Two hundred southern-based journalism students attended the Southern Centre’s fifth annual “Working in journalism” event at Solent University in mid-November.
It is one of the best forums for students to meet working journalists to discuss current opportunities and career development. And, to prove the point, three of the 15 journalists at the event had attended as students in the past two years. In fact, one gained her job with Sky News as a result of the contact she made as a student in 2017.
The professionals included on-screen and online staff from BBC South, ITV Meridian and Sky News, as well as reporters from BBC Radio Solent and the Portsmouth News.
There were also sports journalists working as communications officers for GB Wheelchair Rugby and Brighton and Hove Albion FC.
What linked all the professionals’ roles, was the need to be able to produce effective moving pictures, irrespective of the primary medium in which they were working. In the digital world, pictures count.
There was much talk about journalists dealing with “fake news” and attracting audiences more used to consuming material on mobile platforms, as well as questions about how to get a foot in the door and how long internships should remain unpaid.
The consensus was that, as well as good communication and networking skills, good journalism relies on individual integrity and, in the words of one of the visiting professionals, the ability to “sift through the speculative and embellished to get the real story”.