CSCUK

CyberCenturion VII National Finals – Media Toolkit for Students

An expert's guide to writing a winning press release

Submit 1-2 paragraphs to sum up your team’s CyberCenturion VII National Finals experience, and we will include it in our outreach to local press and media. Your words could go to print! Send your write ups to cybercenturion@scarlettlondon.com.

But first, get your creative juices flowing and have a go at drafting a real press release.

Our PR Specialist shared her secrets to success as an independent agency and impressive Instagram influencer…

“Back when I was training to be a journalist in university our lecturers asked us to focus on the what, the who, the how, why and where when putting together news articles.”

What is CyberCenturion and how did your school get involved?

Who are the students that took part, what are their names and what year are they in? 

Why is the competition running and what will it offer students who take part? 

How did the students at your school feel about taking part – could you interview one of the students and include a quote from them in your article?*

Where did the competition take place – if virtually, how did the competition adapt to engage with students online? What interactive elements did students have to take part in? 

What did the students at your school do to be in with a chance of winning? 

Scarlett added:

When writing for news, keep your writing simple and your sentences succinct. You want to start with the news first and then provide more detail as you move through the article.

Have you answered the what, the why, the where, the how, the who? Give your article another read through and tick them off as you go.

Start your article with a strong first sentence to grab the reader’s attention and capture their interest. Always start with the most exciting news and then provide more detail as you continue through the article.

News should always be objective and state facts (who, what, where, why, etc.), however it’s also important to add a ‘human interest’ element to each story, which gives us someone’s opinion or first hand account. This should be displayed in quotation marks.

Good luck! 

More than 10 reasons to get excited about being a writer in cyber security

contributed by Robert Schifreen

Cybersecurity reviewer/columnist/trainer/consultant/journalist/broadcaster/editor since 1987, and still learning new stuff all the time. 

 

If you’re considering a career in writing about information technology, focussing on cybersecurity is definitely a smart move.  For a start, you’ll never be short of things to write about and learn about. It’s an industry in which new things are happening all the time. Companies are continually producing new ways to protect information.  Meanwhile hackers and cyber criminals are continually finding new ways to steal it, as well as new ways to persuade unsuspecting people into handing over data or money.

As a cybersecurity journalist or reporter, it’s up to you to keep people up to date about these threats in order that they can protect themselves, their information, their employees, their money, their reputation, their family, and so on.  What could be more important, or rewarding, than being someone whose advice can be trusted?

There are many areas in which you can choose to specialise, should you want to, and you certainly don’t need to be a computer whizz (unless you want to be!).

Sure, you can choose to delve deep into the code that hackers use, or which researchers develop, in order to help your highly technical readers understand exactly how it works and how they can guard against its effects.  Or you might prefer the less technical side and, say, advise parents on how to keep their kids safe online and how to recognise when a good deal offered online might not be all it claims to be.

The infosec community is a friendly bunch, and you’ll make some lifelong friends in the industry.  As a reporter or journalist you’ll get to attend conferences and press briefings, both in person and online.  This is a great way to learn new things and to get inspiration for news stories, features and other articles to write.  You’ll also be dealing frequently with security companies, security researchers, and the PR companies who represent companies and products, all of whom are keen to tell you about their work, their products, their clients, and so on.  You’ll never be short of ideas.

And with cybersecurity being such a crucial part of our lives nowadays, both at home and professionally, you’ll never be short of work either.

If you’d like to reach out to Robert for more advice, get in touch via cybercenturion@csc-uk.org

Connect with Robert

5 top tips for budding tech journos

So you’re interested in pursuing a career in journalism, and CyberCenturion has got you interested in what life as a technology specialist might look like?

We spoke to Stephen Pritchard, an experienced business and technology journalist and broadcaster, to ask for his top five tips for students keen to make a living as a reporter.

1. You don’t need to study journalism
These days journalism is almost entirely a graduate career, but you don’t need to study journalism for your first degree. Mine is in political science, and I’ve worked with great journalists who studied English, history modern languages, economics, computer science and even medicine. Studying a more traditional academic subject keeps your options open, and might also help you narrow down what you want to specialise in, if you do go into the media.

2. Build up your portfolio
Writing for a student newspaper or magazine is a great way to build up cuttings. Employers will want to see your byline on a well-structured piece of work, even if it’s on a totally different subject.  Don’t overlook the local or regional press either, for work placements or for a job after graduation. The experience will stand you in good stead, whether you end up working in magazines, a national paper or broadcasting.

3. Consider working in the industry before specialising 
Technology and cyber security are complex and fast-moving fields. If you have hands-on knowledge of it, it will make you more credible as a potential journalist. There is nothing to stop you taking a graduate job in technology, and moving to the media side later if it appeals to you.

4. Gain professional qualifications
I do recommend postgraduate journalism courses: they provide a solid grounding before moving into a career as a journalist or producer. There are too many courses to list here, but they cover the basics you need to know: media law, structuring news stories, investigative techniques, sub-editing and production, and of course, working to deadlines. They can even cover Content Management Systems (CMS), audio production, video, and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).”

5. There’s more to journalism than writing, or working on a magazine or newspaper
These days, journalists work in a wide range of outlets. As well as the media itself, they can be found in government, media and PR companies, not-for-profit organisations, events businesses and even the military.

Nor is it just about writing. Writing is the core skill, but journalists today work with video, audio and interactive content too. Data journalism is a growing discipline in its own right. Anyone with experience in these areas will have an advantage, if they are applying for content creation roles.

Super valuable advice from Stephen there! Develop your core skills essential to any industry specialism first, do it with focus, and have fun at the same time. There’s plenty of time to specialise later, and who knows, you might end up having more than one. Either way, your experience supporting the CyberCenturion VII National Finalists is certain to open your eyes to the opportunities in cyber security – remember: it’s not all hackers in hoodies!

 

About Stephen Pritchard

Stephen is a journalist specialising in business and technology. As a writer and broadcaster Stephen has contributed to the FT, the BBC, The Independent, The Times, The Guardian, and the Daily Telegraph. He has also written for Information Age, IT Pro, CNBC Magazine, Computer Weekly and a range of trade and professional titles. He runs a cybersecurity podcast at securityinsights.co.uk

Follow Stephen on Twitter