Only a few days to go now until I deliver my first lecture on radio journalism to first year students at the University of Salford. My slides, notes and audio clips are more or less ready to go, I’ve been shown how to use the AV equipment in the new building (impressive) and I’ve worked out a decent cycle route from Piccadilly to get me there. Not sure where I’ll lock my bike once I arrive; there don’t seem to be anything like enough bike racks and that was before 1500 students descended on the place.
So time to reflect on the process of turning my profession into an academic subject.
It’s been a really interesting experience. I’ve been doing journalism for 15 years so it was hard at first to break it down into a series of lectures for radio novices. How can I tell what’s useful new information and what’s just blindingly obvious? But it got easier and more interesting as I started putting thoughts down on paper. The BBC’s College of Journalism is a fantastic resource too and helped me focus some of my thoughts. The hardest, most time-consuming part is scouring the airwaves for good examples to illustrate my points.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I noticed as I went along was that a lot of these journalism skills I’m going to try to teach are so transferable in a digital age. Understanding and mastering media in all their different and evolving forms has to be a core skill in the 21st century. Being able to communicate persuasively will get you a long way in a connected world.
So there may not be many traditional journalism jobs waiting for the students when they leave Salford but I think the skills they learn will be valuable whatever career path they take.
Most importantly of all, I look forward to meeting the students and sharing some of the stuff I’ve picked up along the way.
And I think it’ll be fun.