British Comedy Guide

Qualification in Journalism?

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Paul Wimsett

  • Friday 13th January 2017, 4:45pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,379 posts

Is this a good idea or a waste of money? Note that I am a 41 yr old established freelancer.

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Lazzard

  • Saturday 14th January 2017, 10:13am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,637 posts

Depends if you want to be a journalist.
Not sure it'll help much with freelance, unless you've established that some sort of qualification means better rates - I don't really know the market enough to comment.
But generally speaking it would need to be from an established, top-notch course - which usually means full-time rather than on-line.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Saturday 14th January 2017, 12:03pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,379 posts
Quote: Lazzard @ 14th January 2017, 10:13 AM

Depends if you want to be a journalist...

Not one that works for the Sun or Daily Mail anyway. But content writing is a lesser form of journalism is any case. I've seen a number of articles in the dailies that could have been written by online content writers.

It appears that the London School of Journalism has freelance courses anyway - this seems a bit of a waste really. After all, there's no real selection process on Upwork or Peopleperhour regards qualifications.

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beaky

  • Saturday 14th January 2017, 8:17pm
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,701 posts

I'd have thought that en editor would be more interested in what you've had published than any number of qualifications.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Sunday 15th January 2017, 1:32pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,379 posts
Quote: beaky @ 14th January 2017, 8:17 PM

I'd have thought that en editor would be more interested

Interested?

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beaky

  • Sunday 15th January 2017, 5:25pm
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,701 posts

A deliberate mistake to keep you on your toes, obviously.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Sunday 15th January 2017, 6:14pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,379 posts

May have just been an in-joke. Thanks.

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JonT

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 1:52pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 47 posts

Just seen this. I did an NCTJ postgrad course 10 years or so back, then worked in local papers for a bit so info may be a bit out of date now.

For a news reporter's job most papers expected a qualification back then. I'd imagine reputable news websites would too, though not sure. Courses aren't necessarily required for the ability to write an article, but most courses do sections on media law & libel, as well as shorthand, which editors still asked for when I was working in the industry. For more of a columnist/contributor role, qualifications would probably be much less of an issue if you can show a good portfolio, though depending on the topics you'd be covering it might still be useful to show you've had training in the media law/libel side.

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Chris Hallam

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 4:02pm [Edited]
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 286 posts

I did a six month certificated course in magazine journalism course twelve years ago. It was expensive but I made many useful contacts and some useful work experience. It was a confidence booster and certainly helped my career.
On the other hand, I know many people who did well without doing a course so it's not essential.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 4:15pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,379 posts

I suppose if you can come up with a good local history article (for instance) you don't need the qualification?

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GoWithIt

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 5:50pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 154 posts

For specifically wanting to make a full time career out of being a comedy writer, I personally don't think a degree in anything makes much difference, or is that much of an advantage. It's just about getting your comedy out there and seeing if you're good enough really, I think anyway.

J x

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Paul Wimsett

  • Tuesday 24th January 2017, 10:17pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,379 posts

But writing needn't necessarily be an ego trip, J. I think you might be confusing being a stand up and finding areas for paid writing.

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Chris Hallam

  • Thursday 26th January 2017, 8:28am
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 286 posts

"Not one that works for the Sun or Daily Mail anyway. "

I presume his is on political grounds and quite understand that.
But are you ruling out all newspapers?
Do you want to be a comedy writer or journalist? What do you want?

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Paul Wimsett

  • Thursday 26th January 2017, 10:02am
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,379 posts

Maybe comedy writing is rejecting me, Chris? At least the big boys anyway, BBC and so on. It's not an apples or oranges choice here.

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SusieT

  • Tuesday 21st February 2017, 7:58pm
  • United Kingdom
  • 2 posts

I did a course with the LSJ many years ago. The course is good for practice and being. Correspondence based it's not v high pressure. But I'd recommend doing the NCTJ exams. You can do them even if you aren't sponsored by a publication although it's easier to do from the job