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A day in the life of a national newsroom editor

Patricia Cruz



National newsroom editor and alumna Abbie Llewelyn shared her experience of covering national stories and developing her journalism career.

As special projects editor at Express Online, Abbie leads a research-based news team focusing on exclusives and investigations. She has also done freelance work for The Telegraph, VICE and Citywire.

At our online guest talk for aspiring journalists, she described her career journey and gave loads of advice for anyone wanting to break into the industry.

How did you get started?

It all started when I began writing for my university student newspaper and liked it more than my actual degree.

After university I became a staff writer at a think tank and then I did the NCTJ fast-track course at in London.

Shortly after I started at the Express working overnight. It was a baptism of fire – the overnight shift was all relatively inexperienced people and it meant you were very quickly taking on more responsibilities.

Then I joined the special projects team. After a year I was asked to be their royal reporter and I really got into that niche before getting my current role as a newsroom editor.

What does an average day look like?

I’ll look at the latest news and draw up some news lists for what the reporters will be working on that day.

Then I’ll start writing and planning for what’s happening that week, spend some time subbing copy and look at the home page to see what should go where, while keeping an eye on what’s happening throughout the day.

What is it like managing a team?

The number one thing for leading my team is being empathetic and working with people.

I send several pars when sending back copy because people improve so much more when they are given encouragement and feedback on how to improve.

What advice do you have for freelancing?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to go freelance is sending the same pitch to different publications. You have to be quite specific.

Think about the publication or broadcaster you’re writing to, what kind of things do they cover and why would they be interested in your story, show them you know their brand.

Show them why you’re the one who should write it. Having a niche means it’s much easier to find freelance stuff.

Where do you find stories and sources?

We get tip-offs when we are in the office, and I get a lot of people emailing me.

You can also get expert comment. To report the Russia/Ukraine conflict, we’re talking to Russian foreign policy experts, NATO officials and going through the data. From them you get an idea of the wider implication on the UK and the world.

How do you separate work life from personal life?

News is 24/7 and even now as a national newsroom editor I rarely clock off on time, but there is a joy and thrill to being the first to break a story.

You have to be prepared to put in a few years of grunt work before you are in a position to be more picky.

What is your advice for aspiring and early-career journalists?

Get as much experience as you can, whether it’s a student newspaper or pitching freelance stuff. Build up your portfolio so you can send editors links to work you are proud of.

Be realistic, it is a tough industry. Don’t be narrow-minded about where you could work, don’t knock anywhere before you’ve tried it!

Quite a few places wouldn’t hire someone without formal training. For me doing an NCTJ course was invaluable because it was more hands-on and practical than doing a Master’s.

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What were your biggest takeaways from journalism training?

The essential journalism module where they teach you to write a news article was so important. It really hammered into me getting the most essential information in there and writing simply and accessibly

Media law is so important, it surrounds everything we’re doing. At a national so many people are going to be reading it who want to sue you.

I like to hire people who know about media law, IPSO, public affairs and how the country is run.

Whether you want to be a national newsroom editor, a sports reporter or a TV news presenter, check out our top takeaways from our panel event about different routes into journalism.

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The benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start

Alice Trout



In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Between work, family, and other responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. In this article, we will explore the benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. By focusing on the present moment, you can calm your mind and reduce racing thoughts.

  1. Improves mental clarity

Practicing mindfulness can improve mental clarity and focus. It can help to clear your mind of distractions and increase productivity.

  1. Enhances self-awareness

Mindfulness can increase self-awareness and help you to understand your thoughts and emotions better. By being present in the moment, you can learn to recognize your patterns of thinking and behavior.

  1. Improves relationships

Mindfulness can help to improve relationships by increasing empathy and compassion. By being present with others, you can develop a deeper understanding of their needs and feelings.

How to Start Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Set aside time

Set aside a specific time every day to practice mindfulness. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes per day to start.

  1. Find a quiet space

Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. It could be a quiet corner of your home or a quiet park.

  1. Focus on your breath

Focus on your breath and the physical sensations of breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and the sensation of air moving in and out of your body.

  1. Be present

Allow yourself to be present in the moment without judgment. Let your thoughts and emotions come and go without dwelling on them.

  1. Practice regularly

Make mindfulness a regular practice. It takes time to develop the habit, but the benefits are worth it.

In conclusion, practicing mindfulness can have numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being. It’s a simple yet powerful practice that can be incorporated into our daily lives. By setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance our relationships. So why not give it a try? Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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How to create a perfect morning routine for a productive day

Alice Trout



Do you ever feel like your day has gotten away from you before it even starts? One way to combat this feeling is to create a perfect morning routine. Establishing a routine can help you start your day off on the right foot, and set the tone for a productive and successful day. Here are some tips on how to create a morning routine that works for you.

Determine Your Priorities

Before you start creating a morning routine, it’s important to determine what your priorities are. What are the things that you want to accomplish in the morning? Do you want to exercise, meditate, or have a healthy breakfast? Once you have a list of your priorities, you can start creating a routine that includes them.

Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

Waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help establish a consistent routine and make it easier to stick to.

Take Time for Yourself

Many people feel rushed and stressed in the morning, but taking some time for yourself can help alleviate this feeling. Whether it’s meditating, reading a book, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee, taking time for yourself can help you start your day feeling calm and centered.


Exercise is a great way to start your day, as it can help increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Whether it’s a quick jog, yoga practice, or weightlifting session, try to include some form of exercise in your morning routine.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can help fuel your body and provide the energy you need to start your day. Try to include protein, whole grains, and fruit or vegetables in your breakfast.

Plan Your Day

Taking a few minutes to plan your day can help you stay focused and productive. Make a to-do list or set priorities for the day, and review your calendar to make sure you’re prepared for any meetings or appointments.

Stick to Your Routine

Once you’ve created a morning routine that works for you, try to stick to it as much as possible. Consistency is key, and sticking to your routine can help establish healthy habits and improve your overall productivity.

In conclusion, creating a perfect morning routine can help set the tone for a productive and successful day. By determining your priorities, waking up at the same time every day, taking time for yourself, exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, planning your day, and sticking to your routine, you can create a morning routine that works for you. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

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10 simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in your daily life

Alice Trout



Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but it can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are several simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in our daily lives. In this article, we will explore 10 such methods that you can easily incorporate into your routine.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity is an excellent way to relieve stress. It helps to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. You don’t have to engage in high-intensity workouts to reap the benefits. Even a brisk walk or light yoga can help reduce stress levels.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can cause irritability, mood swings, and increase stress levels. Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested and refreshed.

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can help to calm your mind and body. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes to feel relaxed.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on your mind and body. Take a walk in the park or go for a hike in the woods to feel rejuvenated.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Set aside a few minutes every day to practice mindfulness meditation.

Listen to music

Music has a soothing effect on our minds. Listening to calming music can help to reduce stress levels. Create a playlist of your favorite relaxing tunes and listen to it when you feel stressed.

Practice yoga or tai chi

Yoga and tai chi are ancient practices that combine physical postures and breathing techniques. They can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

Connect with loved ones

Talking to friends and family members can help to reduce stress levels. It can provide a sense of comfort and support during challenging times.

Practice gratitude

Focusing on the positive aspects of life can help to reduce stress levels. Make a habit of practicing gratitude by writing down things you are thankful for every day.

Take breaks

Taking short breaks throughout the day can help to reduce stress levels. Go for a short walk, practice deep breathing or simply take a few moments to close your eyes and relax.

In conclusion, stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over. By incorporating these simple yet effective methods into your daily routine, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself should always be a top priority.

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