Starts: Tuesday October 11 2016
Course fee: £285
Top music writers (The Guardian, MOJO, NME, Clash etc.) open up the workings of the music industry during this fast paced, practical and interactive eight week course. Classes cover how the music industry operates, writing news articles, features, profiles and reviews, interview techniques and pitching your ideas to editors.
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Venue: St Luke’s Centre, 90 Central Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 8AJ
Equipment needed: Laptop or tablet
Class size: 16 maximum
Stevie Chick, principal tutor and course leader, is a freelance music journalist, sub-editor and university lecturer . For over 14 years Stevie has written regularly for titles like MOJO, The Guardian, NME, Kerrang!, The Times, Rolling Stone, The Evening Standard, Melody Maker and many more. He was BBC 6 Music’s breakfast on-air record reviewer for six years, and has been commissioning editor at Plan B, Careless Talk Costs Lives and Sleazenation.
Since 2004 Stevie has taught Music Journalism to post-graduate students at City University. He has also written three books on bands and the music industry: Spray Paint The Walls: The Black Flag Story, Ninja Tune: 20 Years Of Beats & Pieces, and Psychic Confusion: The Sonic Youth Story.
Jenny Stevens, who teaches the News Writing class (see course programme below) is a full time editor and journalist with VICE UK, and was previously Commissioning Editor for Culture at The Guardian. From 2012 until September 2014 Jenny was Deputy News Editor at NME magazine, the world’s longest running music weekly. Prior to joining NME, Jenny was as a freelance journalist for The Independent, The Guardian, The Observer, and other magazines.
Matt Bennett, who leads the Pitching Ideas to Editors class (see course programme) was, until 2015, Deputy Editor of Clash Magazine and Head of Digital Content for the Clash Music group where he was responsible for curating album reviews, finding new bands, arranging the main Clash Magazine features and putting together the magazine’s underground dance section. Prior to that he worked in independent print journalism. Matt is now a freelance music journalist.
Week one: Introduction to the music industry
We begin with an introduction to the music business, looking at how it’s structured and how it works. We’ll look at the different ways artists emerge and the role of record labels, PRs, management and promoters. We will look at how music journalists work with the music industry. In addition, we will introduce different types of music journalism.
Week two: Writing styles
This week we’ll look at the different types of articles music journalists write, and assess how they differ in style and purpose across print and online. We’ll explore the difference between news stories, features, regular franchises, opinion pieces, blogs and lists. We will also learn to use and identify different types of page furniture for both print and online – from headlines to stand-firsts, pull quotes and captions.
Week three: News writing
In week three we begin looking more in depth at music news writing. How do music journalists find and generate news stories? How do you spot a worthwhile story? What do editors look for in a news story and how do you write a gripping into and structure your news piece?
Week four: Reviews (Tutor: Stevie Chick)
Music journalists often have to pack a huge amount of information into a short album or gig review, whilst keeping the reader’s attention. In this session we look at how to structure a review, what to include, how to add atmosphere and colour, and the use of humour.
Week five: Interviewing
Interviewing is an important skill to hone for any music journalist, and this week we’ll begin by looking at techniques for different types of interviews. We’ll look at preparing your questions, the difference between open and closed questions, learning to probe deeper and how to make the most out of a short interview slot.
Week six: Feature writing
In week six, we’ll turn to longer-form writing. We’ll explore a range of different types of features, from written-through interviews, anniversary pieces, lists and Q&As. How do you keep a reader’s attention through 3,000 words? And how do you make an album that was recorded 30 years feel as fresh as it did back then? We’ll explore different types of intro, structure and style tips.
Week seven: Pitching ideas to editors: (Tutor: Matt Bennett)
This session explains how to approach editors with an idea for an interview/feature and the etiquette for contacting publications. You learn from Matt Bennett about making pitches, the importance of deadlines, word-counts, and house style. In groups students are set a real brief to pitch a feature for a future issue of Clash Magazine. In the second half of the session they will be pitching live in-session to the deputy editor of Clash.
Week eight: Feedback on pitches and next steps
This week we develop story ideas students have come up with and discuss how best to turn these ideas into attractive pitches. We’ll identify which publications might be best to send each pitch to, and hone the ideas into pitches that are targeted and likely to be of interest to editors. Students email their pitches to editors. This session also covers applying for internships, and staff or shift work with music publications.
Certification: Students who complete this course and their assignments receive a certificate in Music Journalism from London Journalism Centre.
Student articles: Click here to read music reviews, features and other articles by our students.
Music blogs: We encourage Music Journalism students to set up blog sites, individually or together. Here are some examples: