. . . when it was one of only SIX journalism colleges in England!
Thanks for visiting. Whether you are interested in journalism generally or more specifically in the training of journalists, you should find this stuff entertaining - and possibly even useful! Enjoy the read . . . and I'd be delighted if you dropped me a line.
Ex-student Neil gives us
all a brilliant read . . .
Who is this chap anyway?
Gerry Kreibich was one of five journalism lecturers at Richmond College, Sheffield, throughout the 1970s and 1980s. (For a bit more background, see the 'classroom scene' page.)
In those pioneering days the simple aim of the
National Council for the Training of Journalists was to impart editorial skills that would enable students to join provincial newspapers and immediately be useful. What happened to those students after that was up to them . . . and many are now prominent people in news- papers, magazines, radio and television
(and quite a few have retired!)
The work was often experimental - methods that worked well were constantly improved, bright ideas that failed were abandoned. Thus were laid the foundations of much that happens today in colleges and
universities all over Britain.
I love it when former students email me about how they have fared in the big wide world. But Neil Benson (with us in 1973/4) has gone one better . . . he's written a top-notch cracker of a book about his varied and colourful 45 years in the business.
Old codgers like me moan about today's regional newspaper scene and and say how glad we are that we knew the good old days. But 'You Can't Libel the Dead' has given me a new perspective. On his final page, Neil writes: 'As a young reporter, all I had to worry about was taking a good shorthand note, writing my story and hitting the deadline. Today's journalist writes stories, takes photographs, shoots and edits video, creates social media posts, hosts and produces podcasts, understands search engine optimisation and can use digital analytics programs to drive audience growth and engagement with readers.' Wow!!
Neil has worked in Sheffield, Northampton, Bradford, Coventry, Newcastle and on Teeside, held two editorships, and been a Daily Express sub-editor in Manchester. Along the way he's been tangled up in some pretty tricky situations and met more than a few larger-than-life characters. The result is a witty and hugely entertaining memoir that's sometimes darkly dramatic -- and often laugh-out-loud funny.
The book (Takahe Publishing Ltd, £10.95) is available from most online book stores. Take my word for it -- you'll love it!
And now - another novelist . . .
The latest former Richmond trainee to become a novelist is Francesca Hanikova. When she finished her full-year course in the 1970s, she became a trainee reporter on The Falmouth Packet, under the watchful eye of Mike Truscott – and now the two of them have produced their first novel together.
Lottery Loveboat (see Amazon books) was written under the pen name ‘Mel Penrose’. It was first self-published four years ago by Mike, but he and Francesca decided to work together on a revised adaptation -- and it was accepted by mainstream publishers Whisper.It’s a light-hearted tale of a shy middle-aged bachelor who has a life-changing lottery win and finds himself on an ocean cruise with six women who have him in their sights. And there is already a second book nearing publication.
The ‘one author, two writers’ arrangement has worked well, says Francesca, who is now Mrs Peterson and mother of five.
And here are a few more who have changed course . . .
Paul Mace, an enthusiastic football fan since he was a youngster, has written ‘One Flew Over the Magpies Nest,’ – a hefty history of his beloved Notts County.
Alan Biggs has written on sport in just about all the national dailies, as well as working for BBC radio and television, TalkSport and Sky. His ‘Confessions of a Football Reporter’ is packed with hilarious tales.
Ian Bevitt slid seamlessly from newspapers into TV directing, and his name still pops up on the screen.
Mat Dyson, well-armed with useful journalistic skills, skipped newspapers altogether and joined the Home Office and then the Foreign Office.. He is still visible on TV in old screenings of his role as a senior immigration officer, and he is now with UK Border Force at Heathrow, as Assistant Director and Head of Future Operations.
Jo Overty has the best job title! After 19 years with Isle of Man news publications she now works for the Isle of Man Government and is (wait for it!) UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man Project Officer.
Paul Linford worked on four newspapers before joining HoldTheFrontPage – the must-see news website for Britain’s provincial newspapers. Then ,a few years ago, he bought it, and he is now HTFP’s owner/publisher.
SIMON GETS INTO THE
Simon Bradshaw, a Richmond student in 1979, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community . . . his reward for keeping the Henley Standard alive against the odds right through the pandemic lockdowns.
He has been editor of the Standard for 14 years, and his award in the New Year Honours list came as a complete surprise. He said: It has been a real fillip for all those here in the editorial department who have worked so hard to bring the paper out each week, come what may. Even a global epidemic couldn’t stop us. I like to think that we did our bit to show our locked-down readers that they were not alone and that there were still plenty of good things in the world.’
Since his far-off college days, Simon has held top posts with Bradford Telegraph and Argus, Edinburgh Evening News, Newcastle Chronicle, the Brighton Argus and the Scottish Daily Record.
The BEM is not his only claim to fame – the Henley Standard won the ‘Weekly Newspaper of the Year’ title in the 2019 Regional Press Awards.
Grim memories of the
Yorkshire Ripper . . .
News of the death in hospital of the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ brought back vivid college memories. Female students, frightened to make their way home alone after lectures, used to congregate in the entrance hall and make sure that they left the building in groups of three or four.
Once, on one of our visits to Sheffield’s police
headquarters, the copper who was showing us round casually pointed to another officer and said ‘There’s the chap who arrested the Ripper’. Wow! All the girls could happily have hugged him!
Every so often, some former
student spots this webpage
and decides to get in touch.
Visit the Letters Page and
you'll find their nostalgic
the letters . . .