I’m a journalist?

An update!

Hey everyone, long time no speak.

I haven’t updated this blog in a very long time, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been doing in the meantime.

Firstly, it’s probably worthy to note that I’ve been completing my magazine journalism MA at Cardiff University. So far, so good. I feel like I’ve already learned more than I did during my BA – but, this course is much more practical, so that’s probably why.

I spent my time before Christmas writing articles for Alt Cardiff , learning of new writing techniques and multimedia capabilities. My feature-length article for example, was a good demonstration of the range of multimedia I could produce. This feature article, regarding animal testing in Cardiff, went on to receive my highest mark (a first-class) last semester. I was pretty chuffed!

Another project I’ve been working on is Missing Pixels, a site aimed at welcoming all gamers. It was created for a digital project assignment but I think I might carry on contributing to it anyway. Feel free to join the community if you’d like!

15137650_1141167109294889_1132928408118301988_o

The week after we broke up for Christmas, I found myself in one of the UK’s largest magazine publishers: Haymarket.

Spending my nights a minute away in the hotel across the road, I was lucky enough to spend a week working with Stuff Magazine. Stuff Magazine deals with gadgets, tech, gaming; basically all the things I love. It was an inspiring work experience that made me feel confident in finding a place within the field. I am grateful to the Stuff team for having me on board, especially Rob Leedham, who got in touch and started it all.

stuffmagcontributor

That’s a very brief rundown of what I’ve been up to from September to December. Now, with the new semester, I hope to continue this progress in finally becoming an official NCTJ journalist. With more experience lined up for the Easter holidays, and hopefully some freelance opportunities, I think the next couple of months are going to be very exciting!

When I’m not being a journalist, I spend my days cleaning bowling alleys and shooting children with laser guns at Superbowl. Oh, the joys of paying your student debt…

 

Alexander Jones

 

For more information about me, check out my LinkedIn profile!

 

The Beautiful Canadian Rockies: Part 3 (Photos)

For the third installment of this rather amazing collection of photos I’m going to share the bear essentials (…ha?). Prepare yourself for a selection of decent pictures, that didn’t end up being blurry or just plain obscure, in which I hope you can enjoy. On our journey through the Rockies, we were lucky enough to witness 15 bears – 3 grizzlies and 12 black bears, including one cub. Not all of these bears were captured with decent pictures or video, though. There’s definitely a bear behind that berry bush, trust me.

Alexander Jones

P.S. If you’d like to use my photos for any reason, please contact me first!

 

Exhilarating speeds, wild Pikachu and Beastie Boys in space

The other day children were released from school for their summer holidays, which is terrifying.

It also meant a fayre had opened local to me, an opportunity to venture outside with my little brother and check it out. Partnered with my desire to have a stroll and avoid any sarcastic “lazy” comments from my dad, I also gave in to the unbearably growing virus that is Pokemon GO. Despite wanting to avoid being caught up in the wave of Pokemon nostalgia trips, I couldn’t help myself but bug myself to see if anything rare and exciting appeared in my close, or preferably my house so I wouldn’t have to move. It turns out the closest Pokemon spawn down the road from me, and I faced even more disappointment bumping into endless Pidgeys and Rattatas. A sad day for a sad boy.

So I took up augmented reality Pokemon catching, and I wasn’t disappointed. Instead, I find myself surprisingly addicted. This addiction is probably fed by the shared satisfaction of finding new Pokemon with my younger brother and close friend Matt. Even the common, skip-able Pokemon from the video games were exciting to find; giving me a new Pokedex entry, bountiful experience and new evolution possibilities. After giving up on the latest installments of the DS games I really enjoyed going back to basics and first generation Pocket Monsters.

All the Pokestops!

It felt clean and lighthearted, albeit full of glitches and crashes which arguably hinder the overall performance of the game at the current time. Following Comic-Con in San Diego, news is that patches are inbound to fix these issues. Going back to what I said about nostalgia trips, it’s funny to see that the army of young adults (mostly my generation) who are raving about this new game are the same crowd who denied any attachment to the series in their school years. The irony is pure.

A few Pidgeys later and we made it to Tredegar Park’s fayre. It was fairly small, and £1 entry was a bit annoying but the rides here were definitely not lackluster. After a round of walking past the rides and sussing the scene out we decided that we’d actually go on one of the rides. With little encouragement the three of us squished ourselves into ‘The Sizzler’. Doesn’t that sound scary and fast? Aren’t we brave? Truth is, it was the one ride between being an actual scary ride and one of those slow and pathetically depressing kiddy rides. I feel like I’m playing it down, but the three of us still thoroughly enjoyed the fast thrills. To me, this ride gave me the same feelings that I used to get when I went really high on a swing. I guess this entire post is now about nostalgic feelings – lame.

 

After building up some confidence from the first ride we braved another one. This was one of those rides where you sit in a pod that spins around continuously as the floor moves around you simultaneously. Turns out that’s a bad idea after eating a chicken burger and drinking some Dr Pepper. This ride was extremely fast, sickening and dizzy as hell. I also got whiplash which left my neck aching for three days, so that’s a plus.

On an completely unrelated note, I watched Star Trek: Beyond the other day. Solid 5/10. Slow, cheesy and just not that impressive. Sorry Trekky or Trekkie fans, whatever you call yourselves, it’s not that amazing. My little brother fell asleep in the cinema, I mean it isn’t difficult for that to happen, but still! The Beastie Boys’ Sabotage also played a bigger role than most of the characters in the film, which I found hilarious.

At least I had an excuse to eat some fruit gums.

Alexander Jones

P.S. I walked 18km that day catching computer-generated monsters, I am not ashamed.

 

 

The Curious Clawed Warrior

AKA the gerbil.

I recently acquired two little furry friends to join the already extensive list of warm-blooded creatures roaming the house. Two Mongolian gerbils named Han and Chewie (of course). I’ve researched into small animals as pets for a while as I wanted one in university, but never got any. So when I came back from finishing my final year I just so happened to stop at Pets at Home and that’s when it happened. My mum wasn’t too keen, but my dad didn’t seem to mind as long as I cared for them myself – duh, that’s the point!


So now I have two little gerbils in a pretty decent starter gerbilirium. However, I already have plans for a larger home in the future. That’s part of the fun with small pets; you can create so many playgrounds with so little. They love to burrow and create tunnels and systems of travel on their own. It’s fascinating to watch and requires very little effort from you, the owner.

My gerbils are about 3 months old now and are getting fairly used to me – they realise I am the Treat Master – which is enjoyable. Naturally they flee because they’re prey animals, but they’ve grown used to my presence and come up to me instead of hiding. It’s awesome seeing some real progress in training and taming your new animals.

I’m curious to see what these little fellas get up to in their time with and without me – the environment they build changes every time I come back home, it’s crazy! Gerbils are amazing pets and easy to look after, so say hello to Han and Chewie!

 

Alexander Jones

A long summer

University is such a strange thing. You go away to continue learning sophisticated progressions in topics dabbled in from school, and you’re more often than not expected to end it all with a shiny new degree and life experience. No doubt, each and everyone’s ‘university experience’ is different – some people drop out, some struggle, some find their dream opportunity and others continue as normal, delaying the inevitable revelation that is real world problems. It’s an exciting period of anyone’s life, no matter the events that take place.

These thoughts throb in my mind endlessly as I sit back at home, away from the hustle of the Big City, contemplating my next moves. The last three years have passed at an impressive speed, it’s hard to comprehend how swiftly these ‘best moments of your life’ really come to an end. I sit here searching the web for answers; job prospects, social endeavours, and developing my own skills. Soon I’ll begin learning to drive, I’ll also begin a work placement, but sadly it may not last the whole duration of the holiday season, and again I attempt to sell myself to the World. Of course, I’m enrolling myself on an MA course in magazine journalism come September, but that doesn’t diminish the gloomy feelings that grow in-between those two segments of my life. My final year in university emphasised to me the realness and desperation that many students struggled with in finding a place to go after it all. Problems that were ignored prior such as overwhelming debt, lack of relevant job vacancies, and becoming fully independent became very grounded issues. Two years of boozing into comas, and being lazy with education deadlines didn’t completely convince people that they should be planning ahead, instead, they lived in the moment. It’s only at the last hurdle that one realises that this time did matter, and maybe it should have been more productive. In many ways this is how I feel about myself and my university experience, there are many opportunities I did not take up, and now I feel some regret. However, like numerous of fellow students, I go on.

Without question the burden of guilt of not succeeding lingers on my shoulders constantly, but I’m moving on to the next chapter in my life. My MA will be tough, but I bring with me three years of semi-independent experience, and believe that this will set me up for the future. The worries of lacking funding, and job prospects in the future scare me, but you only get out what you put in, so hopefully with some determination I can still succeed.

 

Alexander  Jones