Mary Hockaday, Head of the BBC’s Multimedia Newsroom, came to LCC on Tuesday 25 November to deliver a guest lecture on multiplatform news journalism. Second-year BA (Hons) Journalism student Yasaman Ahmadzai reports.
Responsible for 1,000 staff, Mary Hockaday is one of the most influential media figures in the UK blessed with a talented and committed team.
She has worked as a reporter, producer and editor for the BBC and used the lecture to speak to students about expanding job markets and her own experiences leading to her becoming a successful journalist.
Mary sketched out exciting aspects of BBC News and gave an insight into her respected team’s work including Ian Pannell, Mark Easton, David Shukman, Kevin Connolly and Mark Lowen, all singled out as great example of broadcast journalists.
“They take huge risks to bring our audience not just the news, but an understanding of a very complex and fast moving story.”
Mary touched upon the subject of social media and its key role in modern journalism. She sees it as a positive change in bringing her team to work collaboratively across different platforms. While digital and visual journalism may have revolutionised the way we receive news today, it is equally important to check accuracy and verify where news is coming from, which according to Mary is achieved by professional eyewitness journalism.
“Accuracy and impartiality are not unique to the BBC but they are especially precious to us, enshrined in our charter, carved in our hearts. Our independence gives us very strong ground on which to stand where we call power to account, challenge those in authority and seek to make sense of the world.”
Mary emphasised great story-telling is the backbone of successful journalism as well as to becoming a full-fledged journalist.
“You have to have something to say, it is also important to observe, listen, smell and talk to people about what is happening and then find simple words to convey the story to the audience.”
The main job of any journalist, Mary pointed out is to make sense of the world that we live in. That is a huge responsibility; therefore “our first task is to be accurate and fast. Which means audiences can get the news when they want it as they want it- be that a ticker on TV, a radio headline at the top of the next hour, a tweet, a text, or live video.”
Journalism is ostensibly about discovering new things every day and Mary helped to inform students that the most important thing in journalism is “if you practice good, strong journalism the rest will come to you automatically.” This suggests at times of social changes, good journalism still exists and matters.
Mary vehemently expressed the importance of independency and determination, fundamental traits in the field of journalism since values such as “trust and audience focus; accuracy, impartiality and independence, have always been with us.”
words: Yasaman Ahmadzai BA (Hons) Journalism, year 2