Reflection Eight (Final Reflection)

I feel that I have acquired various new skills whilst producing my assignments.

When gathering research for my articles I discovered it can sometimes be hard to get information from people. I had problems arranging a face to face an interview with the council and therefore had to resort to email. This was easily resolves so was therefore did not affect my assignment. I also faced problems when trying to gather information through an online survey as I struggled to get as many participants as I had hoped. However I still included this data as planned as it was evidence that supported my article.


Whilst producing my assignments I became more comfortable with approaching people for research. I acquired a confident and polite approach to interviews, both face to face and via email or telephone.  This is a skill that I was excited to practise and I really enjoyed meeting and talking with new people to gather a variety of opinions. I feel I managed my time well and this assignment has taught me to keep up to date with work and to follow a structured plan. I am very pleased with my final assignments.


Reflection Seven

Last week I received feedback on my blog so far from my course tutors. The general feedback was positive and the layout approved. The feedback has taught me to sub-edit my work more thoroughly before publishing it and to consult the style handbook when doing so. I have also taken on board advice to keep on top of reflecting my work as doing this straight away will ensure I reflect more accurately. Some slight grammar mistakes were pointed out which, again, has shown me the importance of reading over my work and editing it before publishing it.

Over the last nine weeks I have tried to manage my time fairly well, spacing out my work and ensuring I write my reflections within a week. I have learnt it is vital to attend all sessions and if not, catching up is imperative. I want to ensure I don’t fall behind so have been catching up out of class on any work not completed in class. I feel it is hard jumping between work from all modules when studying out of class so try to focus on one aspect of work at a time.

If I could go back to week one of the course, I would tell myself to keep on top of work and to constantly be looking ahead as to what I can incorporate in my work to come. I have also learnt to sub-edit every aspect of my work as easy mistakes can be made and this resolves them.

When given assigned tasks to write articles, I have struggled at first to think of topics. However, I now know that as a journalist, it is imperative to note down ideas as they come to you to. This will mean I won’t forget ideas or struggle to think of stories.


Reflection Six

Curation is a form of journalism that allows you to select, organise and present information using professional or expert knowledge. Sources such as social media sites and blogs can be used to do this. I am interested in this aspect of journalism as it adds an alternative format and may not be as conventional as some written articles.

List articles are a way of presenting information or news in a list format. They often have powerful, attention-grabbing headlines and include images attracting the reader. I feel they are affective today as it is known that readers often skim read lengthy articles. The short format of list articles makes it quicker and easier for the reader to obtain the information that they want. They are usually available on social media, making them easy to access on the go. They are also often shared by readers through social media and blogs, making them widely read.

This week I have began to progress my first assignment. I have learnt that it is not necessarily easy to gather primary sources as some individuals I wanted to speak to were unavailable. However, I have learnt to find ways around this and I have still found exciting research for my article. At first, I struggled to decide on a definite headline. I came over this by brain storming ideas and taking my time to decide an appropriate headline. I have learnt not to rush such decisions as it can be vital to the end article.

Reflection Five

After missing last weeks workshop on sub-editing, due to illness, I was unable to sub-edit someone else’s work and have them sub-edit mine. I have therefore since re-read and edited my own article, a common occurrence in modern journalism today.
This process has ensured that there are no spelling or grammar mistakes and that what I have written makes full sense. It is also a good way to reduce the word count as you realise a lot of smaller words are not necessary.
It is important, when editing someone else’s work, to ensure you don’t change their writing style or destroy their work. I used the 5 reads when editing my own work and found this made my sub-editing thorough and reliable.

I inserted an appropriate image into the sub-edited article using the ‘Add Media’ button. I prefer to centre images as I feel this appears more appealing to the eye without looking cluttered. It also separates the text from media, making it easier to read.  When selecting an image off the internet, it is important to use only those ‘labelled for non commercial reuse with modification’ under the user rights tab. You are then able to save the image into your own file and insert it into a post.

JPEG (joint photographic expert’s group) supports 16.7 million colours per image. It is accepted as the default format for photos on the web because it has small compression/file size and it is supported in all web browsers. Majority of cameras write to JPEG, making it a compatible and universal file type to use online.

Reflection Four

Secondary and primary sources

primary source is material that you gather yourself. It is an original source of research e.g. Quoting an interview you conducted with someone yourself. Talking to people and interviewing is the main way of gathering information via primary source, both on and off the record.

secondary source is an article, document or report that is used as source material for another article e.g. Quoting another article, journal or book to support an argument. It is a secondary source if the content is gathered or produced by someone else.

Why are primary sources important in journalism?

Using primary sources ensures the content is reliable and more authentic. The reader is more likely to trust the source if it is original and knows where it came from.

Interview Tips

The main thing I took away from the interview tips given in Karl’s lecture was how to act when conducting an interview. It is important to have a non-aggressive style and to be polite, empathetic and charming.

You also need to ensure you turn up equipped . Prep is key. Take the appropriate tools and have questions (open ended) ready.

Ensure that you listen as this is the vital key to gathering content from an interview. Always remain professional but relaxed enough to make the interviewee feel comfortable.

Reflection Three

Differences between traditional, printed content and online content

Traditional and printed content is restricted, with less space to play with. Therefore the layout is generally more compact and less spacious, making it less appealing to the eye and often harder to read. Paragraphs of online content can be shorter as there is often limitless space, making it less challenging for the reader compared to printed content.

Images are more accessible online as there is more space and it is often easier to avoid copyright rules compared to when physically printing image.

Online, links to further pages can be used to give extra information or advertise, whereas printed content has restricted advertisement space and can’t lead the reader to an alternative source.

Websites sub-editors may find useful? This journalism website has a specific online catalogue of terms that would be useful to anyone working in field, especially a sub editor.
Although sub editors have their own ways of checking pieces of writing for plagiarism, this website is a quick and easy way to ensure no copyright laws are being broken as well as highlighting any major grammatical errors.  

Jakob Neilsen suggests that around 79% of web users simply scan content..

Large bulks of text are harder to read and are often skim read to save time. Short, sharp sentences help readers scan the text for the necessary information.

Sub headings and images may catch the readers attention, keep them engaged and make them want to read the article. On the other hand some readers may get a story by only looking at the images and headings without reading any of the text.

Neilson is suggesting that writers need to take this into consideration when writing, making it engaging and easy to read.

Reflection Two

Being new to WordPress, I struggled to get used to the layout of the site. At first I found it hard to add categories to my blog. However, after asking my module tutor, Katie, for help, it seemed fairly simple. I feel this is necessary as it organises my blog, making it easier for the reader to navigate.

I found it complicated to change the layout and themes on WordPress as the dashboard was complicated to use. However after finding an alternative way to access the dashboard, I felt it was much more user-friendly. I used trial and error experimenting with different themes, before deciding which style I liked. I chose an appropriate header,  a vibrant photograph I took in summer in Burano, Italy.

I changed the font styles and sizes from the defaults to make text appear clearer and more professional.

I took away from Karl’s lecture the basic rules of copyright. I now know you need permission to use someone else’s images, which is why I used an original photograph taken by myself as the header for my blog. Considering my love for photography, I intend to use only my own images on my blog or grant permission and state their source if this is not always possible.

Reflection One

Over the past few weeks, my view of Journalism has been confirmed. However, my understanding of the different aspects of the industry has improved and I have learnt what a broad subject it is. I have been inspired by the professionals around me, providing their own advice and experiences whilst teaching. The most shocking thing for me was during the introductory lecture when senior lecturer ‘Sean Dodson’ told us that only 20% of undergraduates in the room would actually become journalists. These stats surprised me as it taught me what a harsh and competitive industry I will be entering into.

Over the next 10 weeks I am excited to start creating my own work, using new techniques/technology and meeting new people. As well as writing about things that interest me, I am excited to stretch my mind to new and challenging areas of journalism as I feel it is important to have a wide range of experience. I know I have made the right decision in my course choice as I will be practicing  transferable skills over the next three years that will help me further my career, no matter what area of journalism I choose to pursue.