BBC broadcaster and Middlesex University Professor of Professional Practice Kurt Barling rounded off his series of talks by top media personalities by stepping into the hot seat himself to be interviewed by students.
Professor Barling, who is known for challenging the norm in his work, told the live audience: “The important thing about my early training was it taught me never to take things at face value and to always in the midst of an engagement with somebody in power to try and deconstruct what they were telling you and very often you find that these people are deeply uncomfortable with that.
“You’ve got to learn the skills and be on top of your game now because if you can do that you will be someone who can perform and can continue to perform sustainably for 20 or 30 years. It’s not an easy profession to go into, if you want an easy job with lots of money go and be a banker or a lawyer.”
One of the BBC's most experienced investigative journalists, Professor Kurt Barling sees his role at Middlesex as his opportunity to "share my craft, nurture fresh talent and broker real opportunities for the next generation of creatives".
Broadcasting Today saw television and journalism luminaries including former war correspondent Martin Bell, BBC Radio Five Live’s Dotun Adebayo, and Guardian columnist Hugh Muir share their experiences and reflect on where the media industry stands today.
Broadcasting legend Martin Bell said: “If you want to go into journalism to make money – forget it! But if you can write fast and well with a great curiosity about the world then there’s no greater profession and I heartily recommend it.”
Dotun Adebayo was positive about the prospects for aspiring journalists, he told students: “Things have never been better for people getting into journalism because you don’t have to rely on getting a job at a national newspaper.”
Persistence was the message Guardian columnist Hugh Muir gave, he said: “If you have ideas and they’re relevant ideas to the publication you are targeting, pretty soon you will break through, but it needs persistence. Sometimes people underestimate how difficult it is and how persistent you have to be to get onto national media organisations.”
Former Newsnight editor Sian Kevill said “you can’t get a better job than in journalism” and head of the BBC Multimedia Newsroom Mary Hockaday told Middlesex students that to succeed they need “initiative, determination and good communication”.