Guest Speaker – Nicholas Brett

Journalism students were taught that persistence is vital in the career of journalism by a guest speaker at University College Falmouth yesterday.

Nicholas Brett, Deputy Managing Director and Group Editorial Director for BBC Magazines, visited UCF to talk about the importance of the audience for the BBC as a worldwide company.

“It’s a really bad time to get a job at this time; there has never been a worse time. You have to keep being persistent,” said Brett.

He said that you can barely pick up a newspaper without reading about the fall of magazines or about journalism turning digital. “It’s never been more competitive,” he added.

Brett was asked for advice off a student who was trying to find a job in journalism. Brett’s ‘Four P’s’ were passion, preparation, professionalism and persistence.

He told students that the two main reasons for BBC Magazines being a successful company are because “we put the reader first” and “we are flexible and we adapt.”

“I see no reason why your career should not be a great success if you follow that mantra,” he said. “Journalists might be expected to do all sorts of other things except printed magazines.”

Brett explained the importance of the audience to the BBC who wanted to know, “Can we not be more involved with readers? How about bringing readers into the magazine?”

BBC Magazines came up with “Magazine Insiders” which has about 5,000 members. These are readers who want to have their say and contribute to the body of research.

He said: “If there’s a magazine you like, have an authority on it.”

The BBC always uses their reader panel and asks their opinions first. The readers have helped shape the magazine by offering their views and by giving feature ideas.

Brett commented that blogging was also important for journalists. He said: “It gives you the ability to build a relationship directly with your readers.”

“The passive audience are now the people making YouTube videos, driving TV channels, writing blogs,” he added. “Many of you will find [when being interviewed for a job] that the first question you will be asked is, ‘Do you have a blog?’”

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