This week I’m starting a run of sessions teaching various online skills to broadcast journalism students at the University of Leeds. One example of how much journalism has changed since I did the very same course a decade ago is that back then we were taught very little about the internet. Tablets were, I’m afraid to say, something you took the morning after a few midweek pints of cheap beer in the Old Bar.
As I’ve already explained in a previous post, I believe it’s important for today’s student journalists to be on Twitter. But just having a Twitter account isn’t nearly enough. I’m keen to help the students get the best out of it for themselves and for their journalism. To that end, I’ve begun to curate a list of Leeds alumni who now work in the media. You can find the list here: http://twitter.com/#!/rlwjones/exleedsmedia
There are two main reasons for doing this. The first one is that many of the traditional graduate-level media positions which were still relatively widely available back when I left Leeds, such as jobs in commercial or BBC local radio, have either gone or are going. Student journalists need to think about their future careers earlier, to help give themselves more options when graduation time comes. I hope that looking at the successful careers many Leeds graduates are enjoying in various parts of the media will help and, yes, maybe even inspire them.
The second point is rather more prosaic. ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ is such a dreadful cliché it should be a candidate for John Rentoul’s banned list. But there’s no doubt a contact here or there can be extremely valuable. If a student sees a Leeds graduate tweeting about doing a job they’d like to do, there’s no reason why they couldn’t get in touch and ask for a bit of advice, a bit of work experience, or whatever. Less social network, more social networking, if you like.
That link to the list again: http://twitter.com/#!/rlwjones/exleedsmedia
If you know of anyone you should be added, then tweet me @rlwjones. They don’t have to have done the broadcast journalism degree, the list is for anyone who went to Leeds and is now in some part of the media.