Monthly Archives: September 2013

My time at the Sunderland Echo

In preparation for my NCTJ course, which I would be taking at Darlington College, I thought it would be best to get some real experience.

I emailed the newspaper, and was offered 5 days of work placement, 9am-5pm. I jumped at the offer, as I knew it would mean an intensive writing week (hopefully) and could really put myself forward.

The first thing when I arrived on Monday morning, was I met the guy who was going to look after me during the 5 days. Kevin Clark, who was lovely the entire week, gave me a quick news writing test. This is used to establish what sort of skills I had. After he reviewed it, he told the other people in the newsroom that they could pass some stuff along to me if there was anything, because I had a good writing style.

The most memorable of the stories I was able to write when I was there, was a comment piece on the previous day’s splash (front page). The story was about Ellis Short, Chairman of Sunderland Association Football Club. He had worn a badge, when meeting with African delegates, that was emblazoned with the club’s unofficial motto. FTM which in the region is known to mean “F*** The Mags”, in relation to the rivalry with Newcastle United FC.

I was asked to go out into the Sunderland and do a Vox Pop (Short for Vox Populi, the Latin term for “voice of the people”.) I was to ask 5 or 6 members of the public what they thought of the fact that the Chairman had worn such a controversial badge when meeting national delegates. I got a bunch of interesting opinions and headed back to the office to hand the quotes in, expecting that to be it. Luckily for me though, when we got back I was told I could write up the story.

Over the days I was there, I had a couple of stories per day published in the paper, some of those added to their website.

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The Evening Chronicle: Young Reviewers

The Evening Chronicle in Newcastle runs a competition and writing opportunity every year, which I would highly recommend. It’s called the ‘Young Reviewers’ scheme, and it allows for up and coming journalists to get press access to events around the North East. With this access, you are expected to write a review.

The first stage is to write your own review, which you send to The Evening Chronicle when the competition is opened. Then a group of the best writers are chosen, who become the reviewer pool, for the next year.

If your work is good, and Gordon Barr, the Entertainment Editor, is impressed with what you write, then your reviews will be printed in the paper. They’re sometimes available to view on The Evening Chronicle website too.

I was lucky enough to have quite a few things published, things which I’ve linked to previously on this blog:

It’s a brilliant opportunity, because it can often take you out of your comfort zone. Obviously my main area of writing up to that point was based around a music setting, but when offered the opportunity to reviews things like ballet and comedy, I jumped at the chance.

It adds to your portfolio, and that’s always a good thing, and you get to and experience a bunch of new and cool stuff, so yeah, I’d definitely recommend it. Added to this, there is a prize for the top two writers from the reviewers pool, and I was lucky enough to come away with a notebook laptop, so that just makes it even better.


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Long time no speak!

I know its been a pretty long time since I updated the blog. It has been caused in part by my camera pretty much falling apart and a bunch of other stuff all happening at once. I’m going to have a look and see what the last things I wrote about were… and ill be right back!




Ok..ok! I’ve checked.

If we go in chronological order, then the first thing I need to talk about is The Evening Chronicle.

  • The Evening Chronicle
  • Sunderland Echo
  • NCTJ Diploma in Journalism
  • Hartlepool Mail
  • Northern Echo


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