In Journalist Works News

Brighton becomes even more vibrant and exciting during May, as the Festival and Fringe dominate the city.

Pop-up venues appear in public spaces and new venues appear in pubs and shops.

The Argus, Sussex’s daily newspaper, gives Brighton Journalist Works NCTJ students a great opportunity to write previews and review shows throughout the month.

It is a gift for any aspiring arts and entertainments reporter.

Three lucky students were given the chance to preview Brighton Fringe events, and two covered the Festival’s colourful opening event.

Lauren Cox reviews Briefs for The Argus, as part of its Brighton Fringe coverage

Lauren Cox reviews Briefs for The Argus, as part of its Brighton Fringe coverage

 

Lauren Cox said: “I wanted to get involved with Fringe coverage because I knew there would be lots of great events to go to and writing about them would be a great experience all round and not only for my portfolio.

“I loved the exciting build up to the Fringe and I knew that I wanted to be involved.

“I have enjoyed being able to see such a variety of shows that I most likely would not have seen otherwise.

“I have seen a magic show with bubbles, naked women reading empowering poetry, women dressed as men, and amazing acrobatics to name just a few.

“I have enjoyed the atmosphere of Brighton and how the city changes during the Festival and Fringe. It is a very rewarding feeling to see my reviews in the newspaper and on the website regularly.”

One of the key things Lauren learned covering the Fringe was to write her reviews as quickly as possible after taking notes during the show.

Lauren has taken the opportunity to build up her online portfolio on her website: laurencox.co.uk

Keeping to strict deadlines was a key skill Becky Snowden also took away from the experience, as The Argus expects reviews in at 10am the morning after the show.

Becky wanted to get involved as she enjoys arts and culture and wanted to expand her repertoire.

She said: “Seeing performances I would not normally go to has broadened my horizons and given me more of a glimpse into LGBT culture as the majority of events I have attended thus far have been of that theme.

“The performances are quirky and fun and it is exciting to see people from all walks of life reaching their creative heights.”

Some of Becky’s reviews appear on The Argus website in The Critic section.

Tom Furnival-Adams is keen on entertainments and music writing, so focused on writing pre-pieces for The Argus, taking part in the Brighton Fringe speed-dating event.

After ten years living in the city, Tom enjoyed the prospect of digging deeper into the Festival and Fringe experience.

He said: “I really enjoyed the chance to meet enthusiastic venue organisers and curators and turning their enthusiasm into something that would ultimately be read by thousands of people.

“As a result of my work on the Fringe supplement I have since had the opportunity to review gigs for The Argus – good experience and a welcome opportunity to add to my portfolio.”

The colourful Brighton Festival Children's Parade attracts thousands of people to the city streets - Picture by Melina Sharma

The Brighton Festival Children’s Parade attracts thousands of people to the city streets – Picture by Melina Sharma

 

Festival and Fringe events are not just confined to theatre, music and cabaret.

Melina Sharma and Calum Rutter covered the popular start of the Brighton Festival by live tweeting from the Children’s Parade.

Their videos, photographs and interviews with spectators and participants formed an integral part of The Argus’s live blog on the day.

 

Melina enjoyed being part of the event and found live tweeting was an eye-opening experience.

She said: “Once I started posting a few tweets about the event quite a few Brighton residents ‘followed’ me on Twitter and added me onto local community lists so that more people could see my posts.

“It was nice to be able to share the event with those who were unable to make it to the parade.

“I have learnt just how useful a social media platform like Twitter is for journalists in this day and age.

“It allows us to reach out to a broad spectrum of people, especially those who are genuinely interested in what we are covering.

“The experience has made me determined to get to grips with other forms of social media so as to enhance my stories and live reporting.”


Calum wanted to feel connected to where he is working and what better way to do it than by covering the Children’s Parade.

It was also a great opportunity to get stuck in and talk to strangers.

He said: “Prior to the parade, I was uncomfortable with interviewing people I had never spoken to before, and being thrust into a situation where I had to do that was a useful way to overcome my nerves.

“Also, I had previously only written about events after they had finished and covering an event live gave me the opportunity to convey a sense of the event in situ, which is a wholly different perspective.”

“I enjoyed talking to people who clearly loved the event and the city.”

Finding exclusive stories and assisting Brighton and Hove’s media to cover major events is an important part of being a student at Brighton Journalist Works.

Working on real news stories for publications read by thousands of people gives students a strong sense of professionalism as well as an understanding of newsroom pressure.

Lauren, Becky, Melina and Calum all studied on the 16-week fast track NCTJ course. Tom was on the part-time NCTJ-accredited weekend course.

 

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