NCTJ Skills Conference 2014

The NCTJ is holding its annual festival of journalism skills in Sheffield on Thursday and Friday.

It brings together journalists, academics and trainers to discuss the most important issues facing the next generation of reporters.

By-election competition: the winners

A by-election of national signficance brought many of the country's top political journalists to Rochester and Strood during November.

It was an opportunity too good to miss for Centre for Journalism students, who elbowed their way into some of the glitziest media scrums ever seen in the Medway Towns to report on the historic battle between Ukip and the Conservatives.

At stake was not just the chance to go shoulder-to-shoulder with Nick Robinson, but also the prospect of cash prizes in our election coverage competition.

The Guardian's guide to better writing

Every journalist knows the sight of a newsroom full of flustered and bedraggled reporters cursing every tick of the second hand as the clock pushes on mercilessly towards a deadline.

Every news editor and sub knows that many of those reporters have only themselves to blame.

Reporters have wasted countless hours of valuable newsroom time typing out needlessly complex sentences, empty cliches and other alphabetic fodder. Countless more has been spent expunging the same before the stories can be published.

The art of interviewing

I have to admit I was a little worried this morning when my car started to emit a shrill and urgent noise as it approached Chatham.

It turned out to be the radio, struggling to reach the whistle-tone frequency of Mishal Hussain's interview with deputy PM Nick Clegg on Radio 4's Today  (available on iPlayer, if you missed it).

Her determination to ensure Mr Clegg would not get a word in made me think about the interviewing advice Ron and I gave to our new recruits last week.

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