Media maestros storm UCLan to share their expertise

29 November 2016

Students pitch to senior editors for prestigious placements

Media professionals from the world of TV, radio, digital journalism and film took centre stage in front of a packed audience at the University of Central Lancashire’s annual Careers in Journalism and Media (cJAM) event.

The highlight of cJAM involves students pitching ideas to senior editors to win work placements.

More than 80 placements and mentoring opportunities were awarded on the day to talented students from the school of Journalism, Media and Performance. These ranged from work experience at ITN, to students being fast-tracked into the ITV and BBC talent pools, to experience with the Trinity Mirror regional news group.

One MA student, Luis Sanchez, gained a place on a scriptwriting workshop. He said: “I’m really grateful to be given the opportunity to pitch to a broad spectrum of the media industry. I got a lot of good advice and discovered new job positions that I didn’t even know existed. Everybody was approachable and even better – free cake!”

"Huge turnout at #CJAM16 with the next generation of journalists and filmmakers."

cJAM, which is in its fourth consecutive year, drew a crowd of more than 150 students, 35 employers, and successful alumni to the Media Innovation Studio. Guests included award-winning ITN Senior Programme Editor and UCLan Honorary Fellow Richard Frediani; Controller, BBC Research and Development Andy Conroy; Digital Strategy Manager for CN Group Nick Turner; Executive Director of the Society of Editors Bob Satchwell; Digital Innovation Editor at Trinity Mirror Regionals Alison Gow; and Social Creative Lead for ITV Creative Laura Gibson.

“Huge turnout at #CJAM16 with the next generation of journalists and filmmakers.”

The day kicked off with guest speakers where students were able to listen to invaluable advice and industry insights including the highs and lows of their experiences and what it takes to “make it”.

Amongst those taking to the stage, was Preston-born ITV Entertainment and Premier League presenter, Jonny Nelson, who spoke about his journey from pulling pints to becoming a TV star.

Mohammed Salim Patel who writes under the alias of “The Blind Journalist”, delivered a compelling and inspirational speech about his accomplishments. Despite suffering from the degenerative eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa, Salim hasn’t let this stand in his way and has built an impressive portfolio of experience from working on BBC Rip-Off Britain, BBC Radio 5 live to securing a place in the BBC's journalism talent pool.

"Absolutely loved working #CJAM16 as a student ambassador. Great buzz in the room, really inspiring - and I'm not even studying journalism."

Also present was BBC Head of Sports Journalism, Steve Mawhinney; MediaCity BBC Talent Manager Victoria Roye; Assistant Producer of The Jeremy Kyle Show, Kirsty Porter; and OSCAR and BAFTA nominated writer/film directors and producers Mark Gill and Baldwin Li.

UCLan alumnus and recent graduate Dale Fox, Sub-editor of 21st Century, an English education supplement for the ‘China Daily’ news title also made an appearance via a live link from Beijing where he spoke about his achievements and the media constraints he has to contend with on a daily basis working for an Eastern-based publication.

“Absolutely loved working #CJAM16 as a student ambassador. Great buzz in the room, really inspiring - and I'm not even studying journalism.”

As the guest speakers of the day drew to a close, the floor opened up to give students the unique opportunity to be part of a live pitching session enabling them to network and pitch to showcase their ideas and creative flair. In a speed dating fashion, each student was allocated a 10 minute slot to speak with their chosen employers and with the imminent pressure that a bell would sound to indicate when time was up - the pressure was on.

Besides networking and gaining a fundamental insight into breaking into the media industry, students were also able to participate in a competition for the best CV and with a £50 prize for the taking, it was no surprise that students raced to get their entry in.