Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

Would you hire you?

Posted in Entrepreneurial Journalism by Adam Westbrook on June 6, 2011

Imagine you’re an editor at an event, and a plucky young journalism student introduces themselves. 

After a little bit of chat, they hand you this card. Would you hire them?

Obviously it would be cool to have someone called Don Draper working in your newsroom (assuming you had a lax ‘No Smoking’ policy); but that aside it’s not a very grabbing advertisement. Yet I see countless student journalists who refer to themselves on their own websites, twitter feeds or blogs as an “aspiring journalist”.

When I trained at City University in London, one of the first things we were told by the then head of department Adrian Monck was that we were, from that moment on, journalists, and were to start thinking like journalists.

Now repeat the scenario, and this time, imagine they hand you this card:

Would you call them in for an interview now? And what about if they handed you this card?

All three cards belong to the same person, except now they’re selling their skills and experience a lot better. They’ve also got rid of their hotmail account, learned some basics of design & typography, and forked out for professional domain name.

The point is, no-one knows how good you are unless you tell them.  Boldly, and with confidence.

Journalism is not law or medicine: you won’t get hauled before a council for saying you’re a journalist without the right qualifications to back you up. I once saw Peaches Geldof introduce herself as a journalist, so really, anyone can do it.

As the exams and coursework deadlines come and go, don’t undermine all that hard work and training by selling yourself short. 


Journalism’s “fame academy” gets blogging

Posted in Adam, Broadcasting and Media, Journalism by Adam Westbrook on January 15, 2009

It’s good to see a whole raft of postgraduate journalism students at City University now with their own blogs.

City – or the “fame academy of journalism” as it was once described – is  recognised as Britain’s leading school of journalism, a nudge ahead of  Cardiff, Westminster and Leeds Trinity All Saints.

It’s got top names, like Adrian Monck, Stewart Purvis and Roy Greenslade on its books, and more household names in its alumni than you can mention here.

But when I was there just two years ago, there was just one student blogging: me.  In fact the internet – although recognised as a valuable research tool – was somewhat sidelined in the curriculum.


Instead we focussed on getting the skills and the art of traditional TV and radio nailed.

But over the road at Westminster, almost every student was blogging, and under the tuition of David Dunkley-Gyimah producing TV and radio content online. Learning how to produce a single story three ways, not to mention the valuable art of Video Journalism.

Now I don’t think any students in my year suffered from that, but you couldn’t help but feel City might suddenly find itself out of date.

However, the numbers of student blogs of this years intake, including:  Shona Ghosh, Ali Plumb, Beth Mellor (all of whom I’ve met in various places), Abigail Edge, Claire Dickinson, James Bray, Lara King, Tommy Stubbington…suggests the internet has moved up the agenda in EC1. And rightly so.

I’d be interested to know what any of the above, or any other current City hacks think about the courses online credentials: get in touch!