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For two weeks I would take part in two vastly different types of work experience. Week one would be at a very popular, national car magazine and the second placement would take place in a small local newspaper.This diary captures the experiences of a professional work environment for the first time as a journalist in busy London capital and a sleepy Midland city.

The first week I stayed in London with a friend.

 

 

I awoke with the same urgency as any man after a night of heavily spiced Bangladeshi curries and legged it to the toilet. This would become a recurring theme throughout the day.

With a little more preparation the night before, I was ready for the commute to the far west side of London slightly earlier today. The trains were all running to time and I never felt the urge to leap off in a moments panic. Oh no. I was now a veteran of the big city rush, I never had to pace, jog or run to any train.

I read an interesting comment piece in this morning’s Metro about people getting ready for work on the way to work and how there must be so much hair, plucked eyebrows, shaving remnants and nail clippings from a regular travellers morning routine before work flying around, we must be travelling in gross, unsanitary conditions. It may be simply because I read this article, but I certainly did notice a lot more people doing exactly this.

I arrived at work slightly early but with good intent. I completed the list of ideas for the facebook timeline from the day before and wrote a news item that I had found. This took a little under an hour, slightly longer than it took me to write the story from the day before. I had been asked to do the one from yesterday and I felt more pressure but today’s story was produced under appropriate conditions. instead of simply doing it I felt more pressured, more on that later.

I was then asked to fill out some car specifications on a road test article going in to next week’s magazine. This was far more complicated than just transferring data in to the correct column.

Of course I knew what none of this data meant so simply finding the right heading for the information to be published under was hard enough. I eventually found out that some of the information isn’t available in the press release and that I have to complete the boxes myself. How I was supposed to know how to calculate power to weight ratio or a car’s drag coefficiency rating I have no idea.

Much of the sheet was not filled in but I don’t think he was expecting me to be able to complete it as he asked me to make a list of what I couldn’t find so he can go back and do it. I haven’t received feedback on what I did or didn’t do well.

Some feedback that I did eventually get was one of the news stories I had written the day before. It turns out, it was shit. I took completely the wrong angle on the story and I let all my basic news-writing, upside-down pyramid techniques go out the window and it showed when he returned it to me. The piece was astonishingly awful. On the plus side, a different story I had written earlier in the day was put online, admittedly with a large amount of subbing but that is what sub-editors get paid to do. Still, I have to work on this.

Tomorrow it seems the picture editor is not in and I will be taking over a number of his duties. A large part of his job seems to be cropping images which I will hopefully have no problem doing as he showed me the ropes a little. A hugely interesting moment was being taken to the archives. The first car magazines even before the 1900’s were all bound and categorised in to large folders and books. I then continued my tour through a maze in to the image catalogue. Equally as colossal and just as precious, the printed images are stored in files of film that can be scanned on to the computer and in to a magazine.

On my way home I was due to meet Kyle and his workmates at his company pub quiz. My arrival was late and the quiz was in full flow, suitably enough as I would have otherwise stuck out like a short plump ugly child at a Nazi Youth camp. Not only did I not look the part being the only one not in an expensive high-powered suit, I quite clearly was not the intellectual match of the gentlemen that rounded out the quiz team. This lack of focused knowledge and expanse of general knowledge served me well in a pub quiz and when the team chose to ignore my request to change an answer (that would have been marked correctly) I got their attention. My moment came on the music round – where else? The theme was matching the song title to the artist with a colour in their name. Our team had 13/13 on this round that would be the catalyst to move us from a bottom-dweller to a respectable middle of the pack finisher.

At the close of the quiz Kyle offered me to view his office, it was the sky-scraper at the end of the street. In order to be let in I had to pass security clearance. At such a late hour there weren’t many heavies I had to fight pass. We then got in to the marble elevator to rise to the 35th floor. The office was an open plan with a 360-degree panoramic view of the city of London. Its walls were 100% glass and it provided views of St Paul’s Cathedral, the gherkin, the BT Tower, as well as ever other visible landmark you associate with the elite London power system.

Kyle’s friend offered to take us to the Cambridge and Oxford Club tomorrow, a toffs association similar to Wightes, an exclusive club full of aging pompous elitists, an opportunity that cannot be missed and may deserve an entirely unique blog post or feature at some point.

In the meantime I continued to enjoy the view as there are not many occasions that an artsy bugger like me will be able to view one of the world’s most important cities from the view of one of the most important business in the world.

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Lisa Fitzgibbon

Lisa Fitzgibbon is a veteran of folk music; fronting the Power Folk band for many years, but now she wants to focus on making Something Beautifulas the musical director of her new global fusion band Moonshee.

With my band, The Lisa Fitzgibbon Quartet/Quintet/Trio/whatever the line-up, I’ve been working with my fiddle player, Jane Griffiths for 15 years now, so we’re so ingrained. My bass player is her husband, and his brother is the guitarist, and they’ve been playing together their whole lives. They can do what they want on-stage because they are so in tune with each other. We’ve done tours, productions, gigs, we’ve played on the back of trucks, we’ve played on main stage festivals and the little clubs and bars. Was I bored of it? Maybe. If you eat pie all day, you get bored of pie. You want to change the palette a little bit.

I quite like the contrast of the responsibility from Moonshee to my other projects. I like that I’m not the person at the front, I’m in the engine room. I spend my energy on the band and I let the girls, Amy McAllister and Rachel Button, front Moonshee. It’s quite liberating. Mitel Purohit (sitar) and Jonathan Mayer (tabla) are the sound of the band and Joelle Barker (percussion) had a relationship with the record label and we thought it’d be nice to mix her in. It’s been a natural process.

It’s a fusion of the English/ Irish and a bit of Indian folk. The concept is east meets west storytelling that’s been handed down by generation, whether it’s the story, or the music or the style of playing. It definitely comes from an English and Irish folk perspective and its specifically fused with the rhythms and in some respects the harmonies of the Indian sound. Moonshee is still a relatively new project, it’s only a year old but the potential is definitely there. It’s like a cricket team or a football team; you’ve got to play the game to find out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s going to be nice to see that unravel in a more natural way.

Jonathan came up with the name; it has a mystical side to what we do. A Moonshee is a mystical storytelling entity with Hindu and Arabic origins, it has a feminine slant to it and the band is primarily female, which is quite good fun. We don’t have a big enough profile yet to get a call from Amnesty International or play for Oxfam. We’re not really a political sect, more a unite-through-music global band. The point of it is to make something beautiful. To make music as beautiful as possible. That’s what I’d like to achieve.

I still do my own Lisa Fitzgibbon stuff, and I have other writing projects on, I still have my students and run a gardening business with my husband. As creatures, as human beings we need a lot of entertaining. I’m the kind of person who needs to have several things going on or I just get bored. I’m happy with Moonshee and I’ve got a couple of other projects on, so I’m pretty busy really. You have to have your hands in many pies don’t you?

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Why we have to call it the Americanised ‘semester’ is beyond me. Whats wrong with a term? We’ll be saying ‘Fall’ instead of Autumn soon.

Anywho, the second semester started yesterday with a false start. M45MC, still not sure what that class entails, was cancelled because the January starters wouldn’t have enrolled in time. So we picked up in the afternoon with Andrew Noakes and John Lister talking us through print media jargon in M43MC, a.k.a. Multiplatform Journalism 2.

Advertorial – Looks like a feature, paid for by an advertising company. Usually the feature should legally tell the reader this but it doesn’t always happen. It will often be along the lines of ‘best trainers for road running’ or an obvious example is the Philadelphia cheese feature.

Alignment – This is those three boxes in the toolbar on a ‘Word’ document where you can change the writing to be on the left, in the centre, or on the right. You can go in to specifics on Adobe Indesign like “ragged right” which will be explained later.

Ascender – Letters like; b, d and any others that have bits that stand up above a basic shape of the letter.

Baseline – The bottom of the basic letter.

Bleed – Anything that runs of the edge of the page. Often photos or images will run of the edge to ensure that it fills the whole page. If you crop the image at to the edge, it may in fact be too small when the pages are cut at the printing press.

Body Copy – Main Article text, can also be used in reference to style/size/content

Boxout – A box with extra information about the subject of the article that may not have been able to be worked into the narrative of the feature.

CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The four colours used when printing newspapers and magazines.

Descender – You know ascender? Opposite.

DPI – Dots per inch. Usually for images you’ll have 300 dots per inch (or 288 to be precise), and for online its 72

DPS – Double Page Spread, the even number is usually on the left

Drop capital – Capital letter that starts features, usually takes up 3 or 5 lines of text.

Editorial – Usually the Editors introduction to a magazine, but sometimes its referred to anything that isn’t an advertorial

Em, en, x-height – Width of the letter m, width of the letter n, height of the letter x

Facing editorial/matter – An ad page that’s next to an editorial or matter page.

Flannel Panel – The list of contributors and editors of the magazine, its usually on the first page.

Flatplan – The magazine laid out on a giant piece of paper how it will be read.

Folio – Numbers on the page

Footer – Small text in bottom corners of pages with the magazine name or the section you are currently in.

Full Bleed – Image that bleeds off 3 or more sides

Gatefold – A fold out advert

GSM – Grams per square meter – weight of each page

Gutter – Space between columns

H&J’s – Hyphenation and justification

Imagesetter – Machine that produces the film used in old printing systems, doesn’t really get used in modern printing.

Imposition – Where pages have to be on the flat plan, so when the flat plan is folded up into the magazine sized product, the pages will be in the right place.

Indent – where there is a gap at the start of the text

IBC, IFC – Inside back cover, inside front cover

Justified – The text lining up on a particular side of the copy so it is easier to read.

like

this

Kerning – The space between individual characters

Landscape – Wider than it is tall

Leading – The space between each base line underneath the text; like this __

      and this __

Leader – Can be a leading article or;

Lines or dots in between information and data like; John………………. 27

Leading article – Your main magazine story, usually on the front cover

Lede – Introductory paragraph, sometimes called a standfirst

Loose inserts – leaflets that are paid adverts or can often be subscription offers for the magazine

Literals – Spelling mistakes, typos

Litho, lithography – Type of printing process

Masthead – Title and logo of the magazine that should be instantly recognisable to fans, it can occasionally be used to describe the flannel panel.

OBC, OFC – Outside back cover, outside front cover

Orphan, widow – The end of a paragraph where the final word is forced on to a new line or forced to start a new column.

Overmatter – too much text

Page furniture – Stuff on every single page

Pagination – How many pages

Pass – Process which a page is OK’d for printing

Perfect binding – squared off binding, like a paperback book.

Plate – Aluminuium sheet used in printing process with an image of the page in its final draft.

Points – Typeset sizes, one point is 1/72 nd of an inch.

Portrait – Taller than it is wide.

Pre-flighting – high-res PDF of the final copy

Proof – The thing that you check.

pp – Pages rather than page.

Ragged right – Where the text is aligned equally along the left hand side but on the right hand side it is staggered.

Rebate – Little white line if image doesn’t fit into a specified frame size

Registration – Each colour of CMYK being printed in the right position

Repro – Taking the InDesign product and giving it to the printer.

RGB – Red, blue, green. Colours that register on a computer or television moniter.

Roman – Normal weight font as oppose to bold or italic

Rule – a line

Run of paper – When an advert doesn’t have a specific place in the paper

Saddle stitching – A stapled form of binding

Sans – Font type where the edges of letters that are shaped like the rest of the letter like Helvetica font

Screamer – Exclamation point

Section – a section of the magazine like news or feature, but also used in refered to how many pages can be printed together on one flatplan sheet.

Sell – Something that sells the magazine, or something that sells the article.

Serif – Font type where the edges of letters are tipped with stylistic flicks that intend to lead you on to the next letter, common in Times New Roman.

Set Solid – the same point type as the point lead.

Signature – Number of pages printed together

Special position Particular place for adverts like IFC

Spread – often called a double page spread

Standfirst – The first paragraph of an article that is intended to draw the reader in.

Solus – Have only one advert on the page

Stock – Roll of paper

Story – An article, but also the story within the article.

Sub – Someone who edits work, or the process of editing work.

Thwack Factor – How substantial the magazine feels, how much oomph it has as a physical product.

Tracking – Spaces between characters in text.

Typo – mistyping.

Web – Big roll of paper going through the printing press.

WOB – White on black, or light type on dark background.

wp – Whole page

 

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For the Multiplatform journalism module, what we’ve been working on in class is what we will actually be handing in. The term has been split between a number of varied points of interest, and making a magazine.

This initial magazine isn’t going to be published or read, unless of course you guys want to as I will be posting it here.

Yesterday after our M42MC exam prep we spent the entire day focused on pulling together our magazine.

We had all written pieces, and we thought it would be enough to fill the 24 pages, but we hadn’t. Part of this was my fault I failed to write a winter piece but we still had some blank pages. At 17.45 we collectively agreed that realistically we had taken as much learning out of this magazine as we could. What is important is how we act on this now. Today I am going to re-write and re-establish roles in the team stating specifically what each person does and when it should be done by etc.

If this is done then we can start working straight away and prioritising certain stories. This should make the whole process a bit smoother. I will upload these job specifications later.

winmag-1

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The magazine is not a marked entity in Multiplatform Journalism, but it is a necessary practice for when we are marked on the magazine product next year, when we will also have it printed.

This week was focused entirely on production. The main focus of the lecture was putting together a flatplan for the magazine. This is the content order spread across the entire publication.

We had previously put together a flat-plan in our collective meeting last Friday which was lucky as we were very low on numbers. What myself and Ben did was productive. I proofread Ben’s article and completed my own whilst Ben hunted down some press releases.

We will be meeting again this Friday to discuss theme and page layouts, it would be a good idea to put our ideas into production as well as the final project needs to be completed by Friday.

We are marked on the process of putting together the magazine. We will have to evaluate where we went wrong, how we could have improved and what we will do next term to improve on this.

We will also be marked on 6 journalistic outputs. I have yet to decide which ones I will be using but we have to review why we produce each piece in a certain way in reference to our audience/publication etc.

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