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Interhacktives award

Interhacktives wins best student specialist publication

I’m extremely proud to say that the Interhacktives — students on the MA Interactive Journalism at City, University of London — won an award over the weekend. The Student Publication Association held their annual conference and awards – and my students took home a prize:

Or, more accurately, a former Interhacktive, Emily Shackleton — who is now senior social producer at Metro — took home the award on their behalf:

The Interhacktives themselves met this news with the quiet dignity that I’m used to from them:

Still, a great result from a talented team. You should hire them, follow them on Twitter, or follow them on the course next year

Student Protests, 1989 Style

Anti-Student Loans Demo

November 1989. I was not long turned 18, in my first year at Imperial College, and working on Felix, the student newspaper. Oh, and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government was proposing to replace student grants with student loans. Cue a wave of protests and demos…

The first of those was on November 22nd, meeting at 1pm on Malet Street, London. I was there – but not as a protestor. I had my notebook, I had my camera. I was reporting
Over two decades later, I was watching this year’s demos begin, and discussing it with others on Twitter. I couldn’t resist digging out my old negatives, scanning them and sharing them, as a point of comparison with last week:
Things have, I think, changed…

Student Journalists: Ones to Watch

A very long time ago – in the 1980s in fact – I got my start in journalism working on the Imperial College student newspaper Felix, before going on to edit the Queen Mary student rag, Cub. It’s been a long journey since then, but I learnt a hell of a lot from those days, while having an absolute blast.

Back then, keeping track of the student media scene was basically impossible, but now, with most student rags online, you can see what the wannabe journalists of the future are up to. And that seems to be the idea behind Ones to Watch:

Ones to Watch

It’s a neat idea for a blog – linking to the best of the student journalism out there. A classic aggregation model, that takes something disparate and boils it down to something useful for a wider audience. 
The site launched today, with a mix of links to news, features and jobs. If I were to raise any criticism at all, it’s that it’s all a bit serious at the moment. Student journalism can be scurrilous, swashbuckling and sometimes downright outrageous, and I’d love to see that reflected, too.
But it’s in my feed reader, and I’ll be reading with interest. 

Facing The Future of Journalism (and liking it)

I’ve gone a bit quiet, haven’t I? Sorry about that, but I’ve been busy, holidaying and sick, but not necessarily in that order. One element of the busyness was this:

Cardiff Journalism Postgrads

Yes, I was back in Cardiff to guest lecture to this year’s crop of postgraduate journalism students. And an interesting experience it was, too. This bunch seemed to be more aware of social media and the changes in journalism than those of a year ago. There were some good challenging questions from them about entrepreneurial journalism, and a couple of them came to talk to me afterwards about their own plans and ideas for journalism businesses.

It might not be good news for big companies, but the fact that the spirit of journalism is alive and well in the younger generation – and actively trying to create its own means of funding itself, gives me a lot of hope for the future.

house.jpgAnd I can’t resist sharing this piece of art (right) that was created by Caroline Cook, one of the students, for her Broadsheet Boutique blog. It’s always interesting seeing how your lecture filters through into the student’s blogs. Thank The Monkey (good advice in most circumstances) sums up parts of my argument pretty well, and you’ve got to love someone who’s been inpired to turn their blog into a party. And I’m really glad this point came across loud and clear:

Without sounding cheesy, if you are not passionate, interested, or keen, about what you are blogging about, why should your readers be? If you enjoy what you are doing it will be a pleasure to update your blog 3 or 4 times a week…*cough*. If you are not enjoying writing your own blog, it is unlikely people will enjoy reading it, and from a business point of view, this will result in swift homelessness. 

Passion? Fashion. Farming. Politics. All good stuff.

21st Century Work Experience for Aspiring Journos

IMG00167-thumb-180x135-41258.jpgI hope you’ll excuse me another link to the Estates Gazette Focus team’s blog (I used to be part of that team, and I have a huge soft spot for them), but I’m just loving that they’ve been allowing their work experience teenager to blog for them. Hannah is studying for her GSCEs and likes the idea of being a journalist. Her posts so far are below: