Award-winning journalists talk to DMU students

Dr James Russell Introduces the two guest speakers from the world of television
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Dr James Russell Introduces the two guest speakers from the world of television

by Cristina Olaru

Two of the most notable commissioners in UK broadcasting attended a Leicester Media School employability conference at De Montfort University.

Head of School Dr James Russell introduced Louisa Campton, the new commissioning editor of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4, and Tony Parker, head of Television Development for BBC England.

Both journalists talked about their experiences and their approach to commissioning, followed by a Question and Answer session. Dr Richard Danbury, who leads the DMU Investigative Journalism MA, and Senior Lecturer Pervez Khan asked questions, together with the audience.

Dr Danbury asked both journalists how the commission process works. Ms Campton said: “In order to get a successful commission you really need to work hard and stand out. If you are pitching to my department, which is news and current affairs, the most important thing to have is an element in your pitch of news-making, news-breaking, investigative revelation.”

The journalists detailed some of the biggest mistakes that people make when pitching ideas.

Mr Parker said: “Do your research before pressing send. Be brief, don’t send long e-mails and don’t send long pitch documents. These people are busy, it’s a busy market. The first thing should be a tease.”

Ms Campton said they are looking for ‘relevant’ stories for the audience, stories that produce a reaction in people and reach ‘humanity’.

She said: “We want programmes that get people talking, stories that make them feel angry, sad, happy even occasionally, but feel something.”

The speakers advised DMU students that the media industry was in a period of growth and development, and in terms of employability there was nothing to worry about. DMU students should be passionate, creative, be themselves and show interest in the job they are applying for.


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