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Top takeaways from our routes into journalism panel

Patricia Cruz



invited journalists from all corners of the industry to share their advice on how to work towards your selected career and choose the routes into journalism that are right for you.

Here, first year undergraduate trainee Julius Lawless-Master tells us what he learnt.

The panellists included Andrew Gamble, national sports trends writer for Reach PLC, Asyia Iftikhar, freelance journalist and founder of Young Journalist Community and Jacqueline Shepherd, presenter and reporter for the BBC.

Andrew and Jacqueline both studied NCTJ courses with and Asyia is starting an NCTJ course with NA next year.

These were their top tips for finding your feet in the media world:

Do what you enjoy 

Each of the panellists had different starting routes into journalism but they all agreed that doing what you enjoy is a great way of getting experience if you’re unsure where to start. 

Jacqueline said: “I’ve always wanted to work in radio or TV in some capacity but didn’t think it was a potential avenue for me. 

“I used to play with teletext on the TV and read the news as if I was an actual newsreader. 

“It was only later on that I realised I should be using that interest for a role in public speaking as a broadcaster.”

Learn a range of skills

The skills you need as a journalist vary depending on your role and niche, but many are transferable and useful in all fields.  

Andrew said: “Match reports require you to be quick because you have to write everything by the end of the match.

“That kind of thinking on the job and being quick at what you do can be translated to news writing and is easily transferable between the two.

“I know people who have worked in sports journalism and then done news writing at the same high standard.”

Jacqueline advised practising a lot and avoiding perfectionism when trying to get better at speaking in front of a camera. 

She said: “It’s about managing your nerves and lots of practice.

“So often we’re striving for perfection, and the moment you give yourself a break and let people accept you for who you are you will feel a lot calmer.”

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Pay attention to the news and think outside the box

Consuming a range of news and staying abreast of what’s going on outside your beat can give you inspiration for stories.

Andrew said: “Some people try to say that sport and politics don’t go hand in hand but they really do. 

“I feel like it really gives a context to what is happening in front of fans so it’s important to know what’s going on in the wider scope of the world.”

There is always competition for covering headline stories so it’s vital that you can think of unique angles. This will make your pitches stand out to editors.

Asyia said: “Explain what the angle is, not just the general idea. 

“For example, instead of just saying that you have thoughts on the latest Spider-man, say something like: ‘this is why the ending of the latest Spider-man film was bad.’”

Create a portfolio

Our panellists advised creating a portfolio of your work, something you can use to get your foot in the door when pitching to an editor.

A portfolio also demonstrates extensive knowledge of your beat.

Asyia suggested using Journo Portfolio, which offers a student discount, WordPress or Wix.

She said: “It’s about looking at your body of work and seeing what the best way to split it up is. 

“This will let people who click on it go straight to the place they are interested in.”

Be passionate and don’t give up

All of our panellists agreed that showing passion for journalism can go a long way when you’re starting out.

Andrew said: “Be enthusiastic because people really build off that. 

“If you’re really keen, it’s contagious and people will notice that and chuck pieces your way.”

Asyia added that building friendships with other journalists helps to get through difficult periods. 

Jacqueline said: “Whether it’s for pitching or applying for different roles, just keep going.

“If you are passionate and have a good support network then you will get somewhere.

“Once you’ve made that first step, the second step will be easier and so will the ones after that.”

You can join Young Journalist Community, founded by Asyia, on Facebook here.

Now you know about different routes into journalism, check out our blog on the top takeaways from our social media journalism panel.

The post Top takeaways from our routes into journalism panel appeared first on .

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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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