In Alumni, Career in Journalism, Top Story
Adam Phillips during his time with RedBull Media

Adam Phillips during his time with RedBull Media

 

Adam Phillips joined Brighton Journalist Works with a burning desire to work in sports broadcasting.

After passing his NCTJ exams at Gold Standard, he tells us how his first job interning with Red Bull Media as a television sports producer intern in Salzburg, helped get his foot on the first steps of the ladder.

Describe your average day.

My average day would consist of coming in an hour earlier than our two editors in order to prepare.

I would then write the script for our magazine-style television show, and would trawl through the footage and interviews we have so as to find the angle for the story we wanted to create.

Once I had drafted my six different scripts for each episode, I would give them to our editors and would go through the footage with them and explain how I wanted each segment to feel.

Then, I would leave them to cut the majority of the segment as I know how capable they are, and then come back to see how our ideas had come out.

While they are editing I am usually preparing the next episode or two so as to stay on top of work, as you never want to be sat still. That is when you know you are in trouble!

Usually one or two days a week we would screen what I and the editors have made to our executive and senior producers, and discuss the possible changes we could make.

Once the episodes are finished, we would record our show with our voice-over artist in the studio.

What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you while working on a story?

I am lucky enough to have had nothing embarrassing so far. I once told a joke to a comedian and he just didn’t get it.

 

Apart from that, maybe being blindfolded during my time at BJW and having to navigate around a railway station on a story about a charity for blinded veterans. That was a lot of fun.

Adam Phillips experiencing life as a blind person at Brighton Station

Adam Phillips experiencing life as a blind person at Brighton Station

What are your favourite stories you have worked on?

We are given stories that have already been filmed and so we re-cut them to fit into our style of show.

One was very fun where a couple of skaters did a project in the style of a chessboard, doing the exact same tricks in black and white over and over and over again.

That was a lot of fun to write and see come out how we imagined it.

Apart from that, I loved writing the athlete profiles, where we would sometimes conduct our own interview and really be able to delve into what made each athlete tick. Often these guys are real daredevils – big wave surfers or cliff divers – so it was always fascinating just for me to write it.

What work are you particularly proud of?

An athlete profile we produced on a big wave surfer, Mark Mathews, that was probably my favourite clip we made.

Our executive producer did the interview with him in Australia. I then used this interview to construct a narrative which my senior producer helped me perfect. Then our editors just went to town on it and it came out almost perfect.

It was a real snapshot on what you would imagine his life to be like, the fear, the adrenaline of surfing these monster waves, with a great soundtrack and pictures to match.

That used to give me goosebumps when I’d watch it back and made us all quite proud.

Big wave surfing image by D. Sloane from Wikimedia, licenced by Creative Commons

Big wave surfing 

What is your happiest memory at Brighton Journalist Works?

It was all a lot of fun at BJW, from the law lessons with Pete, to the shorthand sessions with Roxanne (and Marie), but I

would say it was one of the stories I worked on, as is probably the case with most students.

I had seen a tweet about a big charity event that was going to happen in June and managed to get exclusive coverage of the event they were holding at the railway station. I interviewed one of the athletes who was taking part and he had had a really amazing story.

This led to a series of interviews and a big article in The Argus a week or so later. That was very satisfying to see everything come together like that.

Either that or the countless hours on the pool table. Winning.

What skills did you learn at BJW that you still use today?

Shorthand, funnily enough.

It is mainly for meetings where I use it in to write information that is talked about at speed.

I am in an environment where I do not have to use it an awful lot but I imagine I will have to keep using it and probably more in the future than I do at the moment.

Other than that, the reporting lessons we had really helped in my ability to write in a concise but eye-catching way. I was always one for waffling, but that really got rid of some of my bad habits. Now I can write, even for TV, in a way that info which is not needed is left out.

What advice would you give to aspiring journalists?

I would say make sure you are happy in what you are doing, because it feeds into what work you produce.

As long as you enjoy what you do, you will be enthusiastic, creative and your work will show that.

You will, as we all do, have periods of low enthusiasm but as long as you are striving to get back to a place where you enjoy what you do for a living your work can only get better.

Apart from that, do not give up in getting that job because the longer you keep working for it, the more others will drop out along the way and your perseverance will pay-off.

 

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