Category Archives: Interesting (Other)

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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A selection of photos from The Isle Of Wight Festival 2011

I was lucky enough to photograph the Isle Of Wight Festival this year for the Photo Agency MusicPicsUk, you can find them here: Highlights included the likes of Kasabian, Kasier Chiefs, Pulp and Alexandra Burke.

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Check out for HQ version, and links to purchase.



Glastonbury 2011 Lineup announced

This years Glastonbury festival is set to take place on the 24th, 25th and 26th June. Three worldwide superstars are set to headline the festival on each night. Irish rockers U2 are headling the Pyramid stage on the Friday night, and are accompanied by Morrissey, Biffy Clyro and the Wu Tang Clan as well as many others. The Saturday night sees Coldplay take the headliner slot, following Elbow, Paolo Nutini and Tinie Tempah. The final night has Beyoncé set to strut her stuff after Pendulum, Plan B and Don Mclean have done their thing.

The full weekend line up is as follows;

With no Glastonbury festival next year, due to the London Olympics, have they tried to make a statement with the headliners? what are your thoughts? does Beyoncé fit the Glastonbury ideals?

Registration for BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend now open

This years BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend is set to take place on the 14th and 15th May, in Carlisle. The Foo Fighters are headling the main stage on the Saturday night, and are accompanied by the Black Eyed Peas, Tinie Tempah and Plan B as well as many others. The Sunday night sees Lady Gaga take the headliner slot, followed by My Chemical Romance, Bruno Mars and The Script.

The full weekend line up is as follows;

Go to to register for free tickets. You have to be over 16 to apply and can only apply to one of the two days so you’ll have to make a choice of which bands you want to see. People who live closer to the event are more likely to win a ticket but even so, last year 1/2 Million people applied for 20,000 pairs of tickets, so your not guaranteed a ticket in any case. Good luck.

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Paramore – Bonus acoustic track

Paramore have released an acoustic version of their track ‘Looking up’ from the album Brand New Eyes. As a reward to their fans, after they hit 200,000 members on their site.

Spirits seem high in the band which suffered a hard summer following two of its members leaving. Though rumours of a full band break up were proved to be false, and they are currently hard at work writing and recording a new album.

Hayleys vocals are record-perfect and this clear lite version brings the lyrics of the song to the forefront, whilst keeping its upbeat tempo.

The video is recorded at their Nashville recording space, check it out below.

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Jennifer Aniston goes viral?

Smartwater have went out of their way to try and create the perfect Viral ad. Since being uploaded to Youtube on 7 March, its had 8.5Million views so its going pretty well. From a thousand andrex puppies, to a talking parrot ‘Rachel i love your hair’ it also has dancing babies and a micky take of the internet sensation ‘Double Rainbow’ before closing on Jennifer sexily drinking the water itself to a Baker Street soundtrack. Its the only water ad ive ever watched more than once, and i actually laughed out loud so it must be working pretty well.

Have a looksee below;


What do you think? Are they trying too hard?

Let the world know, in the comments below.

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Free Frank Turner track ‘I Am Disappeared’

Frank Turners new album ‘England Keep My Bones’ is due out on the 6th of June, following a UK tour which starts on May 9th in Stockton’s ARC. The all-round nice guy has battled with his record label, and managed to get one of the tracks leaked early.

He commented “I’ve been champing at the bit to get new material out there. I hate waiting and I’m really excited about it, so i managed to wheedle my label into giving me permission to leak one track, ‘I am Disappeared’, one of my favourites and one that people have been enjoying live. It’s a song about Bob Dylan. It’s a representative of the album as one song could be, though the whole thing is pretty sprawling musically! Now to resist leaking the rest of the songs”

The track is available on to download. Quick quick! Get to

Follow the man himself at

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EMPIRE: Iconic characters..New vision

Not my photos, but i thought this was definately worth a mention.

Empire magazine is celebrating its 20th Birthday, and to celebrate it are running a birthday portfolio in their anniversary edition featuring 27 of the worlds biggest actors. The star studded photo shoots by photographers; Bradley Patrick, Sara Dunn, Keith Bernstein, Adrian Green and Robert Gallagher. See actors returning to their iconic characters one last time. Resulting in striking images, which just make you yearn for the good old days. The long list includes the likes of; Mel Gibson (Braveheart), Viggo Mortenson & Sean Bean (Lord of the rings), Christian Bale (American Psycho), Arnold Shwarzenegger (Terminator) and way more.

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