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The importance of student media

11th July 2012
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In 2010 I had just completed my first year at university, having achieved very little asides from reading The Canterbury Tales in Middle English and working my way through the entirety of my father’s West Wing box set. Now, two years later, I have earned myself a place on the Newspaper Journalism MA course at City University, one of the most competitive journalism courses in the country.

What happened in between? Did I suddenly wake up, struck with God-like powers of accurate reporting? Did an ambitious alien worm its way into my apathetic first-year brain? No – I simply discovered student media.

I was lucky enough to attend a university where the student media is public and welcoming, with a newspaper, news website, radio station and TV station, it was easy to get involved with all branches of reporting and experiment between the four.

The importance of student media cannot be underestimated - it has been vital in the formation of my career prospects, my personal ambitions, as well as my time at university. What started out as me writing the occasional review of a music gig or play, quickly evolved into me taking on editorial responsibilities and reporting on some of the biggest student issues across campus and beyond.

Being surrounded and motivated by like-minded people, all working together on exciting projects to develop and expand the university’s media, was exactly the inspirational push that I needed. It didn’t detract from my academic work, enhanced my social life tenfold, gave a sharper edge to my CV, and became the basis for my portfolio, all whilst being the most fun I have ever experienced.

Some have complained that student media doesn’t prepare you for the real world, and that it is a useless distraction from your degree. Well, your degree must come first – societies will be waiting for you once essay deadline has passed; it is a flexible and forgiving environment. As for preparation for journalism work, what’s going to be more instructive in how to interview someone - reading an academic paper, or going out and interviewing the local sporting hero? Of course external work experience on professional media outlets is vital if you’re serious about a job in journalism, but what paper will let you come and work with them if you haven’t touched the paper on your own campus?

If you are thinking about a career in journalism or communications, want to build your job prospects, or simply feel like you’re floating on a lazy bubble of alcopops and daytime television and want to try something new – get involved with your student media. Going to see a local band perform at the pub? Write a review and send it in to the paper – if writing isn’t your style, grab your phone and record an interview for the radio station, or use a camcorder to do a video piece. Seeing your work becoming part of a larger media, and sharing your knowledge with other students, is all the motivation you’ll need to keep going. 




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