Andrew Wilson, Sky News former chief foreign correspondent and now Sky News presenter came to Bournemouth University yesterday with Andrew Preston, reportage editor for the Mail on Sunday with international documentary makers for One World Media Day.
The day was funded by the UKaid from the Department for International Development, and provided students with interactive sessions on international journalism and film making.
Audiences were captivated by Andrew Wilsons’ energetic presenting manner perforated with clips of his terrifying role as chief foreign correspondent; footage from the back seat of a jeep in Russia with bullets threateningly piercing and pounding the windscreen, a fully loaded tank rapidly gaining speed behind him as Wilson gives a very calm piece to camera, and being forced to report cheek to floor mid gunfire in Libya.
Although Wilson was clear to mention that international reporting was carried out at a high cost financially and personally, as sadly he has lost many colleagues in his line of work.
He praised the practical training of BU’s Multi-Media Journalism degree:
“If you have as much exposure as possible, to the work and other people, the equipment that you need, journalism is about decisions, and the more practice you have to make decisions where no one is going to jump on you for making the wrong ones the better.”
Wilson also said that landing a job as an international reporter is not just about your writing skills but luck, being able to work well in a team and by yourself, good character and determination. And of course the importance of ‘sitting on the fence’, providing absolutely impartial reportage, especially when dealing with international stories.
Andrew Preston, reportage editor of Live magazine, spoke to students about pitching techniques; to literally ‘inhale’ every type of media, always have a narrative in mind, know the outlet your pitching to and have strong pictures.
In response to being asked if he commissions pitches from students:
“You do bare it in mind but it does depend on the quality of work and the pitch, be confident and as students you’ve got to try everything and write in every style until you find the style you work in best, certainly try as you cannot get more work until you do.”
Preston advised that an email approach was best, introducing yourself, explaining the pitch and why you have access to an aspect of a story and not to forget your phone number, as he said too many people do.
Documentary film makers Kate O’Driscoll and Tim Short spoke about the challenges of getting programmes and documentaries on an international subject commissioned, how to make it relevant to UK audiences, and gave useful tips such as offer to make a video for the hotels website in exchange for a free stay.