Hilary Term 2024 Report  

In this termly report, Nicole, our secretary, reports on how we commemorated 20 years of OMS. With our biggest committee to date we brought together members, old and new, in celebration of the media- its past, present and future.

As this year marks two decades since the founding of the Oxford Media Society, we have been reflecting on the past, present, and future of journalism. Since 2004, our society has provided a platform for students to discuss the media in its many forms. Hilary Term 2024 has been no different. This term’s speakers have given us insight from all corners of the media industry, from reporting on international conflicts and investigative journalism, to reviewing films and commentating on the Premier League. 

We have continued to think about ‘media’ in new ways, casting our focus beyond the traditional bounds of print journalism. We kicked off our term card with Peter Drury (of Sky Sports and NBC Sports) who provided insight into the world of football commentary, including the hours of preparation which go into every match and the differences between UK and US audiences.  Our interview with Ella Kemp, London editor for Letterboxd and Head of Editorial at Girls on Tops, was another highlight. Ella discussed her experience as a film journalist, and, of course, let us know her four favourites: A Woman Under the Influence, Magnolia, Moulin Rouge, and Interstellar. As podcasting becomes an increasingly popular form of media, this has been another great term for our Spotlight podcast. Featuring guests such as Jeff Wilson, Pádraig Ó Tuama, and Rhian Roberts, all episodes are available to listen to now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Be sure to subscribe and stay tuned for new episodes dropping next term!

Leading on from last term, we continued our discussion on the current events in Ukraine with Alec Russell, current Foreign Editor at the Financial Times. Alec spoke about his experiences covering the siege of Dubrovnik (1991-2) during the Croatian War of Independence, the mechanics of being a foreign correspondent in 2024, and the memorable conversations he has had when working on Lunch with the FT. Journalism, as ever, remains a vital means of holding power to account, and our interview with Rozina Breen (Editor-in-Chief at The Bureau of Investigative Journalism) prompted us to consider how journalists can drive meaningful change. Rozina highlighted the value of not-for-profit platforms which are equipped with the resources to pursue investigative stories, and underscored the crucial role journalism plays in fostering a healthy democracy.

Most notably, this term saw the resurgence of the Oxford Forum, a publication originally launched by Zoe Flood in 2006. It was a great privilege to celebrate this commemorative edition of the Forum and reconnect with former committee members, Forum contributors, alumni, and patrons at our twentieth-anniversary dinner. Amidst the ambience of Hertford College dining hall, we heard speeches from our Senior Member (Tom Fletcher CMG), our 2004 founders (Zoe Flood, Rachel O’Brien, and Vishesh Srivastava), our HT24 President (Rachel Turner), and Lord Mandelson, who offered inspiring words to the next generation of journalists. Alongside a fascinating pre-dinner talk with Simon Lewis OBE delving into the inner workings of Buckingham Palace and Downing Street PR, the evening celebrated the society’s many highlights from the last two decades, and set out an ambitious vision for the future. 

To all who attended our events, contributed to the Oxford Forum, listened to our podcast, and read our newsletter – thank you!  We hope you have found this term enjoyable, and we look forward to welcoming you back in Trinity Term where we will continue to think critically about the media’s role in shaping our politics and culture, at both the global and personal scale.  

Yours,

Nicole Gibbons (Mansfield College)

Secretary TT24