Students were given a unique insight into how the BBC gathers and broadcasts its news from the Head of BBC's Multimedia Newsroom Mary Hockaday at Middlesex University.
The esteemed journalist discussed the role of the BBC newsroom, the impact of social media and what you need to become a broadcast journalist with recently appointed Middlesex University Professor of Professional Practice Kurt Barling.
It was filmed in the media department’s Sony designed TV studio in a talk show format in front of a live studio audience. Students on the University’s television courses filmed the show giving them real-time broadcasting experience.
Students were given the chance to quiz Hockaday on a number of topics. Hockaday advised students that it is fundamental to have a passion for finding out what is going on and communicating it if they want a career in broadcast journalism.
Social media was discussed in depth and its impact on news gathering as well as a way for people to get their news. Hockaday pointed out that the reach of evening terrestrial news bulletins still far outweighs that of BBC’s twitter feeds – although admitted that over time figures for BBC One news will edge down.
Professor Kurt Barling is also the current special correspondent for BBC London News, he said: “The University needs to look outwards and it also needs to bring the outside world in. This series is a good example of getting practitioners who are very experienced in their field to come and talk to students and staff about the real debates in the field.
“It will open minds of our students to working in the environment of journalism. There’s no point going into the world of journalism being starry eyed, students may get to the top in the end, but there’s a lot of grunt work involved on the way. If you enter the profession with ambition but a sense of realism and a sense that you need resilience to sustain your career – that gives you the best start.”
First year Media and Cultural Studies student Rhiannon Williams (19) said: “Mary is a very powerful and empowering lady in the work that she does and what she represents. It is fantastic to meet someone of Mary’s calibre within the media industry. I think it’s given us as students and me as a female hope that we can achieve in the industry. It has inspired me and given me food for thought in the way that I could aspire to do something like that.”
Former war correspondent Martin Bell is the next high profile journalist to share their expertise with Middlesex University on Monday 4 February from 6pm. Martin is a former MP and is an outspoken critic of the state of journalism today.