Writing for Purpose Evaluation- Travel Specialism

My specialist subject article: travel journalism

For my specialist subject I wanted to write about travel as this is a huge passion of mine. I love experiencing different cultures and exploring countries. I had the opportunity to travel to Memphis, Tennessee with a group of music degree students in the Summer of 2013 and used this as inspiration for writing a piece of journalism for a travel and tourism blog. Featuring 5 must-see attractions of the city. I feel my writing style for the article was very laid back, and not so newsy, as I felt that the things I had to write about where more suitable for a recommendation type of article.

As a result, I wrote a piece that could feature on a travel blog for aspiring travellers and backpackers alike. But mostly, my target audience for the article is students looking to travel in their gap-year, post-graduates, or people between the ages of 16-25 in general.

Critically, I think my writing style is most appropriate for this age range as I feel that this audience appreciates a more chatty style of writing. Unlike the websites that I researched to get inspiration, my article is much more student/teenager friendly. As well as this, my piece is touristy, much more a suggestion and advisory article.

Because this is my first article in the specialism of travel journalism, I obviously need improvement in how I structure my article. To improve in this area, I will write more travel pieces about the places I have holidayed in, using the same recommendation-type style. This practice will help me gain more experience in writing about travel.

Specialist Subject Research

In my research for writing a piece of travel journalism, I looked at travel blogs and sites to analyse the way in which the posts are written, so that I can follow the correct guidelines. To find the type of website/magazine for my article and photographs to be published to, I had to search the different outlets which post trip advisory articles and destination recommendations from travel journalists. I would like to write a more lifestyle travel blog, instead of a purely informatory article about my trip.

The first website I looked at to decide which type of site I would write a piece for was The Telegraph’s travel blog. (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/travel/) The site posts holiday recommendations, which is the type of article I want to write, transport articles, and so on. However, I found the type of articles here were more like information pieces, which I wanted to avoid as I want to write a post in the medium of a lifestyle website.

This finding took me to the next research subject, Lifestyle + Travel, which is an online travel magazine. (http://www.lifestyleandtravel.com/) In this magazine, the article are guides to where to eat and where to visit at each destination. They give the audience travel ideas, which is more relevant to me in my research as I would like to write a piece of journalism like this, rather than an information and advertisement piece, like those on The Telegraph’s travel blog.

Following the Lifestyle + Travel discovery, I found Travel+Leisure, a website that includes articles, hotel recommendations, restaurant recommendations, and ideas of things to do in each city. Again, the articles here are a little different to the piece of journalism I had in mind for myself. The way they are written are first-hand accounts of what the journalist got up to in the city, like this one of Dulbin: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/surprising-dublin. As you read on though, the article becomes more the type of travel journalism I would like to write about Memphis. The journalist moves on to hotel, shopping, restaurant, and bar recommendations in the style I think I would be able to write in: http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/surprising-dublin/2. The writing is personable, engaging and interesting, which is everything I want for my own travel piece.

The Victorious Hull!

Hull has been crowned the next UK City of Culture after a tough campaign, beating out other diverse cities such as Leicester, Dundee, and Swansea Bay.

The Yorkshire city, known for its fishing ports, William Wilberforce, and the Humber Bridge, was triumphant, defeating some of the UK’s most cultured cities to be honoured as the winning city.

Joan Venus-Evans, a BBC employee, said, “I think it’s probably the best thing that’s happened to Hull, certainly in my lifetime. I think it’s going to be an inspiration for all the young people coming through. It’s going to create a lot of jobs. It’s going to give us more of an identity and it will put us on the world stage.”

Fashion retailer, Diane Wilson said, “I hope that it generates more jobs in the city, because I think the city is lacking in [that department]. The city is down beat at the moment, there’s no money. This will potentially create more jobs, which gives the public more money to spend, which will liven up the city.”

The next step is to plan out what this title will bring to Hull, and what will happen with the job market, the arts, the city’s architecture, and tourists as a result.

“I think it will be a gradual thing. I think it we’ll have it in our minds for the next three years that this big event is going to happen in the city. I think gradually we’ll see improvements around the place. I think buildings will start to be renovated a little bit,” said Venus-Evans.

“The city also has visitors from near towns such as Grimsby; I hope that more people will come from other cities, as it will be nice to see people from further afield. The city is behind in the shopping industry; I believe this will boost Hull’s economy,” added Wilson.

It seems most people in Hull are looking forward to the great things that could come from Hull’s victory. Specifically, with Hull’s job market and diversity within the artsy careers such as architecture, theatre, film, and design.

“I think people will become more inspired to be creative. I think towards the event you’ll get more and more excitement building up,” Venus-Evans added. “I think you’ll start to find out what’s going to happen. In 2017, there’ll just be people coming from all over to the events that are being put on.”

Well done, Hull. The local people are proud!

Who is Bill Coles?

“Ah! I see you’re all reading my book! I hope you’re all loving it,” says Bill Coles theatrically as he walks into the room, pre-lecture. It’s my first interaction with the man, but already I can read what type of man he is: personable, easy-going and slightly eccentric.

The book he’s talking about is Red Top; his how-to guide for budding journalists and reporters alike. In the book, Coles explains about the do’s and don’ts of being a Red Top tabloid reporter and references his own extraordinary experiences within the world of Journalism.

Having written for The Scotsman, The Wall Street Journal, The Sun, and the Huffington Post, you wouldn’t go far wrong thinking Bill Coles knows a thing or two about reporting.

As a University of Bristol Theology graduate, Coles began his working life in a hotel. His mother, however, believed he was destined for far greater things. Suggesting he meet with a guidance counsellor to help inspire a new career path, it was during this meeting that Coles was awakened to his potential as a Journalist.

Cliched or not, this realisation spurred him to find a place for himself within the big, wide world of Journalism. Now, with all his industry experience, and ten books under his belt, Coles is more than willing to share trade secrets and vital tips with aspiring reporters.

When asked what he believes is the key to becoming a success in the gritty field of reporting, Coles replies simply; “Charm.”

Of course, Coles makes sure we all know that charm isn’t something we are all naturally gifted with. He says it can be learnt through simple trial and error.

“What I’m suggesting is rather like learning to drive a car — you start on the lowest level. You have to try to connect with strangers who you come into contact with. When you next buy a coffee, rather than just saying, ‘Thanks for my coffee. Goodbye,’ you could do a lot worse than saying, ‘How’s your day going so far?’ You can flick any sort of ball you like towards this stranger and you’re going to see if they want to play ball with you.”

Coles most definitely practices what he preaches; he exudes charm from every pore, and has the audience enthralled by stories about his life as a tabloid hack… and his tale of Lord Lucan and the shark’s teeth…

About 40 minutes into discussing his working life, he stops and declares he has a bag of shark’s teeth he’s wants to pass around, requesting everyone, “take as many as they want” — it’s slightly strange, but we all do as he says without question. He gets back to his lecture.

After imparting some more journalistic wisdom onto the keen listeners, Coles says he’s going to reveal the story of the shark’s teeth. He starts by referencing his work of fiction: Lord Lucan: My Story, and explains that after the Earl of Lucan came into power, he locked up his brothers in a cage for 40 years. Coles then compared this to real life; how he knows of a millionairess who does the same things day-in day-out, and concluding that it’s also a form of cage life.

He finishes by stating, “These shark’s teeth are 50 million years old. We only live for a fraction of that time. Make sure you make the most of it. If you feel you’re starting to live in cage life, get out, experience something different. Don’t succumb to the routine of life.”

And I can’t help but think that that message will stick with each and every person in the room.

Bill Coles Research for Lecture

Before becoming a Journalist, Bill studied Theology at the University of Bristol and went on to work at a hotel. His mother wanted him to do something more worthwhile with his life, so seeking a new career path, he went to see a guidance counsellor who told him he was best suited for a career in Journalism. After this, his mother paid £400 for him to go and learn shorthand and typing. Subsequently, he became an apprentice at his local newspaper, the Cambridge Evening News, where the editor trained him as a reporter. He has previously worked for The Scotsman, The Wall Street Journal and The Sun (before the phone hacking scandal occurred), and now publishes romance novels and writes for the Huffington Post. His latest book The Woman Who Was The Desert Dream was published in October 2013.


Opinion Piece Edit

For a long time, the National Health Service’s quality of care has been questioned, so is it really a shocker that Watchdog has revealed one in four hospitals are providing inadequate care?

With specialist nursing schools almost wiped out, it’s impossible for medical students to receive the proper bedside manner training, which is something hospital staffs severely lack nowadays. Leicester Royal Infirmary had 275 complaints in 2010, followed by The Ipswich Hospital with 205. The BBC even stated that the care performances in some areas pose a direct elevated risk to patients — it’s not right, at all.

The NHS’s obsession with having fancy degrees means very little when their employees with said fancy degrees don’t have basic caring skills. It’s atrocious that the place people go to get better is where they are being treated so poorly.

My mother was a nurse for forty years before retiring; when she first qualified, it was all about making sure the patients were as peaceful as can be — now that’s all history. If medical staff can’t make sure that the patients they are there to help are comfortable, what else are they failing at? (Hospital meals come to mind.)

“Qualified nursing staff don’t have the commitment to the patients, it’s the Health Care Assistants who carry out the physical bedside care,” my mother stated during one hospital care debate, “Nurses spend most of their time in the offices,” she added.

I read a news article about Basildon Hospital being accused of making patients “give up” on life; An ex-patient’s two daughters claimed their father passed away in Basildon Hospital because of the nurse’s and doctor’s bedside attitudes! Talk about being inadequate…

This needs to be addressed, and fast. Before patients get sicker and quality of care gets even worse.

Reading Week Activity- Write a Headline for Four Stories

Story 1

Prof Edward Chinaski has been carrying out research into sustainable food. As part of his 20 years of research he has regularly grown carrots and turnips that are over 750mm in length. The carrots also grow rapidly under any conditions. Chinaski, who grew up on a council estate where houses did not have gardens, is a resident of Beverley. He is now looking into developing and perfecting his techinques in order to grow large versions of other vegetables. Two well-known supermarket chains are in talks with Chinaski about stocking the super-veg.

Headline: “Beverley man grows super-sized sustainable veg after researching for twenty years”

Story 2

A coach carrying a school party from Hull has careered off a mountain road in France. The coach was provided by a French transport company and was driven by a French driver. The bus went off the road running through the French Alps in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. The bus was a 44-seater. There were 40 children and four members of staff on board. The trip, planned for 10 nights, was part of the school’s regular European visits. Two of the pupils and one member of staff sustained life-threatening injuries and remain on life support. The driver died instantly. The remaining passengers suffered minor injuries. The event happened this morning, three days into the trip. Parents have been notified. The children were Year 10 pupils of St Mary’s College. Eye-witnesses said that there was an eerie silence following the crash before the children began to emerge in a state of shock. Due to the location, an air-rescue was carried out. The driver was declared dead at the scene. Those fit to travel will return to Humberside AIrport tomorrow.

Headline: “Disaster strikes 3 days into school trip as coach careers off mountain road in the French Alps leaving driver dead”

Story 3

Staff at an East Riding aquarium tourist attraction were shocked to find a large tank full of dead fish when they turned up to work today. The tank, populated by rare fish from South America, was the home to 3,000 fish. However, all but 368 were floating on the surface of the largest tank at Fishworld. Police have investigated and evidence suggests foul play.

Tony Burrito, head of acquatics, said he was both upset and outraged by the scene. He said: “We walked into Fishworld and immediately knew that something was wrong. These fish are like my best friends and I was very upset and burst into tears, as did other staff members. Then tears turned to anger. Who would do this to innocent fish? Our many visitors will be as upset as we all are.”

Fishworld has closed for three days pending the investigation and subsequent re-stocking.

A man was arrested later in the day.

Fishworld was at the centre of a dispute with staff last year about working conditions. That action led to several redundancies.

Headline: “Investigation to start after mass fish death at Fishworld leaves staff members in state of shock and anger”

Story 4

John and Jane Smith, a married couple, drove home after a day’s shopping expedition at St Andrew’s Quay. Mr Smith purchased a new iPad and smart TV. The couple ate at McDonald’s. Mr Smith was especially fond of Big Mac meals and the couple’s children – Carry, 7, and Buddy, 9, were present and had Happy Meals.

Following the shopping trip, the Smith family were involved in a head-on collision with a heavy plant transporter on the Clive Sullivan Way. The Clive Sullivan Way is named after one of Hull’s most famous rugby players.

The transporter was driven by Ketih Mulch, a HGV sole-trader who lives in South Cave with his wife and their Germen Shepherd dog. The dog was travelling with Mr Mulch. Mulch, 57, was unhurt.

Three of the Smith family died. Buddy sustained minor injuries.

Buddy is now with relatives in Swanland. The Smith’s lived in Hessle. Buddy is in shock.

Police have interviewed Mulch who was breathalised at the scene. They say they are unlikely to charge him with any offence. Eye witnesses said that the collision happened in an instance and appeared to be a “genuine accident”. A woman, who refused to be named, said: “It was horrific. One minute I was listening to TalkSport, the next I saw the transporter going out of control, crossing the barrier and onto the other side of the road, where it hit the car head-on.”

A German Shepherd also died at the scene.

The Smith’s car was a Renault Megane.

Headline: “Boy left without a family as parents and sibling die in tragic road collision with heavy plant transporter”