March. Well, the flew fast, didn’t it? And, in summary, it can be summed up in one quote: “Learn from your mistakes”.

Reading, writing, media consumption: 

I slacked on the reading front-and I’m behind on the 100 books in a year target. I read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and The Reckoning, a book that comes out in May. I also started reading The Vanity Fair Diaries by Tina Brown; I have not finished yet.
I’ve slacked on the writing front; I contributed various pieces to The Growing Up Guide. I also sent a book and album review to a local magazine; I also passed on another album review to a different magazine. I’m not sure if they have been published at the time of writing-but I’ll update this post if they are.
Similarly, I am also starting to put together some freelance work; more on that soon.
I was also lucky enough to take part in a Hacked Off event. (“Oooh, controversial”  I hear you say.)

On The Blog:

Looking back at March, the content that was viewed the most was quite surprising. The interview with Jenna Farmer, blogging guru and freelance journalist, was the most read piece. This was followed by my book review of Untold. (My favourite post, though, was “A birthday Wishlist”; I turned nineteen this month, and it was fun to write-frivolous, a departure from the usual, more intense posts.)
There is also an interesting brand collaboration coming up; stay tuned on Twitter to see it.

NCTJ:

There has been some exciting developments on this front!
First of all, I started the Public Affairs module; this is essentially all about how the UK works-with a constitution (unmodified), Parliament, the Monarch. The first year of my politics A level was essentially all about this-so it’s good to revive old knowledge and an interest.
We also went on a ‘field trip’ to the local court; post coming about that soon.
We’re also approaching the one hundred words a minute exam. (Eeek!) The law exams also had (I think all of my class) in trepidation, nervous at the results; the exam was harsh, in our *humble* opinion.
However; I passed sixty words a minute Shorthand!

How was March for you?

Lydia x

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Yesterday, I was in London for two events, both held by Hacked Off. As this blog is a way for me to document ‘journalism training’-and because these events involved journalism, it seemed apt to post about.
Hacked Off are a group campaigning for a free and accountable press; founded in 2011, it works closely with victims of press abuses. Yesterday they were holding two events; one was a panel/lobbying event at a Committee room in Parliament, the other a reception.

Once I got through security, I had to find the committee room-which was in a part of Parliament that I had previously not been in. But the officers were incredibly helpful-they all knew where to go.
Committee room 11 was easy to pick out; there was a stand set up outside, and on entering, you were given two leaflets-one a programme, and the other was about Press regulation. (The programme was not necessarily stuck to in the rigid sense.)
Professor Steven Barnett opened; we were told that there were three panels, and that throughout MP’s would be coming in, in order for us to lobby them. They’d be announced, and you’d go outside, in order to brief them. (I was not impressed with mine; the less said the better.)

Panel One was with Professor Brian Cathcart (he sometimes writes brilliant pieces for Byline), and Professor Justin Schlosberg. This went into the history of press regulation, the Royal Charter, and noting why we were all gathered. (I stepped out at about twenty five to four, so I missed the end.)

Panel Two looked at the current Press regulator, IPSO, and how people are not having their cases heard when a complaint is filed. The people on this panel were Isobel Ingham-Barrow from MEND, Professor Natalie Fenton MRC chair and board member of Hacked Off, and Hugo Dixon, InFacts.

There was a slight diversion, meaning that Panel Three had to be cut in time; however, we heard from a representative of Tom Watson, and Earl Atlee. (I think the latter gave one of the funniest speeches that day-it lightened the mood-and it was so refreshing to see.

Panel Three was Edward Bowles, part of the Hacked Off Board; Paul Dadge, who talked about his experience of press intrusion, and Alastair Morgan. (I reviewed his book a little while ago; I can’t sum up what he had to say in minimal words.)
We also heard from people like Earl Attlee and Baroness Hollins.

I’m still very new to this industry; I also am not particularly educated about the abuses and intrusions that have happened. (For instance, I only remember bits of the phone hacking trial.) But I think it is imperative that Leveson Two goes ahead for the simple reason that these people are not being heard. I do not believe that Hacked Off want to curtail press freedom, as I have been told recently; rather, they want to hold people to account. (Like any good journalist should do!) It was harrowing to hear what had happened-when relatives had been killed, and journalists turned up to doorstep those of the bereaved. There were also accounts of being followed for not taking money, being followed. There have also been admissions in open court of further activity like this.  This was insightful for that very reason, and why I signed the petition for Leveson Two. And that’s why I think you should, too.  The people here were not rich or famous; they were like you or me. And that’s summed up in the aphorism”People are not the means for a good story, the story should be the means for the people. “

Update: I have amended the last paragraph since publication.
At the end of the month, nearly, I will be nineteen. (And, to be honest, I am slightly freaking out. Next year I will be twenty! TWENTY!) In a departure from the slightly intense posts of late, I thought that I would share my birthday wishlist. Generally speaking, these are things that would be useful to me in terms of career. However, this post is frivolous; it’s not like I’m requesting the lot, or think I’m entitled to it.

Moleskine notebook

I love jotters. And I have a notebook with me at all times, because if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t exist. A moleskine notebook-large, ruled, hard back-is a dream piece of stationery. (Adding my initials to a bottom corner would also be wonderful.) And.. it’s blue!

Filofax:

My current Filofax is a bit battered, mawkish, etc. But I love this Fuschia Filofax (personal size). A Tube map, sticky post it notes, and envelope would also be lovely.

Books/other media.

Books are my life. If I could not read, I don’t know where I would be now… I love books, that’s the only thing to it. I would love to read Do I Make Myself Clear? By Sir Harold Evans. I have a list of books that I really would like to read if anyone is interested…
I would also love a newspaper subscription. (But the thing is, I can’t choose on one paper-it seems a form of favouritism.)

ASOS shoes

Sometimes I’m tired of the way I look; the slouchy bags, the dresses, the geeky shoes. Lets change that! I love these shoes from ASOS; they look comfortable, exactly what I need for walking round all day.

Business cards

It would be more professional to hand over at events.

Dictaphone

After interviewing Sir Harold Evans, I have recognised the need for a decent Dictaphone. My iPhone can’t pick everything up, and the audio quality was not great. A cheap, portable dictaphone would be a wonderful asset.

A friend

Pretty self explanatory, this one..

The thing is; I love Twitter, I love Instagram. I adore receiving letters from pen pals. I also look forward to seeing my classmates twice a week. I just wish that I had somebody that I could go out with-on outings, not in *that* way-like how college use to be, when I saw people daily.

What would you like for your birthday?

Lydia x

 
 
 

Update: where it says films, the film “I, Tonya” should also be added. 
February was a bit of a difficult month for me. I had been sick for a long time-due to the numerous bugs that have been going round. This meant going back and forth to the Doctor’s office, and trying to cope with my workload in between. But I am happy to report that I am better now!

jOURNALISTICALLY:

I went up to the NCTJ Student Council conference! (So, when you’re on an NCTJ course, each class has a ‘Rep’ who reports to the council. For my course, that’s me.) This was in Birmingham-and meant making the longest trip I have ever undertaken solo. But: I got to meet lots of Editors, Journalists, and network! You can read about it here. 
Alistair Morgan, the author of Untold, also came to my course building to give a talk; out of respect for his privacy, I’m not going to blog about it. However, you should definitely listen to the Podcast and/or read the book. (But I was so excited for this-although I had to kick myself out of bed, due to tiredness as I was sick. He also signed my book!)
I also got to interview Sir Harold Evans for an assignment; I’ll be posting more about this later, however it was a very big deal for me.

Writing:

This month, I gave up writing my column. (Various reasons-and I’m not going into it.) But I have written more for The Growing Up Guide, and my review of War Horse was posted on Brighton Girl. 

Media consumption:

I haven’t read as many books as I would like to, simply because I was very ill for the first two weeks of this month, and I have been busier than usual. I read two in the end: Good Times, Bad Times by Harold Evans (research purposes!), and Everything Is Lies by Helen Callaghan.
Books have not been my solace this month; I have been looking for something different, something different than the bog-standard thing written for people my age. (Carlos Ruiz Zafron is having his novel translated, which I have been eagerly awaiting for a long time-I can’t wait to read it. But until then, if you have any suggestions, do leave them in the comments.)
I also watched Black Panther and Darkest Hour at the cinema. (Black Panther I enjoyed for its diversity, but I thought the music during car chases was a bit anti climatic. Darkest Hour? Way too over-hyped. The portrait of Churchill is too patriotic, and doesn’t have the depth of character; I also think that parts of the film were misleading in terms of historical accuracy.) On Netflix, I watched The Lost Honour Of Christopher Jefferies; the things that happened to this man horrify me! The last film I watched was Back To The Future; I’ve also been gorging on boxsets as I work.

NCTJ:

I think I’m getting on alright? I’m not sure where I am at yet, to be totally honest.
I took another sixty words per minute exam, however I think I didn’t pass it; my hands were shaking due to a late night, and I was very tired. But I know that I can do this-I have practiced and practiced-which makes it the more frustrating.
I’m struggling a little bit with Law, and I feel nervous about the exams; there is so much to memorise, in terms of statues, but there is also the theory. (E.g given a scenario such as working on a magazine, what would you do to avoid the risk of Defamation?)

Lets see what March brings.

January was… well, a busy month. But is was also ‘blue’, being the start of the year, it was raining a lot of the time, and everything seemed… blah. So: for this months round up…

Pieces published: 

I finally started to make headway with bylines! (At long last.) This was good in the sense that I was worrying about having enough pieces for my assessed portfolio. Anyway: I had two album reviews published by BN1, a column for the Mid Sussex Times, a guest post for Autistic UK, and several for The Growing Up Guide.

Books read: 

I read Untold by Peter Jukes and Alistair Morgan, My Paperchase by Sir Harold Evans, and (as I’m writing this), I’m finishing Brain On Fire. I enjoyed My Paperchase the best-and I think it should be made into a Netflix boxset For the 100 books in a year challenge, I’m further behind then I wished to be, but I haven’t been as interested in reading as normal.

Events: 

I went to the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, in order to review an exhibit with my class. As I write this, I’ll also be going to the press viewing of War Horse in Brighton.
 

Glasses: 

The issue with my glassed has finally been sorted out! And I am so excited, because when I get the new frames, I’ll be able to see, and without the pain caused by being-fitted.

Films: 

I saw more films than usual at the cinema; my favourite was The Post. (Because: journalists + scandal + American politics = brilliant.) I was not a fan of The Greatest Showman (bit too overdone, and too many songs). I was not sure what to think about All The Money In The World; I think it suffered from having to be re-shot.

How was your January?

Lydia XO