Tag: Glyndwr university

Going freelance: Advice for media students at Glyndwr University


Sian Pari Huws (pictured above) has handled politicians, producers and people all across Wales as a reporter and presenter for BBC Radio Wales and Radio Cymru.

This week she faced second-year Broadcasting and Journalism students from Glyndwr University (pictured below) to offer thoughts and advice on going freelance in the fast-changing media climate.

Topics included stagnating rates of pay, the role of sheer luck and the advantages of a portfolio career.

“One of the biggest changes in my time relates to the skill set,” says Anglesey-based Sian. “I think I have survived so long in the industry as I have many strings to my bow. The more you can do, the more use you are to people.”

In recent years Sian has diversified from high-profile presenting roles to take on voiceover work and media training. Yet she retains the work ethic of a professional freelancer. She says:

“You can’t get away with having a bad day as a freelancer. You’re only ever as good as your last job.”

Sian also offered some practical tips for students. While writing and pitching is the day-to-day task, she explained, a key part of being freelance relates to running your own business, hence:

  • Get a good accountant
  • Always ask to be paid gross
  • Put 0.25% of all pay aside to meet bi-annual tax payments
  • Keep a reserve of roughly three months salary in the bank as a rainy-day fund

Following the press conference-style session, the students recorded individual video-journalism interviews to submit as part of a portfolio work about freelance life.

The first part of the assessment was based round a field trip to MediaCityUK in Salford.

“If I had my time again I’d do the same thing,” says Sian. “For me, freelancing just makes life so much more interesting.”

What are your top tips for aspiring freelancers? Do you agree with Sian’s advice?

Post your comments below.


Creative Futures 2013: Getting A Job in the Media


The Creative Futures event is under way at Glyndwr University. It runs until Thursday.

Yesterday I caught freelance producer Phil Hirst giving a ground-level talk, Getting a Job in the Media.

His message focused on how to break in to a media landscape he describe as, “Fast-moving, fickle and a challenging business to work in.”

It was a rather static presentation lacking visual punch at times, but he did offer some advice to undergraduates keen to find a foot in the door.

“Ask some searching questions about what you want to achieve. How you will turn that burning ambition into getting a job.”

Most noteworthy was a section on the importance of work experience.

He cited a recent BBC news story detailing the findings of the latest High Fliers study.

The report indicates there will be more jobs for new graduates in 2013 but warns that “… graduates without work experience will struggle to get jobs no matter how good their grades.”

I did plenty of work experience myself while at journalism school.

It was a mixed bag – from making tea at the now defunct Melody Maker to trips down to the cuttings library to research stories at the Mail on Sunday.

Some of my cohort went on to get jobs from their work placements. I didn’t. But the experience of being in the newsroom proved invaluable nonetheless.

I spent four months unemployed after graduation. Then I got a few freelance shifts and that led to a full-time job on a magazine.

I moved to London the next week.

Phil offered some top tips for working in the media as follows:

  • Make it count. Get that work experience
  • Make friends. Put yourself about. Open doors
  • Make media. Watch, read, listen
  • Make your own luck. Target your effort
  • Make it to the finishing post. Pick yourself up and go again
  • JFDI. Just flippin’ do it

He said: “These days, it’s what you know, what you can show and who you know.”

Do you agree? Did you find Phil’s talk useful?

Post your comments below.

Story of the day: The new breed of student accommodation


A departure today. Instead of a travel piece, here’s an education feature from the Telegraph‘s annual university supplement – just by way of a change.

And here’s an extract, referencing a colleague from Glyndwr University:

“Exposure to new challenges, people and opinions can provide greater independence in the real world,” says Emyr Williams, lecturer in psychology at Glyndwr University, North Wales.

“Unfortunately, the real consideration for many students is whether to remain at home for financial reasons, thus limiting their opportunity to grow and develop, or to gain independence from the familial home.”

Read the full story, Plenty of room for manoeuvre.

Post your comments below.

Multimedia Journalism field trip to Saith Seren, Wrexham


Glyndwr University journalism students took part in a live field exercise in Wrexham yesterday to practice their video reporting skills.

The second years, part of the Broadcasting and Journalism cohort, interviewed the co-operative behind the Welsh-language community pub, the Saith Seren. The work forms part of an online journalism portfolio about the pub to complete their first semester.

The Saith Seren opened in city-centre Wrexham earlier this year to promote the use of Welsh in Wrexham. The pub is a Grade II-listed heritage building and plans to open a new upstairs section early in 2013 for community events.

Marc Jones, Chair of the Saith Seren co-operative said, “Some students came to the pub the night before for a look around, which shows great initiative. They were involved and asked useful questions.”

He added: “The trick is to draw something out of the interviewee, so some needed to work on their angle.”

Gwenfair Jones, one of the directors of the group, said: “They asked good questions about the resurgence of the Welsh language and the role of the pub in that.”

She added: “My advice for some would be better prepared to start the interview and not keep interviewees waiting while they set up.”

Journalism student and Welsh speaker, Seren Worsely-Davies, said, “I got a bit of stage fright at first with a live interview on camera, but it was good experience and I got some good material for my portfolio.”

Multimedia Journalism lecturer, David Atkinson, said, “I think it live experience of handling interviews in the field in an invaluable part of the group’s journalism training.”

He added: “With journalism in turmoil post Leveson and pressure on young reporters ramping up year on year, I want exercises like this to prepare them for journalism in the real world.”

Read the story on Glyndwr’s Campus Blog.

Follow Saith Seren on Twitter @SaithSeren.