A reflection: The end of an NCTJ era


So, it’s my first day of ‘freedom’ so to speak. Last night we had our end of course meal and drinks which was LOVELY. I was a bit giddy with excitement beforehand, and it was a really fun night. John proposed a toast along the lines of “It’s been an absolute privilege” (Media Law humour has dominated our lives since we finished the lessons a few weeks ago), and in case you were wondering, I had the minestrone soup and risotto alla marinara. As, incidentally, did John. Pretty much twins. We were treated to a rousing rendition of My Old Man’s a Dustman by Christie, and Ben had troubles with his substandard creme caramel. In all fairness, it was awful.

We then progressed to some beverages at The Bath Arms, where I annihilated about 16,000 bottles of Crabbie’s. For anyone who thinks I’m an idiot, it IS Crabbie’s with an apostrophe… so there you go. This blog isn’t just for entertainment purposes, you know; I also like to impart knowledge onto my followers. I also feel that the final five of us (myself, Becca, Christie, Neil and Liam) deserve a prize for being the last ones standing. And then me and Becca for being the LAST last ones standing. I’m NEVER one of the last standing because I have the mentality of an 82-year-old, so I think I’m allowed to be proud of this.

This course has been extremely liberating. It’s the first time I’ve made a completely independent decision about what to do with my education. It’s been the best part of my ‘educational career’ (horrendous phrase) so far, mainly because it’s been fun, interesting and mentally stimulating.

The highlights have included the mass-hysteria induced by shorthand every day. You just can’t use terms like ‘massive member’ or ‘going deeper’ or ‘easy passage’ or even ‘they smothered her with love and kisses’ without it leading to some kind of reaction. Our Production teacher described teaching us as ‘like being in a Carry On classroom’, which is pretty much bang on. Inevitably, whenever anyone had to read out their shorthand transcription, it would always, without fail, be the part that they’d missed that they had to read. This happened to me about 90% of the time I think.

Media Law was a hoot all round. ‘Stick it up your cracksie’ and ‘It was only some fun with a sausage’ may stick with me forever. For those not in the know, this was in a video we watched about a libel case concerning Gillian Taylforth, and a certain sordid video she appeared in, where she appeared acting rather inappropriately with a bottle and a sausage. I won’t elaborate. Media Law uses a lot of real-life – and not so real life – examples, most of which were pretty much: “Look – if you see David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the ASDA car park having it off in a corner, you would take a photo, would you not?” According to our Media Law teacher, David Cameron is a pretty naughty boy in that ASDA car park.

Then of course, there were in infamous AIR CONDITIONING WARS. It would seem that there is no happy medium. I’m surprised we didn’t break the air con some days, as debates raged on hour after hour over the optimum temperature. 20-22 degrees was the general consensus, but some days it hit 24, and one day it ended up on 16. I’m sure this is fascinating for you all.

Other noteworthy occasions were when several of us attempted the UK Citizenship Test, and all of us failed miserably. I only managed to get one more answer right than Philip, who is from New Zealand, which is pretty embarrassing. Quite why we’d ever need to know when divorce was legalised, though, I’m not quite sure. Our trip to Crown Court was also great. The defendant started speaking to us as we were waiting to sit in on his court case, which was exciting. The planning meeting was a little less exciting. There’s only so long you can listen to quibbles about the placement of KFC signage or the lack of an acoustic survey for a nursery. Another top moment was when we played the desert island game concerning food, drink and entertainment, and Neil opted to take bread and tea as his food and drink, and uproar ensued. John also jumped over the sofas from time to time, which was always a mindblowing experience.

Our little social outings were also fun. The big one was Ladyboys of Bangkok, which was a top notch evening. We all firmly agreed that ladyboys are mighty attractive. There was also our trip to a cafe on one of the first days after a morning of vox pops and a gallery review, where I remember feeling very excited about the weeks to come. We also went to the pub to watch one of the Euro matches. Caroline and I did very well at comprehending what was going on, I like to think.

I could go on forever, but I won’t, as to be honest I’m going to need to retain some material to use for this blog when I spend the next six years unemployed and with nothing to say. So essentially, from this point onwards, this is a blog about sourcing stories for my portfolio and my spiralling depression as I remain jobless until the end of time, along with the odd interview and feature thrown in for good measure. Oh, and of course I have work experience to talk about. Hooray! You’ll be seeing a lot more of all of us in the future as we’re all bloody great, and I have every faith that every single one of my coursemates will make a raging success of their journalist careers. Alas, for now, let us have a moment’s silence in honour of Brighton Journalist Works class of April 2012, and as John very rightly said: “It’s been an absolute privilege.”

Coursemates, please post any other brilliant moments in the comments! We might be able to use them as hilarious anecdotes when we’re all rich and famous!



8 Comments Add yours

  1. herring35 says:

    It’s been an absolute blast. From my pool sessions with James and Phil, to Roxanne not understanding Neil and the what seemed endless reporting exams.

  2. herring35 says:

    It’s been an absolute blast. From my pool sessions with James and Phil to Roxanne not understanding Neil.

    1. And of course, James thinking I was engaged to a woman. And Phil as Bushman. Roxanne will be sorely missed.

  3. Christie says:

    Waaah! This was such a hilarious/emotional read PLUS I completely forgot about my spontaneous my old man’s a dustman outburst – classico!
    Argh what a night, what a 3 months!! Let’s do it all again?! 🙂 xo

    1. Hahaha it was beautiful! I can’t believe I didn’t mention SWEET DEAL, what’s wrong with me?!

      Yesyesyes I’d love to! We need to have a reunion soon (even though we all saw each other less than 24 hours ago hahaha) x

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