Tag Archives: The Big Issue online journalists

2 days a week for 6 weeks, doesn’t sound too long does it?

Pic: Catherine. Chris and Sana, learning how to use the course cameras, during photography week.

Pic: Catherine. Chris and Sana, learning how to use the course cameras, during photography week.

By Sana Amos

Before I started the Big Issue online journalism course I thought it sounded too short and too long at the same time.

Short, because how much can you really learn in this time frame? Long, because for myself and I am sure for others on the course routine and purpose of days has not been part of our lives for some time. The thought of it felt alien to me and I did not have the faith and confidence that I would be able to last the whole course, let alone complete it!

While I was really frightened at the beginning I applied because it sounded like a great project to be involved in. However from my personal experiences and for many others that I have met and known through hospitals/hostels/care centres, as much as you want to accomplish things or makes changes, there are certain external factors that sway you so fast that they become priorities, habits, part of and at points your whole life; it becomes a circle very hard to break free from. Continue reading

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Filed under Catherine B, Sana, Trainees blog

Week 2: Introduction to Photojournalism

Pic: Sana Amos. William, Zoe, Gordon and Declan during Thursdays photography excercise.

Pic: Sana Amos. William, Zoe, Gordon and Declan during Thursdays photography exercise.

By Sana Amos

After our great start, I was looking forward to this week as I am not a woman of many words but give me a camera and I will be lost in my own surreal world for hours. To say the least I was very excited to get started and learn to combine photos and words.

Once everyone arrived and had a hot drink in our hands, our tutor Zoe kickstarted our 10am Thursday session with an old style pub quiz about, you guessed it, photojournalism! Divided into two groups, we quickly got into the competitive spirit. It was really fun and insightful as I felt confident with the technical aspect of photography but learnt new information on the history of journalism such as war propaganda pictures. The rule is no alteration should be made to any journalists photographs, as you have to show what is really there, so not even a small tweak. After marking each other’s answers, Zoe concluded with a short presentation. Oh, and yes our group won! Continue reading

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Big news for the online journalists!

Former trainee Anil Parmar, who has recently launched buzzbikehire.com

Former trainee Anil Parmar, who has recently launched cycle hire company buzzbikehire.com

By Yousif Farah

It is amazing news that the Big Issue online journalists have secured funding for a further two courses, thanks to the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund.

As a former trainee I am pleased the course will carry on opening its doors to more budding journalists like myself, who have been homelessness, marginalised, suffered from depression, or been long term unemployed.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Big Issue online journalism course re-union, that was attended by some of my former classmates and trainees from the other 3 courses. The reunion was aimed at reviewing the progress of the trainees, addressing any obstacles they may be facing and structuring a future plan for each trainee.

Having suffered from both depression and anxiety I understand how difficult it is to turn the tables round and start a new chapter in ones life. It requires willpower and determination and above all it requires the right mentoring and support. That is why for me the meeting was exciting and informative, but also inspirational, as I was exposed to shining examples of personal triumphs. These give me hope for the future and a feeling of relief and reassurance, knowing that I am not embarking on this journey on my own.

At the reunion I learnt that since completing the course Anil has seen his dreams materialise into reality by launching a bike hire business; Danielle has regained her confidence to be a successful journalist once again, Chris is working as a successful freelance filmmaker and Sam has joined the NUJ and interviewed household names such as Russell Brand and Caroline Lucas MP. To name just a few of the great stories.

Personally, since completing the course I feel like a different person, as the depression is fading away and for me the experience was life altering, to say the least! I am currently volunteering as a Press Officer with Poached Creative, freelancing for an art magazine called Homeless Diamonds and feel very optimistic about the future. All Praise to Poached Creative, The Big Issue and everyone involved in this project!

To see how the Big Issue online journalism course has helped transform the lives of other disadvantaged London residents visit the Trainee Case Studies page

The Dispossessed Fund makes a positive impact on the lives of marginalised and disadvantaged people, by providing grants to grass root charities and voluntary groups in London. To find out more about the Dispossessed Fund visit their website

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Danielle’s story

After studying at The London School of Journalism Danielle became a freelance journalist, working for various publications, including The Guardian, Mixmag and Time Out.

Unfortunately personal issues got in the way of her blossoming career and she lost confidence in her writing ability. So when the opportunity to join the Big Issue online journalists came up Danielle jumped at the chance to rehome her skills, get her confidence back and reignite her journalistic career. She explained:

“I hadn’t been working for a while because of family, personal and housing problems when my employment coach at Crisis called me and told me about the course. While I had already trained as a journalist we thought it was a good idea for me to go on it and develop my photography skills some more, because photography was something I wanted to take further.”

While Danielle initially joined the course as a photography trainee working in a journalistic environment quickly reignited her passion for writing and she quickly began engaging in both activities, writing about wider social issues important to her, alongside the social enterprises and charities she interviewed as part of the training. Speaking about the effect the course had on her personally Danielle said:

“I found the training very useful in terms of sharpening my skills and improving my confidence again in terms of writing”

As well as helping Danielle regain her skills and confidence as a journalist the development of her networking skills has proved to be equally important in kickstarting her career and it was at a training session at Thomson Reuters Foundation that Danielle learn’t the importance of social media networking for journalists. She recalled:

“The session on photojournalism and how to use Twitter more effectively was really helpful, as it showed me how we are living in an age where journalists have to be online as well as front line,” adding: “I feel that since the training course I have been much more confident [using social media] and have been able to use Twitter and Linkedin to network and arrange interviews”

Through contacts made on the course Danielle has gone on to work for Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Big Issue and Poached Creative. Speaking about her career moving forward Danielle said:

“One of the things I learn’t on the Big Issue training course with Poached Creative was the importance of your online presence, so I’m just finishing off what I would call my online strategy as a journalist. It has taken me some time but I have now finished my website and have a flickr account for my photography work. Through these online platforms I hope to reach out and make new contacts.”

Today Danielle is working part time at Answers From Big Issue and freelancing for Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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Filed under Danielle Aumord, Trainee Case Studies

Chris’s story

By Martin Kitara

Before joining the Big Issue online journalists Chris had only sporadic periods of employment. He discovered the course following advice from a friend who had taken part in the training and thought that Chris would benefit from it.

Chris has been a keen photographer since 17, but at that point he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. More recently photography has become more important to him and he started thinking about having a job which involved taking pictures for a living.

Since completing the Big Issue Online Journalism course Chris has been working freelance on a film project for Mediorite and on various market research assignments. He said: “Discovering Poached has really been good for me. I met Jess [Director, Poached Creative] and Lucy [Director, Mediorite]. I learnt more skills in photography which was helpful. I also met new people.”

Chris really appreciates what he’s learnt at Poached. Chris said: “It is important to get out there and take opportunities regardless whether you are marginalised or not. It’s about putting yourself forward to create opportunities for yourself and doing things you are interested in with a group of people with similar interests. This gives you a push and motivates you to do stuff. When you don’t believe in yourself you get lazy. If you’re unemployed it is a chance to rediscover yourself.”

Since the training Chris has discovered the importance of keeping busy with work. He films and edits for market research companies, charities and is continuing with photography as a personal hobby.

Chris is passionate about the work he’s doing now. He enjoys the process of filming, editing and camera work. He likes the films he’s making because they are trying to make a change.

He hopes to continue making films for charities in London, making a successful living with a decent portfolio. He still has aspirations to do more ‘art-house’ work and wants to apply the skills he has learnt to different avenues. Chris says: “I enjoy photography the most because it gives you a strong feeling straight away. Filming is more diluted but is becoming more and more important.”

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Filed under Chris, Martin, Trainee Case Studies