I have had a couple of pleasant days talking to students who have returned from work placements. They have come back more confident, feeling like real journalist, after using the reporting skills we have been encouraging them to develop since the autumn.
They are happy and more convinced than ever that they want to be journalists, largely because they have been trusted to do real work both print and online. A big “thank you” to all the people at papers, magazines and agencies who have encouraged and helped them.
In one of the tutorials I was reminded of the story Richard Burton told recently about marking one lad’s work in which he circled “retail outlets and residential units” and wrote in the margin “shops? flats?”. Then he read the cutting of the page lead the story had become and it included retail outlets and residential units.
One student was showing me an impressive collection of cuttings from two weeks at a local paper when my eye lit on a caption story. Under a picture of two people it announced the were “sharing a joke”. It was, I suggested, a rather tired old cliche and she could have found something more informative.
I should have seen the smile that was forming on her face and understood before she said: “It was written in by the sub.” That’s journalism!