“So you want to be a journalist, publisher or writer?”

22 June 2017

Leading experts from the world of journalism and publishing deliver masterclass

A unique event organised by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) drew in a packed audience of ticket holders to hear from and network with a stellar line-up of guest speakers from across the creative industries.

Taking centre stage, Senior Lecturer in Publishing Debbie Williams opened the night with a warm welcome before introducing Course Leader for Media Practice and “The Voice of Old Trafford”, Manchester United stadium announcer Alan Keegan as panellist host.

The event was hosted by the School of Journalism, Media and Performance.  Those who joined the panel included award-winning ITV News Programme Editor and UCLan Honorary Fellow, Richard Frediani; Journalist for the Guardian and The Times, Matthew Connolly; Marketing and Publicity Executive for Bloomsbury, Janet Aspey; Assistant Editor for Penguin Random House, Mainga Bhima; Award-winning author of Dr Who, Paul Magrs; Literary agent and consultant, Jaime Marshall; and Children’s book author and illustrator, Dave Shelton.

Delivering a profound inspirational insight into life in the fast lane, the panellists spoke about their own personal experiences, before opening up the floor for a Q&A session where they offered top tips of how to get that “first break”.

"JK Rowling started off with a simple idea that turned it into a global phenomenon"

One member of the audience had a burning question for the whole panel:

“JK Rowling started off with a simple idea that turned it into a global phenomenon. How can I take my simple idea and turn it into a global phenomenon?” he chuckled.

As Marketing and Publicity Executive for the publishing house behind the Harry Potter franchise, Bloomsbury’s Janet Aspey was deemed the appropriate panellist to take on this million dollar question. She said: “You can’t ever write something and expect it to be published with that kind of hope. Of course we want it to take off, but I think it’s about believing in what you are writing, writing it honestly and with integrity.

“If we all believed in it, we would do our best and get it out to the readers, but you never know whether it is going to take off - it just kind of builds.”

She added: “The Harry Potter thing was a slow burner and we all know that everyone was turning it down until finally Barry Cunningham, a major publisher, said 'yes' we see something in this.”

Talking from a newsroom perspective about whether there is a preferred route into the industry, Richard Frediani said: “There is no one route in. There are traditional routes, a bit like I did, but there are plenty of people who work in our office who have all manner of backgrounds and all manner of routes into the industry.

"When you start in broadcasting, the reality is that you’re going to work in a local radio or TV station where you will be expected to cover anything."

He added: “You will then use that experience to build up your portfolio, build up your interests and make contacts which then gets you your next opportunity.”

View photos from the event on the UCLan Flickr gallery.