Journalism students question The Guardian newspaper travel editor

Being a travel journalist is about much more than free holidays and sunny beaches, according to Andy Pietrasik, from The Guardian newspaper, who has just given a presentation to Roehampton journalism degree students.

Posted: 24 November 2015

image for news story Journalism students question The Guardian newspaper travel editor
The Guardian newspaper's travel supplement is edited by Andy Pietrasik.

Mr Pietrasik, who is Head of Travel and editor of the newspaper’s regular print and online travel features, explained how many people unsuccessfully pitched articles about their holiday to the newspaper, because they did not understand the need for a news angle in an article.

Speaking during a campus visit, he said: “Travel reporting is about journalism, not just about travelling, the basic tenets of journalism still apply and you need to have a good story to tell. It is surprising how many people have not thought that through.”

Students on the University’s BA Journalism degree scheme regularly meet with practising editors, and others working in the media. Students are also taught by experienced journalists, including Guardian writer Ros Coward and former BBC journalist Kate Wright.

During an hour-long session, Mr Pietrasik, who began his career in radio journalism before moving into print publications and then online work gave significant advice to the 30-strong student audience. He said: “The biggest mistake you can make is thinking everyone is listening to or reading what you produce. No-one is automatically listening, your job is to make them listen.” He also advised:

  • Find fresh ideas and issues to write about. 
  • Use technology to tell stories in ways readers can absorb. 
  • To grab attention, avoid clichés, which can be rife in travel journalism. 
  • Find a new way to tell a story, and find a new story which no-one else has told.

Dr Juan Perez-Gonzalez, Convenor of the University’s Journalism courses, said: “The best way to really understand the journalism industry is to combine academic studies with hearing from people who work in the sector every day. This is the experience we give to our students – hearing from editors, writers and people who deal with them as part of their job is inspiring, but also gives a genuine insight. We’re pleased so many of our students were able to meet Mr Pietrasik to question him and learn from his experiences.”

Study on our new Master's in Journalism course from September 2016.

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