, there is perhaps method in the Journal's madness. It will be the bizarre, the offbeat, the mistakes, the funnies and the downright bad that will get the biggest followings. If nothing else such stories add much-needed humour to regional papers. They have also led to the publication of the book Whitstable Mum in Custard Shortage. One for the Christmas stocking ...    

Friday, 9 December 2011

Well done Newcastle ... officially the best

I raised a glass with colleagues at Press Association Training this week after the Newcastle journalism foundation course was named the best in Britain. The training centre, based in the Journal and Chronicle offices, was awarded the top spot ahead at the NCTJ's annual Skills Conference at Belfast City Hall. Trainee journalists on the PA course achieved an impressive and unprecedented 92pc exam pass rate. It's the third time in four years the course has clinched a top place, but the first time it has achieved the overall number one spot. None of this comes as any great surprise to me. The course has always been first rate, mainly because it sticks to the following tried and tested principles:
i) The centre is run as a newsroom with the same disciplines, dress code and long hours.
ii) All of the journalism training is carried out by professional, working journalists.
iii) The course concentrates on the basics - shorthand, writing, bringing in stories and law.
iv) The trainees are given detailed feedback on all of their work. 
v) As the centre is in a newspaper office the trainees get experience working for big city dailies.
Former trainees include the Andrew Marr, James Naughtie, Financial Times editor Lionel Barber and The Sun's political editor Tom Newton Dunn.
Ultimately, of course, training is only as good as the people who deliver it. So well done to Paul Jones, Pat Hagan, Garry Willey, David Banks, Sue Nixon, Shirley Kelly and, of course, head of PA Training Tony Johnston. Richly deserved. If you are want to know more, the course's details are here.