A journalism graduate’s view of the media industry in Scotland

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Over the summer, I have the pleasure of working with James Wyllie, who has come onboard as a paid intern, fresh from completing his journalism degree at Robert Gordon University. (He recently found out he got a first, which doesn’t surprise me at all!)

James is assisting me with all my clients and projects and we often talk about his course, his experiences in the industry and his plans for a future in communications. As a media geek, I’m fascinated by the speed of change and I’m always interested to hear his opinion – I thought others in my industry would be too. So here it is, in his own words:

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“The hardest part about studying journalism at university is that as soon as you learn something, it’s already out of date. Everything in the media industry moves so fast, and it’s already changed significantly in the four years I spent at RGU.

When I started my course, tablets were still a complete novelty, there were only faint rumblings about phone-hacking, and every article mentioning Twitter had to begin by explaining what it actually was.

We’d look up module guides and find books telling us how MySpace is the biggest social network, and plenty with high-tech things like satellites and bulky beige computer monitors on the cover and they’d only be a few years old. Obviously when these books were written they’d have been completely up-to-date, but technology moves so fast nowadays that it’s a huge challenge for anyone trying to get something physically published on the subject.

Thankfully that’s one of the largest advantages of where everything seems to be heading. Information can be updated online in real time. Revisions of books can be beamed straight to an e-reader. Images and videos can be added to websites to help explain complicated topics without having to worry too much about how long it’s going to take everyone to load the page with a dial-up Internet connection.

Graduates leaving with media-related degrees just now are in an excellent position. While print media may be declining, it’s still hugely important and remains what the vast majority of university courses are based on, and this is likely to continue for a long time. But now we all have to keep up with how technology is transforming the industry as well. Breaking news can circle the globe with a tweet. An Instagrammed photo can become the next day’s newspaper splash. Everything has to be instant and interactive.

The outcome of this is that universities are now producing a lot of really good all-rounders in the industry. My course taught me all the aspects of print journalism – news writing, features, desktop publishing – alongside broadcast with radio and TV, and how to work on online platforms including writing for websites and web design.

Having a skillset this varied is really useful, especially when working for Kim on Impact Online projects. Some days I’ll be filming events, while others could be spent planning content for social media or writing posts for a company blog. With the amount of new tools for publishing content online that get released practically every day, there’s always something fresh and different to try and, as even more are launched, working in this industry is only going to get even more varied and exciting.”

Follow James on Twitter @jameswyl

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