Guardian visit for The Big Issue journalism trainees

Journalism trainees at Poached Creative learned how to pitch stories and got the chance to see how a major news organisation operates at a visit to the Guardian's London headquarters last week. 

The visit was part of Poached's training programme for The Big Issue, which aims to teach online journalism skills, including writing and photography, to people of diverse backgrounds, including the long term unemployed, in order to get them real world skills and job experience that can be used as a stepping stone into paid work. 

The Guardian visit was an opportunity for the trainees to see how the news industry operates on a large scale and to receive advice from experienced journalists. I was glad to see that the skills we are learning will translate to a high level work environment. 

I was especially impressed by the Guardian’s online strategy and I think it’s something we can learn from. They are a digital-first company and devote significant time and effort towards their website and interactive media, which is reflected in their readership, which hovers around 200,000 in print and over 5 million daily visitors online. 

The ease of editing articles online compared to in print means that Guardian articles on the website, especially breaking news, often receive updates as developments occur. 

Even the titles of news articles are changing as newspapers move online. It’s no longer enough to include a catchy pun or phrase; instead the headline must have terms that will easily be recognized by search engines, something to remember as we write our own stories. 

After a short history of the Guardian and a Q&A session with our guide, we had the opportunity to ask questions of Guardian journalist Maya Wolfe-Robinson, a commissioning editor for Guardian law and Comment is Free. 

She explained how to pitch opinion pieces and said it is important to be clear about what issue you want to debate and what your angle is. And she stressed that journalists do not have to come from traditional backgrounds and that having a unique perspective on an issue can make for a powerful story. 

The visit encouraged me to try pitching stories to a variety of news outlets and emphasized the most important trait for journalists: persistence. In order for anyone to succeed it is essential to keep building a strong portfolio.

Social Enterprise Day 2013

The contribution of social enterprises was recognised in Parliament today with a special event held in the Commons by the APPG on Social Enterprise to mark Social Enterprise Day 2013. 

Highlights of the day included: a new supply chain guide for businesses by Social Enterprise UK, a new Buy Social animation narrated by John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, and Social Enterprise Belu Water won a contract with the Houses of Parliament.

MPs and business leaders attended the event at the House of Commons, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Enterprise, to learn more about including Social Enterprises in their supply chains. They heard from speakers including Karen Lynch, CEO of Social Enterprise Belu water, Hazel Blears MP, and Jo Swinson, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs.

Poached Creative's work was a key part of Social Enterprise Day 2013. We designed and produced the new materials to support the second phase of the Buy Social campaign - encouraging corporate businesses to buy from social enterprises. This included new display boards featuring Edwin from Give Me Tap, a We Buy Social badge for commercial organisations to show their commitment to social enterprise and Buy Social postcards to promote social enterprise to the public.

A new supply chain guide to help businesses learn about including social enterprises in their supply chains was designed by Poached Creative and we featured alongside several case studies for our work designing the first Social Impact Report for Landmarc, the UK’s 3rd biggest Land Manager.

Jo Swinson encouraged the businesses in attendance to 'buy social':

“Customers and investors are increasingly thinking beyond simply the prices they are paying and the returns they are seeing. They rightly want to know what steps a business is taking which will have a positive effect on the environment, society, their local community and the employees, before making their decision. In order to build a stronger economy and fairer society we need more diverse businesses - social enterprises very much fit the bill.”

Social Enterprise Day marks the one year anniversary since the Buy Social campaign, conceived and created by Poached for Social Enterprise UK, was first launched. Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, said:

“Just like having a carbon footprint, every business has a social footprint and this can be strengthened by the purchasing of goods and services from social enterprises. Lots of social enterprises are small to medium sized businesses that operate locally and so what might be a relatively modest spend for a corporate can make a very big difference to a social enterprise and their impact on a local community.”

Find out more on Social Enterprise UK's  Buy Social page  and join the conversation on Twitter using #buysocial