Here are a few pieces of my work which were published in the magazine Taste Italia whilst working as an editorial assistant at Anthem Publishing. I wrote engaging copy about Italian cuisine and culture, including book reviews, culinary tips and holiday destination overviews.
For my course I was asked to experiment with social media tools much in the way a professional journalist would. Beforehand, I wasn’t familiar with Twitter at all and merely saw it as a social networking site for people to moan about their lives and document every minor event of their day. But that’s where I was very wrong, as in fact there is a lot more to Twitter than I initially realised, and I actually ended up learning quite a lot from the task.
As a Communication and Media student it was an ideal way to keep up to date with the latest news, whilst acquiring a rich body of opinions. I also realised there are so many opportunities to stay connected and build up a network of professionals for academic and career purposes.
I began to realise how to put my Twitter account to a better use. I felt particularly passionate towards the Japan crisis as my brother was there at the time of the earthquake, so I started using Twitter as a tool to raise awareness and create support; forwarding people on to related blogs, articles, and witness stories, enhanced with my own opinion. I noticed since doing this that my opinions were often re-tweeted and my followers began to grow. In turn, it was a rewarding experience knowing that you are having an impact on other people within an online space from which your opinions can reach and inspire millions of people, and likewise I can be inspired by millions of people.
I was surprised at how satisfying blogging was; it gave me a chance to express my opinions and experiences whilst exploring the world of journalism and enhancing my own knowledge. I shall continue tweeting and blogging.
Let me explain. For me, I see features as having that extra edge. As being able to delve far deeper into a topic than any news story could attempt. Rather than merely stating the facts, features can explore a topic in depth, and paint pictures for the reader; animated with rich details, sources, and opinion.
What enables features to do this is due to a heightened sense of autonomy and creativity, as the writer can provide their interpretation of a topic and put across an argument that they feel strongly about, from their heart.
This sense of autonomy in features is also reflected in the topics they can explore such as, human interest; journalists can write to appeal to our emotions rather than concealing all signs of humanity and restricted to factual barriers; they have more freedom to approach the topic.
Essentially every feature must have the ability to draw the reader in the very moment they start reading. This is only achieved by providing an effective lead, which can capture the reader’s attention in a variety of styles; it can be literary; filled with descriptions and adjectives; or to the point, which some readers may prefer.
But for me I am drawn in when there is a personal element, if I can tell the writer feels strongly about the topic, a passion. It is this personal element that enchants me, that takes me into their world and provides a sense of escapism. That’s when I know a feature’s well written.
Finally, one thing that is universally important for all features is their narrative structure, their mode of transition. The most effective features are those that take you on such a journey that you are unaware that you have moved from one time zone to the next.
Here are top ten terms that are relevant in every successful journalist’s life:
1. Standfirst: An introductory line in bold that summarises the article
2. Kicker: A short line of copy set above headline and intended to call attention
3. Byline: Journalist’s name
4. Sticky: Content to keep readers on site
5. Thread: the series of comments posted at the end of a blog entry
6. Wiki: Online collaborative software that allows readers to add content, such as Wikipedia
7. Permalink: A link to a specific article in a blog, which will remain valid after the article is no longer listed on the blog’s front page.
8. Convergence: when journalists produce content for multiple platforms
9. Fisk: termed after journalist, Robert Fisk, meaning to deconstruct an article on a point by point, hyperlink by hyperlink basis.
10. Moblog: Online photo journal