4th Week Newsletter: Oxford Media Society in review!

Now that we're halfway through our term card, we thought we'd look back at our term so far, and reflect on all the amazing speakers who have joined us to talk about journalism, media, and more!

As we near the halfway point of Trinity Term, I wanted to reflect on Media Society’s events so far. Thanks to the committee’s effort and enthusiasm, our term card has got off to a fabulous start, with each event seeing a high turnout and exciting discourse around current trends in the media industry. 
Our panel with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has been a particular highlight for me; with five speakers from different journalistic backgrounds, it was fascinating to hear such such diverse perspectives on how the biggest challenges facing news — such as disinformation, press censorship, and generative AI — intersect and vary around the world.

We’ve also massively enjoyed our speaker events with Isabel Oakeshott, Rachel Riley, and Eve Bennett, which were not only wonderful opportunities to hear more about the realities of print and broadcast journalism, but also fascinating examples of how career success in the media increasingly depends upon the establishment of strong personal branding.

On Thursday, we also had the honour of hosting an event with our sponsor Times Radio, giving members the chance to join our studio audience for a conversation recorded with Programme Director Tim Levell and former Editor of The Times John Witherow. 

As a student journalist hoping to work in the industry after graduation, it was fascinating to hear their anecdotes and advice, and to meet these well-known media figures in person. By coming to our events and putting names to faces, we hope all our members will enjoy both the here-and-now of Media Society and the opportunity to increase the industry networks for the future.

Now, as the exam period begins in Oxford, we’re taking a brief mid-term break from in-person events until Week Five. However, you can expect our next newsletter as usual and be sure to read the latest reviews on our website. In the meantime, I leave you with some recommended articles from a few of my favourite publications and I look forward to seeing you all soon!

Freya Jones,

Q&A with Times Radio: Review

Last Friday, we had the pleasure of hosting a Q&A with our sponsors at Times Radio. Tim Levell, who is currently serving as its programme director, and John Witherow, who served as Editor-in-Chief of The Times until last year. The talk gave Oxford Media Society members and Oxford students an opportunity to converse with two figures who have been crucial to the development of British journalism in the past decade. They discussed their careers, as well as how the idea for Times Radio was conceived in 2020, and their opinions on the future of media. Both Tim and John emphasised the increasing importance of creating a healthy ecosystem for journalistic media, encompassing print, audio, and video formats.

Especially interesting was their discussions on the nature of journalistic radio and what appeals to people. There is a tendency to see radio through two extremes, with phone-in callers shouting about political issues on the one hand, and experts and journalists having informed conversations on the other. Tim explained that the vision at Times Radio is to be able to broadcast informative and civil debates about current issues, but also that there always needs to be a balance between engaging the audience whilst simultaneously maintaining journalistic civility and integrity. Indeed, the tension (and overlap) between these two goals has always been a challenge for any journalistic media project.

Finally, both Tim and John left our audience and all those aspiring to be journalists with some important advice. John emphasised the importance of persistence (he had repeatedly emailed The Times until they agreed to hire him) and attention to detail. Meanwhile, Tim related a story of when he accidentally took the BBC’s local radio programme off the air, advising that it is fine to make a mistake, as long as you do not repeat it.

Recommended Reading

The Economist: ‘Your job is (probably) safe from artificial intelligence’

Financial Times: ‘US states’ social media laws to protect kids create challenges for platforms’

The New York Times: ‘We’re Asking the Wrong Questions About the Trump Town Hall’