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Sky correspondent hails regional press as ‘perfect’ training ground for journalists

Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford has hailed the importance of the regional press as a training ground for journalists in a video marking Journalism Matters week.

Alex, who is the patron of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, has offered her advice for aspiring journalists in a video message recorded to mark the campaign, which was formerly known as Local Newspaper Week.

In the video, Alex explained how she got into journalism applying to “virtually every regional newspaper in the country” before being given a chance by Adam McKinley, editor of the Wokingham Times.

She described Adam as a “pivotal person” in her career, and explained how he placed high importance on training by setting aside money for all trainees to go through NCTJ training and learn skills such as shorthand.

Said Alex: “I feel very strongly about the importance of learning and training at the grassroots level.”

She added: “I think it’s very difficult to have the confidence [and] all the weapons you need as a journalist if you’re jettisoned straight to a very big field.

“For me, it was very important to go to town council meetings, district council meetings and to be the only person in the office when the members of the public came in to complain about what you’ve written.

“It was a perfect ground to make mistakes and learn about what is important, because every story has a local beginning and will have started somewhere small.”

In the video Alex also praised Walter Greenwood, co-author of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, who taught her media law.

Offering advice to would-be journalists, she said: “Don’t think too big too quickly, you’re going to harm yourself and find it difficult, try to remember to take it slow.

“We’re all hungry, we all want to learn fast but sometimes you just have to do the training, you can’t go straight to running a marathon, we have to do the training beforehand.

“It will help you and it will help the industry in the end.”

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  • May 13, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I respect Crawford as a journalist but the kindest thing I can say about her comments is that it has been a long time since she was there. One of the reasons for the poor quality of writing on local papers is because the “old hands” have left and the keen, bright but green young trainees get little or no guidance.

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