Friday, 16 April 2010

How to get a job on Autosport

This video is part of a Masterclass from Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide focusing on on what consumer magazines have to offer newly qualified journalists. It features Simon Strang, Autosport's online editor. You'll find the full Masterclass package here.

First off, says Simon, you should get a solid grounding in journalism on a local newspaper.

And develop your knowledge of the sport: “You have to know your subject, and way beyond just Formula 1. You need a passion and a drive. It’s the least 9 to 5 career imaginable and unless you are totally committed you won’t make it, because you are competing with plenty of people who have that level of commitment.”

In contrast to FourFourTwo, there is much less opportunity for untried and untested freelances to win a commission. At Autosport, they tend to work with a band of writers they have known for a long time and who have great experience.

So how can you get a look in? Try to get a work experience stint on the title.

Simon says: “You need work experience, and to make it work for you.

“Pitch in, make sure you are memorable, not just someone skulking in the corner of the office."

It's young journalists who get noticed who they think of when a vacancy arises.

As Simon explains in the video, Autosport really invests in the young journalists it takes on.

They start on the national desk which, Simon says, in football parlance is like the conference league; it covers the sport at a grass roots level.

There they meet the drivers and engineers who will progress up the sport. They get to know them and build a relationship that will be hugely valuable when they move on to cover the more senior levels. A relationship of trust will have built up.

How to get a job on FourFourTwo

Gary Parkinson, online editor of FourFourTwo gave this advice as part of a Masterclass on opportunities for newly-qualified journalists in consumer magazines/websites.
You'll find the full Masterclass at Multimedia Journalism: A Practical Guide.

Gary Parkinson believes it is easer to make it as a football writer than it was when he set out: “At the risk of being an old fart it’s a lot easier these days, because you can submit stuff, you won't get paid but it will get run and your name will get known if you are any good.

“I can think of three people who got jobs around the industry on the strength of references based on what they have done for FourFourTwo.

“The website of a title such as FourFourTwo involves a mass of work to be done and they need work experience, placements to get it done.”

In the video Gary explains that the number of outlets gives you huge opportunity to show what you can do and, hopefully, get noticed.

He has views on the sort of journalism qualification you need. Should it be a sports journalism degree or postgrad qualification?

He thinks a more general journalism degree is better. As he says: "I've covered everything from architecture to Arsenal". Who knows what skills he might need in the future.

And, while paper qualifications are important, it’s your demonstration of how you can do the job that is really vital.

Gary's advice: be proactive, pitch ideas to FourFourTwo and other magazines.

A pitch for FourFourTwo should be: “Precise and concise, two maybe three paragraphs long, explaining what the idea is, how you’ll expand on it, who you’ll interview, what length and what angle it could take.

“Because it could be that somebody likes the idea but you’re pitching it as a jokey thing and he might think it’s deadly serious. So, be flexible, but also give ideas. Basically, look for reasons to be hired.

“Add links to show what you have done – have a blog or a YouTube channel."

Tuesday, 13 April 2010 brings Twitter closer to perfection

We all know Twitter's shortcomings, but we tend to overlook them because of its  great strengths.

Chief among them is the tap-always-on aspect. The tweets just keep flowing and, if you follow hundreds of people, as most of us do, then even with the use of Hootsuite, Tweetdeck etc to dam the important ones into pools you can dip into later, plenty of them are still washed away without you ever being aware of them.

I'm not suggesting is the complete answer, but it is one very interesting one. It takes a snapshot of your Twitter stream each day, and turns it into what it calls a daily newspaper. I'm not sure why they've called it that rather than a daily news website, which is what it looks like.

I've only been experimenting with it today, so there are a lot of questions about how it selects items that I can't answer for now. But what it creates is impressive.

Here's a grab of mine

It's interesting to see the categories that it selects for tweets in your stream. I found it valuable in alerting me to significant tweets that I wanted to retweet, but which I'd have missed if it weren't for this application.

One of the many things I like about it is how it mirrors the areas I try to cover in my tweets. Among them: jobs, media and technology, as below.

I was alerted to the app by, which has been checking their out today too, and was equally impressed.