Tag: journalism

Why my op-ed travel feature seemed to touch a nerve with dog owners

It has recorded 191 comments by the time I write this.

Some supportive, some hostile. Many are knee-jerk reactions and include some venting of personal bias.

But I’ve enjoyed reading them all.

After all, it’s great as a writer to have a dialogue with readers — even if they are insulting you.

What did surprise me, however, was one of my regular travel features that has never attracted animated such debate.

I’d clearly touched a nerve.

So it is that my op-ed feature for Telegraph Travel, playing up a pantomime take on the way some dog owners will sneer at young children while letting their pets run amuck, will probably be my most read story of the year.

Here’s a sample:

The thing that grates most of all for me, personally, is not the dogs — many are well behaved and offer valuable companionship — but the vitriol that some dog owners heap upon families who dare to take small children out for lunch.

The hysterical hypocrisy of dog owners can be quite staggering, sneering at kids while taking the high-handed view that waiters and fellow diners should all pander to every whim of their prized, pampered pooch.

Read the full feature here and join the debate. All comments are welcome — no, really.

Journalists and content writers: sign up for my new masterclass this autumn

Journalism is complex but the secret to good storytelling is simple: people love to read about people.

This new course, hosted via Journalism.co.uk [see image above], is a hands-on class exploring techniques for writers, such as case studies, sourcing expert views and playing up the human interest to build empathy with your readers.

It will make your stories really come alive.

This four-week course will be taught online. This includes one lesson per week over four consecutive weeks on the same day, plus practical exercises, ongoing feedback and a critique of a draft feature for your chosen publication.

This course is suitable for all professional writers — from career starters beginning their writing career to established journalists looking to refine their skillset in an increasingly competitive freelance market.

What does the course involve?

  • Session 1: Telling stories
  • Session 2: Finding voices
  • Session 3: Handling interviews
  • Sessions 4: Writing a draft

Sign up here: Storytelling and engagement techniques masterclass

Read my latest newsletter for a quick catch-up on my media and travel projects

Travel has been off the agenda for the last few months.

But I’ve still been working and planning, combining journalism projects, media training and tours.

For the quick catch-up, read my latest newsletter.

Please post your comments below and feel free to share with you network. Thanks.

The Amazing Story Of How My Music Fanzine Made History

The first issue, published May 1994

It was 1994.

I was a student on a postgraduate magazine journalism course in London with a project deadline.

Step forward Heaven Up Here, a music fanzine I put together with two fellow students.

We dreamed of jobs on Select magazine and loved getting on the guestlist for gigs at venues like the Astoria and the Water Rats.

It was the Nineties and we didn’t have a care in the world.

The first issue, published in 1994, featured a lead interview with film-noir favourites The Tindersticks and went backstage with Britpop breakthroughs Sleeper at the now-defunct TV show The Beat.

Last week I took a couple of issues from 1994 and 1995 to the London College of Communication.

There they will join the likes of Sniffin’ Glue and Smiths Indeed at the University Library Zine Collection. It has over 200 zines from punk to fashion from the late Seventies onwards.

You can find out more from the collection Facebook page.

Or search the catalogue for the issues here and here.

It only lasted for three issues but our little fanzine helped to launch a career in the media for its founders. And it was lots of fun along the way.

As for the name? Heaven Up Here was the second album by Echo and the Bunnymen, my favourite band as a overcoat-wearing student in the early Nineties.

On the day that the NME sees its last ever print edition on the newsstands, my little bit of history is a reminder that, while we all now work multi-platform, print is still not dead.