Category Archives: Guest Speaker Reports

Guest Speaker Report: Oliver Poole

The Independent’s Foreign Correspondent, Oliver Poole, addressed a group of excited journalism students at University College Falmouth. Instead of giving the expected talk about how to get a career in journalism or where the industry is heading, Poole chose to go down a different route, recalling some of his most exciting stories and explaining how to survive when reporting in a war zone.

Poole gave an explanation of the ’15 minute rule’, which was based around the idea that no plans could be formulated in that space of time and therefore they would move on after fifteen minutes. He said: “I had a guy whose sole job was to tap me on the shoulder when the fifteen minutes were up, because you can’t organise a kidnapping that quickly.”

Poole also suggested that the greatest form of defence you could have in a war zone was remaining inconspicuous, so he used to drive in older cars as opposed to heavily armoured ones and dress like a local. The former Iraq reporter said: “The last thing you want to do in these sorts of places is draw attention to yourself.”

Poole’s intriguing storys and humorous anecdotes kept the students captivated throughout and he left them with one small piece of advice: “Nothing gets you out of a problem quicker than cash.”

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Guest Speaker Report: Joe Barnes

Journalism students at University College Falmouth were able to enjoy a talk from FHM editor Joe Barnes, who issued an important, if slightly disheartening message: “Today my team consists of 12 people on my team. Probably one of those people has to die for you to get a job basically.”

Whilst the overall message did not inspire confidence in the journalism industry, Barnes did go on to suggest that the person who found the answer to the problems would become a millionaire. He outlined the main reason for the current situation and blamed the fact that “no one expects to pay for anything” online.

However, if the students needed any inspiration then surely it was standing right in front of them. Barnes studied at University College Falmouth and graduated in 2003, before starting work at ‘Front’ magazine, where he later became editor. Recognised for steering the magazine away from its ‘lad mag’ reputation, FHM ‘came calling’, appointing him as editor and charging him with the enviable job of ‘turning around the tanker’.

Barnes did give the students some reassurances when he said: “The good news is I still believe that if you can write, are prepared to work hard and have the right attitude then you can get work.”

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Guest Speaker Report: Sam Lynas

University College Falmouth welcomed back a former student when Sam Lynas returned to give a talk to students at Tremough Campus, which he focused around creating an online audience.

Lynas is currently freelancing at Munro & Forster, a healthcare specialist company, and suggested that the journalism students he was addressing should set aside an hour a day to blog. He believed that, thanks to improved technology, they had a great opportunity to build an online audience, whilst he also added that, of course, blogging is beneficial for all journalists as it is good practice.

Sam graduated from University College Falmouth in 2009, having gained a degree in journalism. Throughout his talk, he gave some important advice about how bloggers could increase the number of views they achieve. The most important points which he noted, however, were that the content of each post needed to be ‘interesting, original, consistent and affordable’.

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Guest Speaker Report: Nicholas Brett

Students at University College Falmouth were privileged to be able to listen to the BBC Managing Director of Magazines, Nicholas Brett, who informed them of the ‘four P’s’ for both a business plan and finding a job.

Brett began his lecture with a famous quote from the great author John Steinbeck, quoting: “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them. Then you end up with a dozen.” It was an intriguing manner in which to start a talk and set the tone for what was a fascinating lecture.

Brett said that the four P’s for a business plan were ‘purpose, people, process and product’, whilst the four P’s for finding a job were ‘passion, preparation, professionalism and persistence’. These eight P’s, as well as being easy to remember, are extremely valuable pieces of advice which everyone can take with them into almost any walk of life, be it a career in journalism, sport or even just working in a supermarket. Every student who left the talk was very gracious to have heard from a man with such vast knowledge and everyone took something home with them.


Guest Speaker Report: Suzie Smith

Suzie Smith, the Editor in Chief at Cornwall Living magazine, gave students at University College Falmouth one important message: Get work experience under your belt.

Smith delivered the message with the knowledge that she herself had plenty of experience in the media industry, having worked firstly at what she described as a ‘weekly freebie’ in Bristol, before writing for an evening paper in Swansea. She then moved into radio, becoming the editor of Pirate FM, one of Cornwall’s biggest radio stations. This year she won the best freelancer in Southwest award.

Smith, who has a degree in journalism and psychology, suggested that students get a letter off the editor of the publication at the end of their work experience as it could benefit them in the long-run. She stated: “At the end of work experience get that letter.”

She also told the Tremough Campus based students that she had two Facebook accounts, one for work and one for friends and family. This was to make sure her private life was kept separate from her professional life.

The City University graduate finished by encouraging students to “find something you’re passionate about and write about it.”

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