Alfie Tobutt's blog

Feedback from the NCTJ Student Council 2018


Hi all,

I was at the BBC Academy in Birmingham on Friday, representing CfJ at the annual NCTJ Student Council, so I thought I'd relay some of the things talked about back to you.

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Should we bring back The Medwire?


Wagwan, fam.

I just wrote that to attract attention, I don't know what it actually means.

I was recently passed down the ashes of what was formerly known as 'The Medwire', the independent student magazine for the Medway campus, and wasn't entirely sure what to do.

I know there are some second years interested in relaunching and rebranding as a news website (perhaps with a online video component too?), as this is cheaper and more manageable (no stressful monthly deadlines), and I spoke to the first years this morning.

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One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi: Modern day racism in the Deep South



In late August I was in Natchez, Mississippi, an overnight stop between Memphis and New Orleans, at the end of a three week road trip across some of the Southern US states. My family and I returned from dinner to a mostly vacant hotel, entering through the bar, where a large group of African-American people celebrating some occasion sat around a table enjoying their evening. Tired from a day of driving, I went straight up to bed. However, my 70-year-old grandfather, a fan of the three Ws (whisky, Westerns and Willie Nelson) and on his first real overseas holiday stayed at the bar to indulge in a nightcap.


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I'm think I'm getting old, fam


The other day, while narcissistically examining myself in the bathroom mirror, I found a grey hair. Then, I found another. Then, another. Before I knew it, I was pulling them out of my head like a mother chimpanzee (I know they actually pull bugs and dirt out, but it was the best comparison I could come up with).

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I almost married a complete stranger in Vietnam (and you can too!)


In a matter of months I will turn 21. Not only does this mark 21 years of me wallowing in loneliness, but it also marks three years since what I like to call ‘The Vietnam Incident’. And no, that’s not a Sherlock Holmes book. 


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Carrie Fisher was so much more than a princess- she was a fighter


"You know what's funny about death? I mean other than absolutely nothing at all? You'd think we could remember finding out we weren't immortal. Sometimes I see children sobbing in airports and I think, 'Aww. They've just been told.'" -Carrie Fisher (Wishful Drinking).

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Please don't have a go at nine-year-olds just because they're covering murders


I constantly find myself feeling motivated to create journalistic content after indulging in engaging and interesting works of reportage, whether it be a Louis Theroux documentary, an episode of Serial, or even a documentary like Going Clear or The Thin Blue Line. However, this week I stepped away from BBC iPlayer and iTunes and found inspiration in an unlikely form - a nine-year-old girl from Pennsylvania.

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Killer storytelling is everyone's guilty pleasure


Over the past couple of years there has undoubtedly been a tremendous rise in popularity towards a genre of journalism that has been around for decades. Whilst works such as Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter were bestsellers at the time of their publication in the 1960s and 1970s, respectively, modern day works of investigative crime journalism such as WBEZ’s hugely popular podcast, Serial, and HBO’s critically acclaimed documentary miniseries, The Jinx, bring a new audience to the world of true crime. But what makes murder so appealing?


The newest addition to the world of true crime is Netflix’s ten-part documentary series that took ten years to produce, before being released last December. Making a Murderer, despite receiving minor criticism that it was not entirely objective, has captivated the minds of many people, including BBC journalist Louis Theroux, who said he was “hooked”. 

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