The NCTJ’s featured alumnus for March 2011 is Lindsay Nicholson – editorial director of Good Housekeeping magazine and also a regular columnist for the Daily Mail.
In a career that includes being named the first-ever editorial director of the National Magazine Company, she has also edited Prima magazine and launched new titles including Prima Baby and Your Home. Lindsay has chaired both the PPA’s Editorial Training Committee and Women In Journalism and is currently a Press Complaints Commissioner. Her contribution to magazine journalism and training has been recognised with numerous honours and awards including in 2007 the Mark Boxer Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Society of Magazine Editors.
Lindsay began her career on the Mirror Group Newspapers Training Scheme working on a number of local papers based in Plymouth and the West Country. It was there that she studied for her NCTJ Proficiency Certificate including shorthand at 100 wpm.
She says: “I am passionate about the importance of training and still rely on much of what I learned back then, especially the basic principles of constructing a good story whether it’s a wedding report for the Tavistock Times or a column read by over 3 million people. Media law has changed a good deal over the years but the basic principles still apply and form a solid grounding for my role as an editor and on the PCC.
“I still use my shorthand on an almost daily basis but in meetings rather on stories now – although I like to keep my hand in with the occasional Profile piece. Recording devices are fine for back-up but they can go wrong! A contemporaneous shorthand note is a fine tool in your armoury and I would urge anyone contemplating a career in journalism to acquire the skill.
“Finally, I have many happy memories of Oxdown – a place I have obviously never visited, since it existed solely in the minds of NCTJ examiners but which forms an instant bond with other NCTJ alumni.”