Thursday, September 07, 2006

So, an A-level in media studies will not do much for your chances of getting into Cambridge, according to its director of admissions, Dr Geoff Parks.

A degree in the same subject will not help you get a job on the Evening Standard, because editor Veronica Wadley who reckons she’s never even interviewed a media grad.

I know what they mean, but as someone who spends much of his time teaching this stuff at various universities, it may be worth pointing out that I took half a dozen media grads out of school and into the Telegraph’s digital newsroom in the five years I was running it and I’d have taken any of them with me if I’d anywhere to go.

There were a couple from the university of Westminster, a trio from Cardiff media school, a few from City University and I recall one from Bournemouth who would have made the grade had she not been tempted elsewhere.

To be honest, media as an academic subject, provides just that: an academic exercise. It produces candidates of degree standard. It’s the approach that matters.

One of the Cardiff trainees made his best pitch when he approached me after I’d addressed 300 of them in one of their lecture theatres. He listened, fired testing questions and fronted me up at the end with the words: ‘I want a bit of that. What do I do?’

The question for me at moments like that is not so much, can he speak three languages, quote Browning or name every King since Cromwell, it’s how would I feel if I were a punter and he was a reporter? Better still, how would I feel about the organisation he represents - and I run?

Okay, I'd prefer ay media grad to have an advanced understanding of how the industry works than the influence of EastEnders plotlines on racial equality but the clincher is the look in the eyes that says 'I would slay dragons for this job.'

There's only one caveat. They have to be able to write.

And surprisingly few can do that these days – whatever they’ve studied.

No comments: