The Bute Building, Cardiff University. Image from panoramio.com
This week was officially Week Zero for all Postgraduate Newspaper, Broadcast and Magazine students of Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. I am just one of the new intake of budding journos, eager to start the course and refine my journalistic skills.
Week Zero has been busy and intense, with a series of interesting and concise lectures that have taught us all the skills a journalist has to arm him or herself with. We learnt about patches and contacts, with the need to build a book of contacts who will give you the exclusives. The main point was that even starting off with one contact is better than nothing, as this one person can provide you with a whole series of stories.
The lectures in law and public administration taught me that these areas are the bricks to our mortar, without the "building bricks" - knowledge of the law and administrative structure of our country, we would not be able to lay the "mortar" - our stories. Being familiar with what a journalist can and cannot do is important, if not more important than getting the story.
BBC News at Ten presenter, Huw Edwards rounded off the week with a keynote lecture about how to stand out from everyone else in an overcrowded profession. Edwards drew upon his time at the BBC, giving an example of a colleague that has shined individually through using their initiative to spot an opportunity and think of creative and new ways of doing things. I think that what he lodged in my mind is that to do exceptionally well in a corporation or media company you have to go that extra mile, whether that be creating a new section of that magazine or newspaper or undertaking extra work, rather than just doing your 9-5 schedule and going home.
Overall Week Zero has given me and many others a great grounding in journalism, with messages that I will carry with me throughout the course.
For more information on Cardiff JOMEC visit http://www.cf.ac.uk/jomec/ and keep up to date with debates in journalism at http://www.jomec.co.uk.