andrewnoakes32by Andrew Noakes
Guild website administrator

Adobe InDesign - December 16

Basics of effective magazine and newspaper page design and the fundametals of Adobe InDesign for editors, writers and subs.

Aimed at: Writers and sub-editors with little or no experience of page layout using Adobe InDesign


0930-1000 Coffee, introduction


  • Basic page design - columns, balance, hierarchy
  • Introduction to Indesign CS6 - toolbars, frames
  • Laying out sample pages - copy, headlines, images, colours, lines

1300-1400 LUNCH


  • Using paragraph and character styles
  • Adding furniture - pullquotes, captions
  • Tips and tricks - bleed, story editor
  • Solving problems - hyphenation issues, copyfitting tricks
  • Use and abuse of special features - drop shadows, transparency

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course delegates will be able to:

  • Set up InDesign documents and apply correct column structure
  • Appreciate the fundamentals of effective page design
  • Design simple page layouts conforming to best design practices
  • Understand and use professional InDesign techniques such as paragraph styles and Text Wrap
  • Solve layout and typographical problems
  • Appreciate a wider range of InDesign facilities, empowering self-learning beyond the course

Social Media - Wordpress and Twitter - December 18

Basics of social media for journalists, including blogging with Wordpress and getting started with Twitter.

Aimed at: Journalists with little or no experience of blogging or Twitter


0930-1000 Coffee, introduction


  • Blogs - what are they, how do they work and what can they be used for?
  • Setting up a free blog with Wordpress
  • Using the Wordpress 'backend' system
  • Developing and customising your blog

1300-1400 LUNCH


  • What is Twitter and how does it work?
  • Setting up a Twitter accountTweets, replies and RTs
  • Using hashtags
  • Searching and analytics

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course delegates will be able to:

  • Set up and post to a Wordpress blog
  • Use and customise Wordpress templates
  • Set up a Twitter account
  • Tweet, reply, RT and follow
  • Understand and use hashtags, Twitter searches and analytics

Prices and how to book

Each course costs £25 for Guild members or £100 for non-members. Online booking will be available soon but for now you can register interest by emailing Andrew Noakes at .

Andrew would also be keen to hear from you if you have suggestions for courses on other subjects the Guild could run in the future.

robertogposted by Roberto Giordanelli
Guild member and racing instructor


Roberto Giordanelli testing a 1000bhp ex-Michele Alboreto Ferrari 126C4 (photo: Michael Ward)

The object of the day at Rockingham is to have fun and feel a sense of achievement in improving your track driving. Motorsport is like any other sport, in that it takes much experience and training to master it. Before you drive, you will receive a briefing from a senior instructor. These notes are not a repetition of what you will hear at the briefing. Instead they will give you an insight to an instructor’s observations.

You can leapfrog many years up the motorsport ladder simply by employing instructors. Use as many as possible, they tend to have their own style and their own tips. By using several instructors you can cherry-pick from their gems of wisdom.

Race circuits tend to have a particular corner - or corners - that cause trouble. Try to find out where these high incident booby-trap corners occur; learn from other people’s mistakes.

Here are some observations:

  • Novices are often too fast in the slow corners and too slow in the fast turns.
  • With road driving, long distance vision tends to be limited to the car that is 30 metres in front. You need a rethink your vision range. Don’t look at the road unfolding a few metres ahead, look much further ahead and through the approaching corners. This could be anything from 100-500 metres ahead. The car will go where you are looking.
  • Using an early apex is a common mistake. This is because on the approach to a corner, the visible apex tends to be located a long way before the racing apex. If you find yourself running out of road on the exit, it is because you turned in too early. This is another vision issue.
  • Poor braking is another common error. On the road you will have pressed the brake pedal lightly a million times. For circuit driving, when you go from a high-speed section into a slow corner you will have to use much more pedal pressure. A normal car can attain 1g deceleration. Evidence from my data logging show that novices are often using only half of the car’s braking ability. If your instructor is shouting, “Brake Brake Brake!” it would be prudent to depress the brake pedal beyond your comfort zone.

Enjoy your day and remember the object of the exercise.

tonydronposted by Tony Dron
Guild member and racing driver

Tony Dron putting his words of track wisdom into action behind the wheel of Adam Gittings' Ford Zodiac, dicing with Anthony Reid (Jaguar Mk1) at Goodwood in 2008 - "one of the best dices I have ever enjoyed in 40 years of motor racing", says Dron. It ended... well, play the vid and see for yourself.

If you haven’t driven on a circuit before, there are several important points to take on board. Number one, it’s very different from driving on the road, so keep a receptive mind, take your time and be ready to absorb new things. There’s more to learn than you can possibly take in during the first day.

Listen to the briefing and note everything that is said very carefully. You will probably be told to watch your mirrors carefully. This is important because cars can come up behind you far more quickly on a circuit than they ever do on the road. You can look in the mirrors and see nothing, then a few seconds later something flashes past you. To avoid being surprised, it’s essential to use the mirrors much more frequently than in normal driving. That’s all you need to know, unless you have it in mind to be quick on the trackday.

This might sound contradictory but, if you want to set quick lap times, don’t try to drive fast. Speed comes from cold, calculated accuracy, not from courage. You should be in full control at all times, telling the car what to do. If you elect to belt into corners, hoping to sort out any surprises that the car springs on you, you will be rewarded with an unpleasant surprise sooner rather than later.

The basic instruction for cornering is “in slow, out fast”. The key thing to note is your rev counter at the very end of every corner. As you work towards getting it right, this will rise by a very small amount each time. When you can’t make it any higher, you can work on the rest of the corner.

For the sake of safety and proper control, never feed the wheel through your hands when cornering – whatever you might have been told or might have read in some so-called advanced driving manuals. That technique might have been valid for some pre-war cars with heavy steering and a tendency to permanent understeer. It is out of date and extremely dangerous – repeat, extremely dangerous – when applied to driving a modern car at speed and that generally has been true for at least the last 50 years. When you have all four wheels sliding through a corner at a circuit, it is vitally important to maintain an instant reference to the direction in which the front wheels are pointing. If you lose touch with that reference, the car will go in an unpredictable direction as soon as the slip angles of the front wheels decrease. Grip can be restored very quickly indeed, with potentially dire results.

Whatever anyone tells you, be prepared to cross your arms on the wheel and do it as a rule whenever necessary. Once you get the full technique right, you won’t cross your arms that much – but when you are going really quickly on a race circuit you must never, never surrender that vital reference point on the steering wheel. It is so important to get this message across.

Try to keep the slip angles of all the wheels as small as possible. Sideways driving is useful at times but remember that it is a form of braking and, if used incorrectly, it will slow you down and wear out the car and tyres to no purpose.

If you started by braking as late as possible everywhere, you have got this business all wrong! Brake early at first, sort the exits from the corners out and then work out your braking points. The braking points should not be so late that they reduce your exit speed. In other words, if you brake as late as possible, your lap times will be very slow. Go smoothly onto the brakes, use them very hard in the middle of the braking area, and come smoothly off them before turning in. If you release the brake pedal too fast, allowing the front suspension to pop up rapidly, you will reduce grip and that reduces the speed at which it’s possible to turn in.

It is useful at some corners to turn in while you are still coming off the brakes but this varies from corner to corner and it takes experience and good judgement to get the balance right. Maximum braking is only possible in a straight line. Never change down before braking. Obviously, when driving a car with a manual gearchange, rough down changes while braking or an inability to heel-and-toe smoothly will compromise your braking.

Concentrate very hard on the next corner, not on the mistake you made in the last one. Read that sentence again and think about what it means. Limit your sessions to five or ten laps at a time, allowing rest periods for the brain to process information. That is important. Once you are able to circulate consistently within a second or two of the best possible times, then you can sit down and puzzle out how to squeeze those last few fractions out of the car. That’s the interesting bit that makes the difference.

Take it easy. Have fun. Watch your mirrors!


keithjones32by Keith W.R. Jones

2012 Guild Breakthrough Blogger of the Year

Twitter. Don’t you just love it?

Chances are if you don’t you’re probably bemused by its concept and have subscribed to the hearsay that tweeting is little more than frenzied teenagers desperate to know what Justin Bieber had for breakfast. Justin Bieber? Well, he’s... Never mind.

But fear not, for Twitter is much, much more than that. Its flexibility as a facilitator for promoting awareness and debate around products is unparalleled and it offers a potential level of reach that commercial television stations can these days only dream of. Yet it costs those pushing the boundaries of its influence a miniscule amount of outlay compared to traditional media outlets.

Citroen DS3 Diorama

Some manufacturers are embracing social media: this is Citroën's second event for automotive tweeters. Image courtesy of Phil Feather @Camerman_Phil

Tim Hutton’s AutoTweetUp venture came into being back in the late summer of 2011, with the aim of creating social events where influential motoring tweeters from the spheres of writing, public relations and manufacturing could extend their online relationships into even more productive real-life dialogues.

To conclude that AutoTweetUps are essentially vehicles for motoring bloggers to feel like their professional counterparts would be wide of the mark. Sure, the first one I went to I felt very much a wannabe; the proverbial tea boy who’d somehow managed to wangle an invite to an RAC dinner, as life later imitated fiction. But the reality was different. Naturally there’s curiosity as to who you are at first, like being a new villager walking into the local for the first time, but as with every profession and social circumstance, you garner respect by performing at the highest level and by steadfastly avoiding being an arse.

Manufacturers are showing more signs of embracing the economic realities and benefits of social media with events like AutoTweetUps. The Citroen event hosted at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ showroomesque headquarters recently was the marque’s second foray into this brave new world.

Protocols are as straightforward as tweeting itself at these events: the manufacturer showcases a display – in Citroen’s case their latest DS3 Cabrio, a DS3 Racing with a fabulous Kieron Barter designed diorama celebrating Loeb’s nine WRC titles adorning its roof and bonnet, as well as an interactive presentation by DS3 Product Manager Etienne Menant, who ably talked through the Cabrio’s roof mechanism. Naturally, this sounded even more alluring in his eloquent, French-accented English.

Those in attendance, both from Citroen and the invited audience, tweet images and thoughts about the cars and the event, suffixed with the #AutoTweetUp hashtag so that the event’s reach can be measured. Discussions wended from everything from the cars and their detailing via detours of the deliciousness of the canapés (the poached quail eggs with bacon were to die for), to the musings of Citroen’s PR team, condensed into 140 characters or less.

Citroen DS3 Discussion

Events like these allow car makers to connect with customers through social media. Image courtesy of Phil Feather @Camerman_Phil

The days where Twitter will be considered by a minority to be the preserve of wannabes trying to get themselves noticed, the famous seeking yet another outlet for their egos or simply people with too much time on their hands, are short lived.

It’s barely more than two decades since people scoffed at the notion of sending a text-based message over a mobile phone handset yet in 2012 Briton’s sent over a billion of them per day. But the number’s declining due to the increase of social media usage. Tomorrow’s question won’t be “what’s your Twitter handle?” it’ll be “why haven’t you got a Twitter handle?”

Not convinced? I used to say the only person who probably didn’t need to have a mobile to text from was the Pope but the recently retired Benedict XVI was a tweeter too. Though I somehow doubt he’s a #Belieber.

Read Keith's own blog, Petroleum Vitae, at and follow him on Twitter @keithwrjones

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