Friday, 1 February 2008


I saw something online several days ago about a free journalism workshop run by a news writing school in Wimbledon. I decided why not check it out? I did have some burning questions about submitting pieces to publications and work experience etc. It was from 2-5pm with a mini "drinks and chat" session afterwards.

I was surprised how informative and hands-on it was. We had to hand in a breaking news story an hour and a half after receiving the basic information on it. There was an explosion at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. That was our first lead. It slowly progressed over the time period. It was crazy and so authentic. They had a guy bursting in saying "This just in! A source says it was a terrorist attack!" and shoving papers into our face with new leads, which were quickly disposed of ten minutes later after it was discovered that the source was false.

They kept handing us new information every ten minutes via television, statements put out by the Head of Commissions at the Exhibition Centre, calls coming in from eyewitnesses and radio stations, half of which were just lies tying us up into knots as the time wound away. We even had a press conference where we, as journalists, got to ask the remaining unanswered questions.

By the end of it, I had a stack of ten or so odd pages of true and false information and five minutes to condense 500 words to 250. The only thing I think I made a huge mistake with in the beginning was accidentally typing that there were 20 casualties instead of 70, which later ended up being 92, when we finally managed to sift all real sources from fake.

My ending piece turned out great, and just 30 odd words more than the required length. We were told to leave copies of it with them so we could receive feedback on our final product in a couple days. So glad I went and am really looking forward to hearing from them. Best 3 hours of an introduction to anything I've ever had!

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