Former BBC editor and media consultant Sian Kevill gave Middlesex students an insight into her media career in the penultimate edition of the Broadcasting Today series of talks which has seen high flyers from the world of media come to Middlesex to share their experiences.
Presented by BBC journalist and Middlesex University Professor of Professional Practice Kurt Barling, the conversation covered Sian’s beginnings in television journalism as a BBC news trainee, the changing career routes into the industry and the impact of the economy on media production.
“You can’t get a better job than in journalism”, Sian told students, “if you have an enquiring mind and a creative impulse for storytelling. But you have to remember that no one will open doors for you.”
As a former Newsnight editor, Sian also spoke about the Saville controversy, telling students that the mistakes made during the production demonstrated that a cautious approach to reporting could be even more damaging than taking risks.
The founding director of Make World Media also told the audience of staff, media and journalism students, that journalists played a crucial role in today’s world.
“Journalists should always aim – and Leveson reminds of this – to be there as the fourth estate, to operate as a crucial part of democracy and question those in power.”
“Without journalists, democracy doesn’t function.”
The series has seen high-profile media personalities including Sian, Guardian writer Hugh Muir and the BBC’s Mary Hockaday tell students how they rose to the top in one of the most competitive industries. Celebrated war correspondent and former MP Martin Bell, and radio presenter Dotun Adebayo also shared their career highlights. The final edition, which will take place after Easter, will see the spotlight turn on series presenter Kurt Barling as Middlesex students put him through his paces with their questions.