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BBC cutbacks shouldn’t deter aspiring journalists – Radio Leeds sports editor

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By Ryan Sharp

Local radio is still a viable option for aspiring journalists despite the BBC announcing the loss of 187 jobs last week, according to Radio Leeds sports editor Jonny Buchan.

The BBC is significantly reducing the unique programming produced across 39 local stations but Buchan told the audience at Leeds Trinity University’s annual Journalism and Media Week event the changes might even lead to more opportunities.

“They (BBC) are redistributing some of their money from linear radio services to online and digital services.

“It is not a time to think that local radio isn’t a way for me to go, because local is absolutely still key to what the BBC is doing moving forwards.

“Out of these situations come opportunity, these are skills that the BBC desperately want and need. You can still certainly have a future working for the BBC locally, absolutely.”

The skillsets that are taught by universities like Leeds Trinity for local radio services are still very valuable and will all remain useful for local online news outputs in the future, he added.

Jim Foulger, head of news and sport at Bauer Radio and Pavan Rivat-Ward founder of We are the Allies, a freelance creative recruiting agency, also took part in the employers panel and urged students to pursue their careers in the industry despite how competitive it may seem.

Journalism and Media Week employers panel: Jonny Buchan, Pavan Rivat-Ward, Jim Foulger (Left to Right)
Journalism and Media Week employers panel: Jonny Buchan, Pavan Rivat-Ward, Jim Foulger (Left to Right)

The panellists also emphasised that young people should push to make their way into the industry, and went on to express their passion for their current roles and explained why it is well worth the hard work.

Rivat-Ward said: “I’m 26 years in, and I just love going to work every day and I always have. The travel, seeing new things, the creativity. It’s a fabulous, fabulous industry.”

Buchan added: “If you go into this industry following something you are passionate about, be that news, advertising or marketing, you will certainly enjoy many more days at work than if you were doing a job because you have to do it.”

Jim Foulger said: “I didn’t want a job doing the same thing every day. Every day teaches us something, it is a fascinating business to be in.”

With multimedia ever-growing, students were very keen to find out how they can positively leave their mark on employers to ensure that they can be successful as an intern.

Buchan claimed that “attitude” was a key attribute to be remembered: “Some (successful interns) still struggle with aspects of the job more than others, but it was all about attitude. They all shared similar attitude.

“You need to be willing to come in and work hard, ask the right questions, try and settle in and fit in with the team.

“If you’re coming out of university with no work experience, that would ring alarm bells. Getting some experience shows that you have a desire to do the job.

“Learn to read the room, when people are really busy, just make them a brew. Learning to make a good cup of tea is an essential skill.”

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