Getting on the radio

getting-on-the-radioJordan Moates completed the NCTJ broadcast journalism qualification at the University of Ulster during the pilot year. He writes about his training and how it helped him gain employment in the industry.

I recently completed the Masters in Journalism course at the University of Ulster’s Coleraine campus. The course covered all aspects of journalism; newspaper, online and broadcast.

I was most interested in the broadcast aspect of the course, as my background had been in student radio during my undergraduate degree. My class was one of the first to complete this option with the NCTJ. The module gave a good grounding to build on in the “real world”.

While completing the course I was lucky to secure a freelance position in the newsroom at Citybeat, a local radio station in Belfast. Everything I was learning in the classroom I was able to put into practice in a real scenario and at the same time learn the tricks of the trade from the experienced journalists.

As a broadcast journalist in a small newsroom I get to do everything. When I am reading the news it’s my job to go through press releases, do interviews over the phone, and most importantly write the news. The radio part of the module helped with this. It got me into the mind frame of subbing down a press release from three pages to three lines. It also helps with making running order decisions and recognising what is a top story.

Most of my work within Citybeat is unsupervised so completing the OFCOM aspect of the broadcast module was essential. This along with the other law module the NCTJ offered has been invaluable. Before the course I never knew there were so many different things you can and can’t do.

The module also covers TV, with an exam getting you to put together a TV report and voice it up. With me working in radio you may think I don’t get the chance to use this skill, but you are wrong.

With the internet every journalist is really a cross platform journalist. So if I am out covering a story and can get video, that can be edited and put online along with an article.

Since I joined the team I have covered quite a variety of stories. I was there to welcome home the Olympic medallists back into Northern Ireland, getting to wear a medal in the process!

I was at Belfast City Hall when they voted to remove the Union Flag resulting in weeks of protests and violence across Northern Ireland.

The biggest story I have covered was the death of David Black, a prison officer shot dead by dissident republicans on his way to work in late 2012. I reported from the area it happened in and got the first picture of the car used in the attack, which as a result of Twitter was then picked up by the national news channels.

The most interesting story I have covered was of the last man sentenced to death in Northern Ireland having his conviction completely overturned and being declared innocent.