UPDATED: Teach yourself skills, says ITN journalist

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By Jack Goodman

An ITN journalist said that age is no obstacle when forging a career in the industry – as he started paid work as a photographer aged 15.

Jules Mattsson told Leeds Trinity Journalism Week about how he was arrested in 2010 but that his membership with the National Union of Journalists made him aware of his rights.

This led to him suing the Metropolitan Police and being awarded compensation and apology.

Jules, who has worked for The Guardian and The Times, began his career by taking photographs in his spare time.

“It’s incredibly important to know that you don’t need anything to start off – you can partly teach yourself the skills.

“I’ve flip-flopped across the industry without a clue what I’m doing,” he said.

Jules also spoke about user-generated content, and how companies in the industry are trying to use it to replace journalists – but advised against it.

He said: “UGC is not the same as receiving professional content from a journalist – it’s like a source.  You need to be aware of where the content is coming from.

“UGC is great if it captures that moment, or if the story is too remote for a professional crew. People still pay for professional content because sometimes it’s the only option.

“People like the Mail Online spend an absolute fortune on photography.”

Another area Jules addressed was the importance of journalists understanding the law and knowing their rights.

When speaking of his arrest, he highlighted the importance of being aware of what you can and cannot do: “Knowing your rights is an incredibly good thing to have under your belt.

“You will, at some point, end up in the situation where you’re arguing about access, or whether you can take photographs.  Knowing your rights is important – lots of people don’t understand the law.”

He also added that knowing what the police are legally allowed to do helps journalists to carry out their role.

“If the police say they want your phone or your camera, say no.  They have no right to take it,” he said.

“The law is on your side.  If the police want your material, they have to be very specific about what they want, and why they want it.”

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