Evidencing Work Experience

From April 2013, to January this year I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to work alongside Melanie Faldo at  Red Carpet Communications and Keith Bishop Associates. During my time there I was given tasks such as proof reading, social media marketing, taking calls, research and compiling e-mails. I completed a total of 20 days over 10 months and overall it was an enjoyable and useful experience. I will now be able to add my work experience to my CV, as I’m aware that in the industry I’ll be looking to enter, experience is crucial. Attached is a screenshot of the feedback form I received following my placement at red carpet communications.

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Further Development

 

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Throughout the development stages of my blog I have altered everything from the font, the hosting website, colour schemes and overall layout. After finally deciding to switch to moonfruit I was able to take the ideas I had for the wordpress portfolio and add even more creativity to a flexible foundation. I wanted to showcase my creativity on my site so I decided to design the background and include my photography and graphic design on my portfolio. I also made sure that my portfolio was simple yet effective and that’s why I decided to make the colour scheme monochromatic with hints of colour in the forms of the Leeds met logo and orange menubar roll-overs. The general layout of the site has stayed true to my original plans, and keeping to the traditional method of website navigation, my site is categorised into 5 main pages and 9 sub-pages. On moonfruit, I am also able to showcase my HTML coding as it is more of a HTML supportive site. As a result of this, I have included, scroll bars, widgets, image links and more. Each page is designed differently to the others in order to keep the portfolio consistently pleasing to the eye.

Change of Plan: moonfruit

After trying out different themes and styles on wordpress I decided that the site didn’t give me enough creative scope. I have therefore created my online portfolio on moonfruit, and despite some of its boundaries, in terms of what you get out of the basic subscription – I’m very happy with the change of direction.

Moonfruit has allowed me to completely dictate what my portfolio looks like and with the possibility of adding themes if needed. With the allowance of using HTML, I am also able to add widgets such as youtube, googlemaps, image links and more. I chose to switch to moonfruit as I found that my wordpress site looked slightly untidy with all the compulsory comment boxes and links – my online portfolio now has my stamp on it, instead of wordpress’s

Pitching

Pitching is an important aspect of being a freelance journalist. It is helpful for editors in order to receive story ideas and also a vital way for journalists to gain work. Pitching when successful, is a win-win situation.Below is my example of a pitch, that I would send off to Grazia online.

 

Dear Jessica Vinca (Grazia Online Editor)

I’m a freelance fashion journalist and I’ve come up with a short article on the staple 90’s fashion pieces of the upcoming season. It would be a short article available online (500 words max) and would include both high street and high fashion clothing. 

The article would have an inclusion of monochromatic gingham, platforms, mom jeans, sunflower print and metallics. I’ve looked into the rise of the 90s in women’s fashion recently and have seen that the trend for grunge-inspired looks is not wavering. The article would be about channeling the grunge-goddesses of the 90’s without looking too much like Courtney Love.

Possible items that could be included on the list are a pair of platformed sandals from Zara, daisy print cigarette pants from Moschino Cheap And Chic, an all-over sequinned shirt from Acne and the 90’s staple dungarees. Images and links to the fashion pieces are listed below

If you’re interested I can produce the article for the Wednesday 2nd of April. Attached is a link to an article I wrote on Burberry dominating London Fashion Week, during the Autumn/Winter 2013 show.

Regards,
Fern Crawley

 

Budget 2014: Digital Journalism

Digital journalism is increasingly used to help tell the story, thanks to more and more people turning to the internet for their source of news. For our Professional Portfolio news day, I was allocated the position of digital journalist. This meant that I was responsible with finding statistics linked to the Budget and creating charts, graphs or graphics to compliment the live feed.

Twitter was an essential tool for knowing what was being said about the Budget as and when it happened. Using twitter I became aware of the plans for the new pound coin to be released in 2017. I then searched for various stories on the new coin, which was to be announced on Budget day. I found numerous stories that included polls asking the public their opinion on the coin. Using the data from these polls I was able to create a pie chart illustrating what percentage of the British public was in favour of the dodecahedron coin.

Results from a poll asking: do you like the new pound coin?

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For my second article including Digital journalism I wanted to create an infographic that was completely different to the pie chart. I then started to research the costs of living and various surveys that outlined public opinion on high costs of living. I decided that an effective way of displaying the information was a proportionate, population infographic. Below is the article produced alongside the infographic I created on an online infograph creator.

Budget 2014:Cost of Living

Consumers want Coalition Government to bring down energy prices

New research by Survation shows a fall in UK worker’s wages against the cost of living. The survey was released the day before the Chancellor addresses the house of commons for 2014′s budget.

According to Nicholas Barker, a researcher from Survation, energy prices are the biggest worry when it comes to the cost of living; “There is strong public desire for government action with almost 4 out 5 people agreeing with the idea that the coalition Government should do more to bring down energy prices”.

According to a Daily Mail survey conducted in April 2013, over 50% of respondents were worried about not being able to pay their energy bills, an issue likely to be addressed by Chancellor George Osbourne in this year’s budget.

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From the Budget newsday I learned how effective infographics are to portray statistics. Reproducing hard statistics into more digestible graphics is valuable to not overwhelm the reader. More often than not, news articles are inundated with countless figures and percentages and soon become lost in the meaningless information. Digital journalism is an effective way of showcasing information so that it’s easy on the eye and at the same time, easy to comprehend.

Nowadays, online journalism usually includes commentary from active members of social media. It’s an effective means of adding various viewpoints to a story yet still remaining unbiased. Storify is a platform that allows you to curate relevant content, in order to create a story that is visually interesting. It is unique in the sense that it’s possible to write a story around the opinions of those on the internet, rather than opinions being formed afterwards. Unlike traditional online news outlets such as the Daily Mail, a lot of the user-generated content comes after the story. Scrolling down towards the comments section on a controversial Daily Mail story and it’s clear to see that comments are a big part of interaction, turning this on it’s head is an effective way of controlling the effect the internet has on the news. Storify relies on content already out there for public use, it can be anything from a newsworthy instagram picture to an interesting tweet.

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For a workshop session we were asked to create a Storify article curating online ‘artefacts’ from various social media platforms. Choosing the search for the missing airlines, I developed Storify article on the ‘online search’ for the plane. It included select tweets that enhanced my story and at the same time included various opinions. I found Storify to be a very effective way of quoting people online and including them in my article, whilst also adding to the visual aesthetics.

My Storify

Self-promoting on twitter

ImageTwitter has become a crucial tool for those interested in promoting their online presence. However, many Twitter users do not understand the unspoken etiquette of the social media site and it’s become popular with celeb-crazy teens. Despite Twitter becoming a powerful tool for musicians and celebrities to generate fan power, it’s become a vital means of networking in the 21st century. Avoiding the minefield of the Twitter posers and teeny-boppers is easy enough when you know the ins and outs of Twitter.

The power of the hashtag, when used properly, is extremely useful for networking on the site. A basic rule for hash-tagging is to use the right amount on one tweet – too many and the tweet becomes boring (#yawn #tweetoverload #stopattwo #goneoverboard), too few and the tweet is not publicised enough. Branching out to people interested in the same topic can be rewarding professionally – a hashtag could be all that separates you from a potential employer. Tweeting faddy slogans such as #yolo and #lol are not the done thing on a professional Twitter account – the aim is to sound as interesting as possible in merely 140 characters.

So what do you tweet about? It’s recommended to sound approachable yet intelligent in a limited amount of characters. Keeping a check on what’s trending is helpful – a running commentary is always extremely active during an important event. For example, tweeting during the olympics or keeping up with a big news story and becoming involved will likely gain you more followers; simply with an interesting and relevant tweet.

A helpful rule for Twitter: if you’re not sure, don’t tweet! Many Twitter users have made the mistake of saying something unfathomably stupid only to have there moment of dull-wittedness broadcasted to the outer corners of cyberspace. Gemma Worrall, who goes by @gemworrallx on twitter, (x’s after one’s username are not always recommended!) was scrutinised by British press when she made a double blunder misspelling Barrack Obama’s name and mistaking him for the president of Britain. Making a mistake to this degree is extremely difficult, but it definitely reiterates the importance of double checking your tweets before publishing.

Planning my Portfolio

After looking through various online portfolios, I was able to effectively plan out my online professional portfolio. Reviewing various sites meant I was then able to chose an adequate platform on which to create my portfolio. I decided to create my portfolio on wordpress; a site I had used before and was therefore familiar with its layout and features. I wanted my page to be easy to navigate and so I set about developing a site map of my online portfolio. I decided to draw my site map instead of producing it digitally as I am an artistic individual and I knew that if I made a mistake it would be easier to rectify on paper. I knew which theme I wanted to attach to my portfolio as I had worked with wordpress before and so knew which theme would be the most appropriate for my online professional portfolio. I chose mystique as it is a simple yet appealing theme that co-ordinates well with various colour schemes. I also decided to create a banner for my site to create a personalised touch to my professional portfolio.

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Banner I created using photoshop CS6

When developing the site-map, I made sure that my professional portfolio would be easy to navigate but yet also appealing to the eye. I wanted to create something that would showcase my journalistic work effectively, yet also boast my professional credentials. I decided the main areas of my professional portfolio would be the landing page (home page), about, blog, photos, graphic design and CV. Below is an image taken of the site map I produced with pen and paper

My professional portfolio site-map

My professional portfolio site-map

Getting started: the best blogging sites…

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WordPress is an essential site for blogging newbies. The speed of time from signing up to creating your first post means that it’s a blogging tool for the masses. The useful search tools on the site means that you can find content specifically tailored to your interests. It’s a great site for those wanting to add a touch of creativity to their posts; the multitude of themes and the option of adding a header means that users can add their own stamps to their sites. Connectivity to outside social media platforms is very easy with widgets. Although each theme has different compatibilities with various widgets there are tonnes of options and many are free for those not wanting to spend any money on their blog.

WordPress:

Rating out of 5

Media Support

4

Social Media Integration

5

Text Editing Tools

5

Blogging Tools

4

Cost

3

Customisation

3

Choice of Themes

4

Ease of Use

4

 

tTumblr is WordPress’s slightly more creative cousin. The interface is slightly more simplified than the labyrinth of a dashboard that WordPress has to offer. Much like WordPress, Tumblr users have the option of customising their blogs to a large degree.  Social media integration is easy with tumblr and as thousands of websites host the tumblr link button it is extremely easy to post and relink. Tumblr is definitely an easier to use, less professional version of WordPress. It’s easy-to-use dashboard means that it attracts those wanting to post for personal use rather than professional advantage. However, it’s very effective for displaying visual content and has proven popular amongst photographers and graphic designers for displaying posts with more of a visual impact. It’s a great site for those wanting to digitalise their professional portfolios. Tools such as tagging and social network integration means that networking is even easier.

Tumblr

Rating out of 5

Media Support

 5

Social Media Integration

 4

Text Editing Tools

 3

Blogging Tools

 4

Cost

 4

Customisation

 4

Choice of Themes

 5

Ease of Use

 3

Professional Portfolios

My review of three online journalism portfolios:

 

http://josephruss.wordpress.com/journalism/

This portfolio is an easy-to-read, informative and well presented showcase of the journalist’s work. The blog has a combination of examples of work, a CV and information on the journalist’s employment history. The blog has an easy link to the journalist’s linkedin page and so makes it simple to contact Russ. It’s a well set out blog and a picture of the journalist as a header photo personalises the blog and adds identity. It’s an effective and eye-catching portfolio and discloses appropriate information about the journalist. The portfolio showcases a combination of both journalistic work and copywriting.

 

http://tomhansonjr.wordpress.com/

Hanson’s portfolio is another strong wordpress based portfolio and is full of information. It’s almost quite overwhelming how much work is showcased on the blog and perhaps is lacking visual imagery to break up the text. The portfolio adds a personal touch with the examples of the user’s work and also posts about current news and Hanson’s favourite news stories. Although there is a lot of content on the blog, the last post was in 2012 and shows that there is a lengthy hiatus between posts. The portfolio is a great display of the journalist’s work and shows a large variation in the type of work the journalist has had published.

 

http://vnssmultimedia.wordpress.com/

This is a very strong portfolio that has a good visual impact. The layout is very effective and the home page includes a link to the journalist’s twitter page to make it easy to contact the journalist. The portfolio includes a combination of the journalist’s written work, video journalism and photographic work – this multimedia approach makes the information easy to digest. Rodriguez’s portfolio is regularly updated and includes outside links to her work, social media and her resume. It is a brilliant example of an informative yet easy to read portfolio. The eye catching design helps to showcase the journalist’s work in an appealing and uncomplicated manner.