The line-up of guest speakers, including BAMMJ alumni (Photo: Louise Matthews)
Media School students were visited by former graduates and representatives from the journalism industry on Wednesday.
Representatives from ITN, Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, and IPC Media attended. Zoe Griffin, founder of gossip site livelikeavip.com, also spoke to students.
Meanwhile, graduates working for Channel 4, the Press Association, Auto Express Magazine, and Wessex FM added to a stellar line-up.
In a relaxed format, panelists took it in turns to speak about their experiences and the opportunities on offer.
The audience included students studying BA Multimedia Journalism, MA Multimedia Journalism, and BA Communication and Media.
Zoe Griffin – nominated for Cosmopolitan’s Celebrity Blogger of the Year in 2011 - started proceedings by saying students were well-placed already, studying at the Media School.
Coming from a newspaper background, Zoe gave up her position at the Sunday Mirror to start her blog, livelikeavip.com.
“If you approach [blogging] seriously, and you know who your market is – like a shop knows who its customers are – then you can make money from it.”
Robin Elias, managing editor at ITV News, added to Zoe’s remarks, revealing persistence, passion, and patience are three desirable factors in a journalist.
“You never have two days the same. By the very definition, you might have a story that runs on, and you’re doing it day after day, but we’ve got to find different ways of telling it.”
Having worked in television for more than 30 years, Robin admitted experience outside of the course is also vital.
“As important as a good degree – a good course like this – is the extras.
“What have you done that displays actually you are passionate about journalism?”
Journalism and global economics
Today’s forum also provided global opportunities, with representatives from news agencies Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters in attendance.
Mark Trevelyan, training editor at Thomson Reuters, was first to speak of the two, telling students not to be warded off by the organisation’s business news specialism.
“I know some people think finance is a bit dry and off-putting, or you need an economics degree, or to be a kind of maths wizard, but none of those things apply, unless you have really a major phobia with numbers.”
Mark added there are two entry positions for students: a summer internship scheme, or a nine-month graduate trainee scheme.
“We would love to get more applications from Bournemouth. To be honest, we don’t get enough at the moment.”
Mark was joined by a current graduate trainee, Dasha Afanasieva. Dasha said the scheme provided a number of rewarding opportunities.
“It’s on the biggest scale imaginable and relating everything – whether it be the arts, or finance, and bringing it down to a thing that really matters and really saying something about the way the world works.”
Meanwhile, Paul Addison, managing editor of global training at Bloomberg, reinforced his organisation’s finance, business, and economic news agenda.
“We’re all about moving the cost of money. We’re talking about money all the time.”
The organisation offers 10 summer internships, and Paul feels – alongside passion, persistence, and patience – students need to be prepared.
“If you’re not prepared when you’ve got the job, you won’t get the scoops and you won’t be first. That means you won’t get to the top.”
IPC Media and Bournemouth University
Steve Sutherland, editorial director of IPC Ignite!, spoke of the special relationship Bournemouth University has with IPC Media, and how many former BA Multimedia Journalism graduates have had successful internships.
“The deal is, you come to us and get a load of experience, and we get you and your expertise.”
Steve highlighted the nature of the business is changing, which has caused tension among current staff as to which direction to follow.
“What we look for mostly when we’re looking for who’s going to join us is people who get along in a difficult political situation.
“You need to very quietly, but very firmly, get to a place so when your six months is up on a brand, they cry because you’re leaving.”
Bournemouth University alumni
In between talks from different areas of the profession, BA Multimedia Journalism graduates spoke to students to discuss their experiences.
Heloise Beaton featured on the panel as the most recent BA Multimedia Journalism graduate. Competing against thousands of applicants, Heloise gained one of 10 places on the 2012 Channel 4 Production Scheme.
“Passion at Channel 4 is the biggest quality that they want from people. The first thing is passion, and second to that is personality.”
Heloise is currently working as a researcher for Mentorn Media, producing shows from BBC Question Time to Sky One’s An Idiot Abroad.
“In TV, you’re working in small groups. You’ll be working long shifts with them in very confined spaces. I’m working on a show at the moment where we have to sit in this tiny little truck – and you’re spending all day in that truck with people.
“If they don’t get on with you, then they won’t employ you for the next job.”
Freddie Harrison graduated the year before Heloise, but by then was fully employed by Imagine Publishing, and now primarily works as a staff writer for iCreate Magazine.
“It’s a pretty important thing to do being doing stuff outside of your degree. You guys have got a really good infrastructure.
“There’s plenty of opportunities if you want to do something here. You’ve got the [Bournemouth] Rock, you’ve got Pebble, and you’ve got Nerve. So, use them and do stuff for them.”
Graduating from Bournemouth University in 2009, Ryan Hooper works as a reporter for the Press Association, covering South West England.
“It’s not particularly glamorous sometimes. I’d love to be drinking whiskey with Prince, but that doesn’t happen. It’s Plymouth Crown Court on a Monday morning.
“But you then see your stories on the front page of the Daily Mail, or you hear someone reading it on the six o’clock news, and that’s where you substitute the glamour.”
Nathalie Brown, from the class of 2002, is a freelance journalist specialising in real life features for women’s glossy magazines.
“You can make it in magazines as a freelance writer. You’ve just got to make sure that your ideas are better than everyone else’s.”
Nathalie had previously worked for The Surrey Herald and News, working her way up from a trainee reporter to news editor. She believes local newspapers aren’t dead yet.
“I know a lot of people have been saying local newspapers are dead, they’re not going to be here in five or 10 years.
“Well, they said that five or 10 years ago, when I was sitting where you are. They’re still around and there’s very much a need for them.”
Maria Greenwood, who graduated not long after Nathalie, is news editor at Wessex FM.
The local radio station, based in Dorchester, has a strong history of offering placement opportunities for Bournemouth University students.
“We’ve been working with you guys doing some internships – and I think about four of you in this room are with us.
“In a sense, you are working in a newsroom, as a proper journalist. You’re writing stories and are out doing stuff for us and I think that’s working really well.”
Jamie Fretwell graduated in 2009, and works for Auto Express, Britain’s best-selling weekly car magazine, writing product and car reviews.
In 2010 and 2012, he was the recipient of the Guild of Motoring Writers’ Young Writer of the Year award.
“If you’ve got a blog, make sure it’s worthy to the people who are reading it. Make sure it’s not just ‘I’m going shopping now. Look, Mum. I’m in Australia.”
As the discussion drew to a close, and guests and students prepared to network, Jamie added, “Don’t be afraid to try something new.”