Friday, 20 July 2012

Farmers Guardian has fun with video - and wins an award

Journalism has never been solely about hard news so it's always good to see examples of B2B titles having a bit of fun.

Farmer's Guardian's Tractor Factor is a great example of this and it deservedly won the AOP Cross-Media Project award on Thursday night.

The brand produced 'Nothing Compares to Ewe' to encourage agricultural-types to enter the Tractor Factor competition by recording their own song and video promoting UK farming.

It's a fun idea, which created loads of community involvement and engagement.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

A few online resources for journalism students

Interesting to see the US-based Online Education Database has compiled its list of the 40 best blogs for journalism students, which included Online Journalism Blog and a host of others, all of which are well worth a look.

In addition to these sources, for anyone starting out or trying to break in to journalism, I also recommend:
Take a look - and why not suggest some others to add?

Monday, 9 July 2012

GAJ/John Deere course attendees get down to work

Course attendees on the Guild of Agricultural Journalists/John Deere
journalism training course hard at work during the morning sessions.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Tweet the course attendees at the Guild of Agricultural Journalists/John Deere training award course #GAJJD12

The Guild of Agricultural Journalists/John Deere training course kicks off on Sunday evening at John Deere UK HQ, Langar, Nottinghamshire.
The good news is that some of the course attendees have already begun to connect via social media.
Keen tweeters who will be taking part in the journalism sessions include David Acock ‏and Becca Veale
And the latest to connect are Twitter newcomer Louise Hartley and Harper Adams agri-food marketing student Sophie Cawley.

Why not follow and keep in touch with course events? I'll be using the hastag #GAJJD12.                                                                                                              

Video: Watch sports journalists in action

Hat-tip to Martin Green for tweeting this link to a video of a group of football reporters raiding a fridge full of free beer at the Euro 2012 championships.

Reportedly, it took just three minutes to empty the fridge, demonstrating that years of hard journalistic training have certainly paid-off.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

What's the future for paid-for content?

This interesting video from Paid Content features managing director Rob Grimshaw and Tomas Bella, ceo of Piano Media, talking about the future of online content payments plus some other trends in paid-for content.

Worth a listen.

Semi-colons in the spotlight

The semi-colon has been getting more than its fair share of publicity over the last few weeks. 

Writer and poet Michael Rosen recently took a pot shot at what he calls semi-colon terrorism. He was responding to proposals to introduce grammar tests to English primary schoolsHis question was how can teachers get the idea of correct semi-colon use over to a class of 11-year-olds? 

The debate continued on the other side of the Atlantic. According to Ben Dolnick in the New York Times author Kurt Vonnegut's maxim was:
Do not use semi-colons...All they do is show you've been to college.
Dolnick followed Vonnegut's advice until recently but now begs to differ. (Hat-tip to Patrick Neylan for the link).

Personally, I use semi-colons as little as possible. I tend to find myself siding with Vonnegut's point of view when we cover the subject on the regular business writing and editorial courses I run.

Of course, semi-colons have a use. But in most writing where the aim is simple, direct communication - such as in journalism or business documents - I feel you're nearly always better off with a full stop and a new sentence. Besides, not all readers understand them anyway.

Not sure how to use a semi-colon? Take a look at these tips from The Oatmeal plus a few thoughts from Grammar Girl.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

All set for Guild of Agricultural Journalists/John Deere journalism training course 2012

GAJ-JD Training 2011 2
GAJ/John Deere journalism training course attendees, 2011
I've spent some time over the last couple of days putting the final touches to the annual Guild of Agricultural Journalists' training course, which is sponsored by John Deere.

I'm no agricultural expert myself, but each year I teach journalism sessions at John Deere UK HQ for students and graduates with agriculture and horticulture backgrounds. 

Over a couple of days attendees are introduced to core journalism skills including writing, interviewing and copy-editing for print and online. Course host and John Deere PR consultant, Steve Mitchell, teaches the PR segment of the programme.

The course is followed by a few days' work experience on a variety of industry titles, which Steve organises for attendees. Attendees also complete a post-course assignment to write a news story. The best entry wins the John Deere award trophy plus £250 in prize money

Course graduates who've opted to pursue a media career following the sessions have gone on to work for magazines, newspapers, websites and PR companies across the agriculture and horticulture sectors.

As always, I'm really looking forward to working with this year's attendees. We begin on Sunday evening with an introductory talk - followed, of course, by a few drinks.

Where have you been?

The calm before the course: training room in New Jersey
Oops. Long time, no JLB post. You see, I've been a bit busy.  Doesn't sound like a great excuse but, honestly, June was a hectic month.

First of all there were editorial training courses to run in London and in Shrewsbury, followed by a heavy load of marking journalism assignments and media law exams for students at Southampton Solent University.

Then I jetted out to New Jersey to run some editorial workshops and social media sessions with the legal editors at  The great news is they've just won their first award.

And I spent most of last week running a series of one-day media law refresher sessions for editorial staff and teams.

Today, I've been completing the prep for my annual session on the Guild of Agricultural Journalists/John Deere training course while keeping half an eye on the latest developments in the progress of the Defamation Bill.

I should have made time to blog at some point, but sometimes it all gets too much.