Our editors get lots of queries about their careers, how to get into journalism, and what makes a story. Throughout the day we’ll have the answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.

What do you do at Newsquest Oxfordshire?

We have one editorial team and one advertising team working across the Oxford Mail, Oxford Times, the Witney Gazette, Bicester Advertiser and the Herald Series. They’re all headed up by the same editor, advertising director, and news desk. We also produce Limited Edition magazine and a range of Uptown magazines. Then of course, we have our websites. The job is challenging, exciting and rewarding. On this blog today we hope to show you how and why!

I’m at school but I’d like to be a journalist when I’m older – how can I make it happen?

There are lots of different ways to get into journalism now.

As a rule, our titles look to employ reporters with the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. You can either do a short course after your studies, OR you can take an NCTJ-accredited degree. If you’re considering taking journalism at uni, it’s worth checking the course is NCTJ-accredited.

There are lots of laws and regulations which govern reporting in the UK. Having the NCTJ qualification lets editors know you have a solid understanding of these, and they’ll be able to send you off to court without concern.

But I can’t afford to do the course!

How about an apprenticeship? Partnering with the NCTJ, Newsquest offers apprenticeships in dozens of newsrooms. Our apprentices get hands-on training, whilst studying for the NCTJ Diploma. They spent four days a week in the newsroom, and one day a week in college. It’s a great way for people who otherwise may not have been able to afford the training to get into journalism.

I’m itching to be a reporter, but my tutor says I need work experience – can I do a placement with you?

Our newsdesks are busy, and we have small teams – so unfortunately, we can usually only authorise placement requests from people on an NCTJ course, or similar journalism course. We often get work ex students to shadow our court reporters and sometimes the details you hear in court aren’t pleasant. So ethically, we feel we have a duty to ensure the student is comfortable with what they’re being asked to do.

Work experience is important for a few reasons – one, how do you know if you like something if you don’t give it a go? Two, building a portfolio of bylines impresses potential employees. Three, if you’re great and there happens to be a vacancy, you may well be the first to hear about it.

We can only take one student at the time, and throughout the summer our diary is fully booked. If you’d like to apply for work experience, please email the editor Samantha on samantha.harman@newsquest.co.uk or call her on 01865 455491.

Don’t get your parents or tutor to do it though, as the golden rule of journalism is that you must be able to speak to people!

What’s this Local Democracy scheme I keep hearing about?

Last year, the BBC awarded contracts to local news providers to fund reporting roles. This is because journalism is vital to open democracy; we’re here to hold authorities to account, ask questions on your behalf and campaign on issues you care about.

Our local newsrooms have Local Democracy Reporters (LDR). They work alongside, but independently of, the rest of our reporters. Each week they’ll come up with a list of important authority meetings they’ll be attending. Their copy is checked by our newsdesk and sent onto a wire feed for use by the BBC and other regional news outlets.

The Oxford LDR is Nathan Briant – you can follow him on twitter @OxMailNathanB What is the Facebook Community Reporter scheme?

Like the BBC, Facebook have recently funded reporting roles in regional newsrooms. These roles were created to help us tap into communities and increase diversity. It’s important we represent our whole community. The Oxford Community Reporter is Stan – you can read all about his role here 

I have a news story – how do I send it to you?

Great! Firstly, to which publication does your story relate? If it’s the Witney Gazette, for example, you need to contact our Witney reporter James.

Back in the day, the only way to speak to our newsrooms was on the phone or letter – now you have loads of options. You can email our newsdesk on news@nqo.com, you can call the newsdesk.

You can message us on Facebook or Twitter too. Please make sure you include as much information as possible – and contact details. Some people don’t want to be named in stories, and that’s fine – we won’t publish your identity if you make that request. But we will probably need a contact number for you so we can get some more info!

You’re our eyes and ears – so if something’s going on you think we should know about, let us know!

All the contact details for all departments are at oxfordmail.com/contactus If you are looking for a past copy of the paper, please speak to newspaper sales.

Unfortunately, we do not have the time or resources to complete requests such as finding photos or documents from our archive. For historic copies of our papers, please speak to the Oxford History Centre.

You’ve published my name and address is a story! Haven’t you heard of GDPR?!

Yes, we have – and we take it very seriously. Our editors and newsdesks have taken training in GDPR rules and regulations. If you have a removal request, please email the link to the story to privacy@newsquest.co.uk – you’ll need to state your contact details and reason for removal. One of the company’s experts will come back to you within due course. Please be aware – as we get dozens of requests about this – that we do not remove the details of defendants in criminal cases. As we’ve explained in our court reporting story, reports from court are an important historical record and will not be amended.

I have a letter for publication – how do I send it to you?

Long gone are the days of copy-takers. We have a small team and it’s not always possible for us to transcribe every letter which comes in paper form. We always advise readers to send their letters by email to the letters inbox.

I sent you a letter via email but it’s not been published!

As you can imagine, we get thousands of emails a day. Please bear with us. Whilst letters are ‘fair comment’, there are certain things we will not allow on the letters page, and in certain cases the editor may decide not to publish your letter. The editor also reserves the right to amend letters (sometimes we do this to protect our publication against defamation, for example).

You’ve removed my comment from a story on your website/Facebook!

Yes – the newsdesk can use its discretion to remove comments and, in extreme cases, ban users.

Don’t think that what you post under a fake name won’t lead back to you. We can see IP addresses and we can take action where necessary.

On reports of live court proceedings, we take off the commenting function. This stops anyone from collapsing court cases (and ending up in court themselves). If we post court links on Facebook, we always try and put a statement at the top which reads ‘please be aware proceedings are active and anyone commenting is liable for their comments.’

We will not tolerate racism, homophobia, insults to people featured in stories or abuse of our staff. We don’t care if you have a problem with that. The problem isn’t us – it’s you.

But I’ve seen an offensive comment on your website and you haven’t removed it!

…. Have you reported it to us? We don’t have a team of people monitoring comments, we simply don’t have the resources for that. So we rely on our reporters spotting them, and, importantly, we rely on you. There’s a ‘report comment’ function on our site. When you report a comment, newsdesk gets a notification, and we’ll review the comment ASAP.

I'm not happy with a story! What can I do? 

In the first instance, contact the newsdesk or our editor - we will consider your complaint carefully and issue an appropriate response. If, after what we feel is an appropriate response to your complaint we can not resolve your issue, you can go to Ipso.