Jeanette Smith

Contributor: Jeanette Smith
Journalist since 1966 up to the role of local newspaper editor. Worked on local and regional newspapers. Covered all aspects of journalism including news, features, women's page editor, motoring editor, local district columnist, hospice page editor, court reporting, council reporting, theatre reviewer, freelance journalist. I have also been a senior university lecturer in journalism for 12 years at Liverpool John Moores University teaching media law, writing and marking law papers, NCTJ examinations co-ordinator, NCTJ Law revision lecturer, taught practical journalism, freelance and careers module, investigative journalism module, dissertation supervisor, work experience placement co-ordinator. I am also a qualified tutor, examiner and external verifier for NVQ Journalism and NCTJ NCE examiner. Now a freelance journalist listed with Linked In, NUJ Freelance and Freelance Alliance.

Tip1 Be honest and fair.
Tip2 Ensure that your opinions are your honestly held opinions (for legal reasons this is a defence in libel cases unless you are being vitriolic for no apparent reason).
Tip3 Be aware of libel laws.
Tip4 Always justify why you like/did not like certain aspects of the performance, do not just say it was bad or good without any explanation. Some directors learn from reviewers and adjust future performances e.g. bad sound projection.
Tip5 Do your research and include any pertinent facts of interest about the piece.
Tip6 Give an overall flavour of the piece, e.g. is it comedic, dramatic, bit of both, ironic etc.
Tip7 Tell some of the story, but only the gist - do not spoil it for future audiences. Let them know why or why not they should go and see it. After all they pay good money to see shows and some are very expensive. It is only fair that they can make an informed decision whether to use their hard-earned money to see the show.
Tip8 Mention the best performances and why they are good, always mention 'local' performers and what they are best known for.
Tip9 Sets, lighting and music all combine to make a performance. If you have room give them a mention and if there is anything outstanding say why. Your piece should be a little gem in itself - a piece of writing that is self-contained, informative and entertaining.
Tip10 Always check spelling and keep to the length requested.
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