Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Journalism training gets underway for #GAJJD13 students

#GAJJD13 course attendees discuss journalism skills
The annual Guild of Agricultural Journalists/John Deere training course is underway.

Attendees have been practising writing and interviewing skills - and a few have already been tweeting about it.

In the remaining sessions we'll do more writing and also look at online content.

If you want to find out what they've been saying, take a look at tweets from Hannah Lloyd, Nick Drew and Miranda Janatka. Or keep an eye on events via the hashtag #GAJJD13.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Looking forward to #GAJJD13 at John Deere UK

I've just returned from doing some work with the PR and internal communications at John Deere in Mannheim, Germany. They gave me this model of one of their products as a gift.

So what's next? A trip to John Deere's UK base in Langar, Nottingham for the annual John Deere Guild of Agricultural Journalists journalism training course.

Agricultural and horticultural students and others from the sector who want to get into journalism or PR will be attending the course from Monday 15th to Wednesday 17th July to learn about basic journalism and PR skills in print and online.

I plan to tweet about it while I'm there in between training delivery sessions. And I'm hoping some of the participants will be posting tweets and update too. Follow us using the hashtag #GAJJD13.

Think first, then write: Structure is the key to clear writing

Another day, another country, another training room...
I'm lucky enough to have run journalism, PR and general English business writing skills courses not just in the UK but also in Singapore, the USA and Europe.

On my most recent trip to run a workshop for English-speaking PR and internal communications staff in Mannheim, Germany I noticed once again that training rooms like this one (right) are the same the world over. Some are large, some are small. Some have windows, some don't. Some are high-tech, some no-tech. But they're all similar.

And the writing challenges are the same too. Yes, some attendees have the added challenge of writing in their second language. And, as someone whose rubbish at foreign languages, I'm always incredibly impressed by their fluency in speech and writing.

But, that aside, the issues we always talk about are:
1. What does the reader need to know?
2. How can I write more effective plain English sentences?
3. How can I say just enough -but not too much?

One very important issue the team and I discussed in the session during the couple of days I spent in Mannheim was this: Clear writing is about clear thinking. 

If you think before you write you will come up with a clearer structure. Structure provides the framework, not just for an effective piece of writing on the whole, but also for each sentence and paragraph.

When you sit down to write it's all too easy to just start typing immediately, which means you'll be doing you're thinking on-screen. Instead, take a few moments to plan your piece. It should make the editing process easier too, which will save time overall.

Time spent thinking is time well spent.