WINOL: Features Archive

At the age of just 15, Paul Blackburn was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. Presented, edited and produced by Tom Morgan.

Media Law - Year Three Notes Archive

A collection of posts looking at media law, including tips for journalists, case examples and information on the various codes of conduct. Click here for more.

American Election 2012 - US Embassy Report

Myself, Lee Jarvis, Sam Sheard and Kirsty McDonagh spent the evening at the US Embassy as part of WINOL's coverage of the 2012 American election.

Work Experience: The One Show

This blog post serves as a summary of what I got up to during my time at the BBC and also provides some information on how the One Show is run.

Work Experience: PC Advisor

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The first of these placements was at PC Advisor in London.

Work Experience: Basingstoke Gazette

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The second of these placements was at the Basingstoke Gazette.

HCJ Notes Archive: Year One and Year Two

A collection of lecture notes, seminar papers and seminar summaries from Year One and Year Two on the HCJ course at the University of Winchester

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Work Experience: Basingstoke Gazette

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break.

The second of these placements was at the Basingstoke Gazette office in Basingstoke. The Gazette is released three times a week, with the main paper being released on a Thursday. The Monday and Wednesday editions of the paper are smaller in size than the mid-week edition.

On my first day, I was introduced to the team that I would be working with. I was welcomed by the Basingstoke Gazette's editor, Mark Jones, and news editor, Hugh Cadman. I was told that during the week I'd be helping out the Gazette's local reporters, who cover stories ranging from round-ups of local community events and news to court reports and trial summaries.

My first task involved putting together a news story about a charity film competition. Working at the Basingstoke Gazette gave me a strong idea of the importance of working to deadlines on a small, local newspaper. I think one of the most valuable lessons I will take away from the experience is how to write quickly in such a manner that ensures what you're writing still makes sense and is valid to print.

I completed my first story and submitted it to the Basingstoke gazette's news story database, before beginning work on my second story, which involved arranging an interview with a local couple who had just celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary.

I was told to call up the couple and arrange an interview for some time that week. I also needed to book out the Gazette's freelance photographer to accompany me and take a picture of the couple for the article, which would feature on the Gazette's website. Once I had arranged a time for the interview, which would take place on my second day at the Gazette, I competed my third news story.

My third story was about SERV Hampshire's newest edition to its vehicle fleet. The company provides out of hours blood transport to the NHS and was particularly interesting to write about. I was asked to complete the task as quickly as possible and again, once it was finished, submitted it to the Gazette's computer system.

My final task of the day was another news story, this time discussing a historic train that would be passing through Basingstoke later in the year. My news editor asked me to do some research into the event and report back to him. I did some extensive research online and put together a fact sheet, which he was very glad to receive.

On my second day at the Basingstoke Gazette, I got to leave the office and do some work out in the field, which was a refreshing change of scenery, and something that I was used to from my time as a news reporter at WINOL, Winchester News Online.

At the start of the day, I was asked to write another two news stories, the first of which was on the upcoming 'Make a Difference Day'. The second story was a short NIB segment on a local community-run event that involved a walk through the countryside, titled the 'August Amble'. I finished the stories and submitted them to the database. After that, I went with the Gazette's photographer to the house of the couple I was doing the diamond wedding story on.

We arrived at the couple's house and I asked them a couple of questions so I could put together a story of a decent length. I was at their house with the reporter for about an hour, conducting the interview, taking pictures, and having an informal chat about their lives. Once I had all the information I needed, we made our way back to the office and I began to write up the story.

My diamond wedding story was published in the Thursday edition of the Basingstoke Gazette, on August 30th.

Once I had put together the diamond wedding story, I began work on another two stories, one of which was on the Paralympic games, and the other of which was on a local world record attempt.

My third day at the Basingstoke Gazette was perhaps my quietest. The biggest edition of the newspaper goes to print on Wednesday evening, so the news team were particularly rushed. I continued working on press release stories throughout the day and finalised my diamond wedding piece so it was ready to submit to the system.

Thursday at the Basingstoke Gazette was my favourite day. Schools in the local area were releasing GCSE results to students. The entire news team were each assigned to different schools, and I was paired with reporter Richard Garfield to travel to two Basingstoke schools and interview staff members, and students getting their results.

We travelled to the first school on our list and spoke to the headmistress, who took us on a tour of the school and discussed with us her thoughts on this years results. Our chat with the headmistress gave me the opportunity to practice my shorthand, and I jotted down some key quotes which I handed to Richard later in the day.

We got all the information we needed from teachers and pupils at the first site and then repeated the process at the second school. It was great to be in the centre of such an exciting atmosphere gathering content for the Gazette.

On my final day at the Basingstoke Gazette I travelled with chief reporter, Emily Roberts, to Winchester Crown Court. We sat in on two separate trials. I've been to Winchester Crown Court multiple times so I had an idea of what to expect in terms of court proceedings.

Emily was taking shorthand notes as she was running separate stories on both of the trials. I took the opportunity to practice my own shorthand during each trial. It was a fantastic experience to be able to sit in the press box at the trial taking down notes and I thought that considering It had been a while since I had practised my shorthand speed, I did well to jot down vital statistics and quotes.

My experience at the Basingstoke Gazette was invaluable. It taught me of the processes involved with putting together a small local paper, from choosing the stories in the first place, to conducting interviews on location, and submitting them to be looked through by the news editor.

Work Experience: PC Advisor

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break.

The first of these placements was at PC Advisor in London. PC Advisor is a technology magazine that covers the world of gadgets and technology, looking at phones, laptops, tablets and television.

PC Advisor produce a magazine on a monthly basis, and during my placement, the team were finalising content to submit before the magazine went to print.

I was given a variety of tasks during my placement to help out the team. Although the PC Advisor team produce a lot of content for the magazine, my tasks throughout the week were associated with PC Advisor's website. Everything I wrote was looked over, either by a member of the news team or the editor, and then published online, making it directly available to view from the PC Advisor homepage.

On the first day, I arrived at the London office and sat in on the news meeting. It was very similar to the news meetings we have at Winchester News Online. The reporters pitched their ideas to the news editor and the weaker stories were put aside, with the strong ideas being developed further.

I was involved heavily with the discussion during the news meeting and was given a number of tasks to complete during my week at PC Advisor. The team helped identify what I was most confident in writing about and went from there.

After the news meeting, I was thrown straight into producing content for the website. On the first day, I produced a number of articles using information from press releases and PC Advisor's numerous industry contacts.

My first story was about the London 2012 Olympics, and looked at expected mobile phone theft figures. The full story can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here:

I also produced a story on an upcoming software update that was set to arrive for Android mobile phone users. The full story can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here:

Next, I wrote about the newly formed partnership between film-streaming service, Netflix, and TalkTalk. The full story can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here:

After I had completed my news stories, I was asked to do some research into whether or not it was possible to play Windows games on a Mac. I compiled a document with some useful facts and figures that, a couple of days later, I used to form a full how-to guide for the website.

Towards the end of the day, I was shown around PC Advisor's SEO system. I found it quite fascinating to see how the company alters its content to fit current trends in web traffic. It was also interesting to see how traffic was arriving to the PC Advisor website in the first place.

On my second day at PC Advisor, I was asked to write a feature and a product review. I began my day with the product review. PC Advisor editor, Matt Egan, sent me some details regarding a new web application, Timista, which was designed to help people in London organise their time out in the capital.

I was asked to give a fair, honest review, and used a number of devices at PC Advisor such as laptops, tablets and phones to give readers a good idea of how the application performed on each operating system.

My full review of Timista can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here:

After my review was completed, I began work on my feature: an Xbox 720 rumour round-up. I wanted to make sure that what I was writing was accurate, so this feature took up a lot of time on my second day at PC Advisor. I sifted through print interviews, spreadsheets and 'leaked documents' to help me along the way.

My feature was a great success online. A look at the SEO system showed it had been tweeted by over 70 unique users, shared on Facebook multiple times, and had also generated some discussion in the article's comment section. I was very proud of how well the feature was received, and the news team at PC Advisor were quick to congratulate me.

My full Xbox 720 rumour round-up can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here:

On Wednesday, I continued to produce news stories from press releases. I also began to write up my next feature on playing Windows games on a Mac, but this was something I completed the day after.

My how-to guide on Windows gaming can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here:

After completing my how-to guide I published my next news story, which covered the new 7digital music store. The full story can be accessed on the PC Advisor website here:

My final day ended earlier than usual. It was explained to me that for PC Advisor, Friday is the quietest day of the week. After helping to create and send out the weekly article round-up email, which is sent to thousands of PC Advisor subscribers, I was given some feedback about my week.

Matt Egan, PC Advisor editor, said: “"Tom is a talented and self-motivated journalist who produces high-quality content with the minimum of fuss. During his time as an intern with PC Advisor he was energetic, reliable and polite. Tom produced a series of high-quality news, feature and tutorial articles with very little input from the other editors. He was able to take himself off to research complex technical data, and produced copy that was both well-written and informative. Tom would be an excellent addition to any editorial team."

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at PC Advisor. It was fascinating to be a part of, fun to write for, and great to be a part of the team.

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