Tips for freelance writing and job hunting (notes)  

Don’t be afraid to communicate pick up the phone, go into the work place or set up a meeting.

Initial letter – here are my ideas, 3 clever ideas. Give contacts details because there could be money to be made. 

Lots of self discipline and good money management. Make sure deadlines are adhered to. 

Communicate regularly with clients and contacts. Drop them an email

Writers may be interested in a event MAy 10th PPA event is taking place big industry branches will be there. Magazine writing based 

Develop contacts and target areas that you want to work in, get your name know. Build a portfolio. 

Keep evidence from all conversations with contacts so that if anything is wrong then you can say well I have it in writing what you asked for and agreed to. 

Look on gorkana as it has lots of job alerts advertised. It’s has niche, online/ digital, corporate magazines and internships. Big magazines. Around the country opportunities. 

Be open to job possibilities, don’t limit yourself. 

Over Easter Plans for Projects

As said in a previous post, I have a lot to catch up on and get done due to ill health and time off for surgery. I was really relieved that Easter has come around. This gives me the perfect time to focus on my work and to try and get things ready for the upcoming deadlines. I am worried that I won’t be able to get everything finished in time for submission, but by planning and organising my time will give me a better chance.

I’ve outlined what needs to be done for the self-initiated project in a different post.

I also need to complete:

CATS unit

  • Presentation on academic essay writing, looking at the strengths and weaknesses of my last semester essay.
  • Dissertation proposal
  • Dissertation presentation, what I will be doing and why chosen that subject matter.
  • 2 Industry reflections;
    • look at the ethics and morality surrounding virtual reality. There’s lots of debate going on in the industry about a variety of issues connected to this – this article will prove a useful starting point for your research, as will this. The question you need to formulate an answer/argument around is this: What can publishers do to try to prevent public concern around the ethics of virtual reality?
    • You’ll be picking up on a theme from journalism day on Monday, and the fragmentation of mainstream media. Newspapers are in trouble. Circulation is dropping, ad revenue is shrinking, and the industry has experienced an unprecedented wave of layoffs and cutbacks. The reflection I want you to look at answers the question: Is print dead, and the future of journalism purely online? Conducting your own research, I want you to formulate and argument, either way, backing up your assertions through research (which should be Harvard Referenced).


Creative futures – Carmen

  • Identify what feature story will be and how I will approach the subject.
  • Write a draft, submit when back
  • Research and plan a news story
  • Identify what the news story will be and how I will approach the subject.
  • Write a draft, submit when back

Work for Sally

  • Make a mock up site on WordPress.
  • Identify strength and weaknesses

Blog posting throughout to evidence where I am at and to show progression.

Over Easter Plans

Due to my time off I have a lot to catch up on and get done. I was really relieved that Easter has come around now as this time can be spent wisely.

The first thing I want to do is contact the press office back and get something sorted for my first story. I need to confirm whether or not I can get an interview with a surgeon. I also want to contact my interviewee for my second story, to find out when we can meet up again. I also need to arrange contingency plans in case this falls through.

After this I will rewrite or make changes to the written stories to make them better, I will use the feedback I’ve received to make key decisions about the structure and phrasing.

Throughout blog posting my progression. I won’t be blogging the story content as we’ve been asked to keep it unwraps until the website is launched.

Once happy and if finished, I will then move on to the next thing I need to catch up with or start something else for this project.

Group meeting and discussion of work whist I was off

Whilst I was off the group met up and Fallon the editor made a written document so that people in the group understand what each person is doing. This will help to cut down on duplication piece of work and so that we all know what stories have already been taken. The editor set a deadline for the 6th April. The deadline was the first piece of work for the website.

I wasn’t aware of the deadline date until I returned to my studies, however, there won’t be an issue with me getting some work submitted. I have made some changes to the written piece and need to still make a few more. Once this is done I can submit the written piece and add more content for visuals later. This will be a video and an image.

I read the plan that Fallon had made and to prefer it looks bare, members of the group have nothing besides their name. Through other discussions, it is clear that some do not know what to do and haven’t even started any of the work required. This is bad as deadlines are fast approaching and the website will end up looking bare at the end if we all don’t start communicating better and start to get work finished.


Creating Website logo

Today, in a group chat with the people who turned up, it was identified that we still needed a logo for the name and byline of the website. I volunteered to do some designs for this because I enjoy the creative side of the course. Also with me having time off recently for ill health and my surgery, I wanted to show that I am back and ready to step up and work as a part of the team.

The agreed name of the website is: “Out of the Shadows” and the byline is: “Shining light on Modern Day Slavery.”

When creating this logo I know that it has to reflect that of a professional standard and has to also reflect the brand identity of the site. This will help to draw people to stay on the site and deem it as a highly well designed and thought out. Professionalism is key as it then makes the audience see content as reliable.

Whilst I know the text that has to be included in the logo, I am not entirely convinced on how the layout should look. To help me narrow down on a few different designs I roughly sketched on a piece of paper some ideas.

image_6483441 (1).JPG

Once I was satisfied with three designs I then started to build digital versions. This will help me to see what works and what doesn’t. Also, it gives the group more designs to choose from. To build the digital versions I will and am still going to use Adobe Photoshop as this is a great tool and I have previous knowledge of the software.

For the first design, I wanted to create a spotlight effect. In order for me to do this, I referred back to old notes and spoke to Dave Eccles who taught me in the first year. He explained the steps that I needed to do and this really helped to refresh my memory. As he spoke I made notes in order for me to remember everything so I didn’t make a mistake.

Here is how you create a spotlight effect

Step 1: set up a blank document with a black background. set the canvas to 10 by 6 and 75 dpi. This can alter depending on the size of the file required.

Step 2: create a new blank layer, with that layer selected then click on the rectangular marquee tool. With this draw, a narrow selection in the middle of the canvas but all the was down to the bottom of the canvas. After this either click Shift and Delete (mac) or Shift and backspace if you’re using a windows system. this brings up the fill palette, set this to 50% grey and click ok.

Step 3: Go to the filters drop down menu and hover over render then select fibres. The fibres tab will appear. zoom the rectangle image out to 33 % so you can see the fill image set the variance to 4 and the strength to 30 then click ok.

Step 4: Next open the levels tab and the 3 points change to 16- 1.00- 138 then click okay. This will help with the contrast.

Step 5: After that go to the filter menu go down to blur then click on motion blur set this to 90 degrees up and down and set the distance at 250 pixels. click ok then add a layer mask onto the layer. use the gradient tool and in the pallet pick the 2nd item in the first row. This is the foreground to transparency. Set the colour to black.  Press Shift and drag from the top of the rectangle downwards. Now you can delete the layer mask and click apply because that will keep what you have done on the actual layer itself.

Step 6: Press command, control and t and rotate the object to a make it angled off the corner of the page. whilst still highlighted click control and right click then pick the option to distort. push and pull the points to make it closer together at the edge of the page and open up the other points to represent that of a light beam.

Step 7: click control and the hue and saturation option the tab will open up. tick the box that says colourise and slide the points across until you get the colour that you want.

Step 8: create a round element by selecting the elliptical marquee tool and create a narrow oval shape. This shows the bounce of the beam on the floor.

Here are my efforts

The next design was more simple to create but still had a few steps, this time I wanted to use thicker text and smoke.

For the font of the text, I used Haettenschweiler. I thought it was bold and it makes a statement and was easy to read for the audience. Next, I wanted to use smoke but that is something I wasn’t sure how to create so i used an image from Creative Commons which is a royalty free site. This protects me and the project from legal issues with plagarism and copyrights.

The image was set as the background and I duplicated this layer and placed it higher the text layers as I wanted the image through the white text. To do this you go to layer create clipping mask. This has been successful on two words but having issues with the two other words I want the same. I don’t know what the issue is so I will ask Dave when i next see him around HSAD.

Here is my attempt so far


Meeting Emma Jones and Alex Duffy Viking FM presenters

Today was really insightful, hearing first-hand what it’s like to be a radio presenter and how busy the job is. Emma was really excited to let us understand the importance of being yourself and them ways in which helps people to open up. The importance of this as a practitioner is that these people who open up may say something which could lead to a story. Being yourself is key as this will make others more comfortable and feel at ease when talking to you. It also shows a human side which people connect with.

They spoke about being in radio and what it meant to them individually, it was nice to see people being successful and getting to where they want to be. This shows that if you want something and work hard it is achievable.

Alex Duffy said: “never settle always find something to strive for, I wanted to become a breakfast presenter and that happened now I’m thinking how it can be better, how can it be bigger, and what can I do next.”

He also mentioned how putting yourselves out there can really help to create better prospects and land a career.

Overall, I thought that it was a great opportunity and let us ask questions to someone in the industry. I thought it could have been done earlier in the year as we’ve got loads of projects and deadlines coming up and this time could have been put to better use so that we have more chance of meeting these deadlines.

Notes and analysis on mending the leaky bucket

During today’s session, we were introduced to the issues of the leaky bucket. It was referred to by ‘the curse of the single page visit’. People who go to a website tend to stay on it for around 30 seconds and leave, without looking at further content. Many websites and blogs often have this issue.

How do we capture an audience –reducing the bounce rate?

  • Create and email newsletter – it allows us to gain information who subscribe to content, this helps with contact building and helps you to tailor content. A plugin called mail chip is free and allows people to subscribe.
  • Have a related posts section at the bottom of a story. This will people stay on the site and read more, links will also allow people to bounce to springboard content or other content within the website.
  • A comment section allows interactivity from people. However, before posted it is key to moderate what people are saying. This could save legal issues and problems occurring. Once accepted the comments can lead to debates and to give other ideas for future content, interaction is key as people like to have their say, polls, for instance, will make people come back for results.
  • Social media sharing options are key in today’s society, it allows people to share content and help to follow content, meaning more likely to see new things when posted on the website. Multimedia helps to engage audience longer.
  • Keeping up with analytics will help to identify key information like visit rate, most popular times for people viewing content, most popular stories, locations.

When developing the modern slavery website further and for other future works, all of these methods will be imperative so that we keep audience’s attention and so that we don’t have the curse of the single page visit.


Recently, I had an operation and required a minimum of 2 weeks off for recovery purposes. This, however, impacted on my work as I had to put this to the back of my mind. I just returned to my studies and I am now finding it difficult to pick up where I left off. I tried to do some blog posting. I had one story started and two others which I had in the pipeline.

To be honest I am not as behind as I thought I would be and know for sure that I have done more than most in my group.

As I was really organised leading up to my operation I was able to get a story written up and asked for feedback on it. I knew that there was going to be things that I needed to change and add in, but because of my time restraints, I thought submitting something was better than nothing. I thought over how I was going to make the story more interactive and visually appealing on the site but never had a chance to set anything in concrete before I went in for my operation. The ideas were to have an image which I will take. It will be someone holding something which says ‘not for sale’. Also, I thought about doing an interview with someone who has had a transplant or who is on a waiting list. Or even a surgeon. This will help to give my feature balance. Also, make it more credible if I have someone high up in the medical profession backing up what I say.

I was given the feedback but as my operation was the day after, there was no time for me to go back over it and amend it. After my operation and time out it made it harder to make sense of the notes in the feedback. I am going to have to get fresh feedback in order for me to understand how and what I need to do to make it read better and improve it.

Overall, my health is causing issues with my studies as I have to have days off when because I am in too much pain and can barely move. This means that I can never really plan things out to a tee as I never know if I’m going to be able to make it into HSAD or to interviews. I do feel that the tutors support me the best they can but I do feel that sections of the degree are not so accessible for someone who has a physical disability. For instance, I can’t do work experience as the course doesn’t supply a helper/PA for it. I require one for personal and physical reasons. I’ve even approached Social Services and applied for a PA, however, they said that budgets have been cut and that it should be down to the place of education to provide the necessary support for me to be able to complete course requirements. To be honest, it feels like the book keeps being passed back and forth, so I’m not getting any closer in doing work experience.

My disability also makes it harder to get around when needing to go do interviews. Getting places is difficult as I don’t have the support out and about. This means that I am limited to getting people to come into HSAD in order for me to be able to do them.

Talk and Q&A with Sarah Colley

Meeting Sarah Colley was insightful as she gave good suggestions for further topic areas within the realms of Modern Day Slavery.

Sarah Colley is involved with the freedom talks and other events similar and comes across as really focused and knowledgeable. She also is from Hull University.

The day consisted of use doing a task where we had to write down key areas of modern day slavery then explain what we knew of the area of slavery. To be honest, this part wasn’t that engaging and pretty pointless as we had already conducted research and got to grips with what we went back over. I guess it was a refresher.

The best part about Sarah coming in is that she answered a few questions I had. Also, she brought in some videos that highlighted key scenarios that can happen with slavery today. It gave us an insight into how others are choosing to cover and expose the issues and how they approach sensitive and bold content. The video where used for campaigns and advertising to raise awareness.

The best video which she showed use was very gripping and pulled at the heart strings, it makes you ask questions like ‘ does this seriously still happen this way today’ etc. It was about a homeless man who was offered a safe place to stay but as a result, he was then trapped and made to work for no pay. It was interesting to see how the producer of the video filmed it and how he got the message out there to the audience.