Getting hired. Stephen Waddington makes sense of the Media

Waddington presenting to the lecture theatre

Stephen Waddington (@Wadds) presented his views on the media, its future and how to get hired in PR, to students at the university of Sunderland. 

 Waddington, not the actor, is the managing director of London-based PR company, Speed Communications and is also non-exec chairman of Newcastle based, Admiral PR

 What did the fellow have to say to ambitious journalism and PR students?  

 Waddington believes that the print media is in a terrible state, it needs to adapt more than it is now. He approved of the way the Financial times are operating their online pay system, but he wasn’t so optimistic about the pay wall that the Times are about to set up, he said: “The pay wall on the Times website makes no sense at all. You can’t expect people to pay for online content. I think it will fail.”  

“Print is knackered, it is shagged. The industry is in so much trouble. Media is fragmented.”  

  If the print media is ‘shagged’ then which way is the industry heading? Waddington is adamant that Google is the way forward, twice he said: “The future has got to be Google.” 

 “Twitter is now the media” 

  It is always a thrill for students to get tips and advice from someone in the industry that they would like to work in, and to get them from someone who is so high-up is like finding diamonds in your cereal. The advice indicated that social media of all kinds is where you get yourself noticed: “Build personal networks. Twitter is now the media, it is where every single journalist and employer is operating.” 

 “You used to have to go to really shitty events and drink shitty wine!” 

 Twitter has changed the way most industries operate, Waddington made this clear when he spoke about how you met employers in the past. He painted a very dull picture of the past and how you got noticed and particularly, how long it used to take, “now you can connect with everyone you could ever want to.” 

  Waddington made it clear that social media could be the be all and end all of our futures in the industry, he said: “We live in a world where you can set up a blog and become someone. Put yourself out there, create your own media.” 

 The important question. 

 As always, serious students want to know what the industry they are trying to enter wants from them. Waddington said: “It is looking for the same enthusiasm, but the fundamentals stay the same.” The ‘fundamentals’ being – hard work, extra activities to set you aside from others and passion. 

 The overall advice for students was to make yourself stand out. Waddington made it perfectly clear that all of the students in the auditorium were all learning skills that make them different to most of the people in the industry now, he said: “The media is a bloody mess. The good news though, is that you’re skilled up to deal with it. The media is starting to get its head around social media.” 

 A word of warning. 

 Think about what you have of yourself online – that’s Facebook, Twitter, MySpace… Ask yourself, “what does this say about me?” and if you need to change something that could damage your reputation, do it. Waddington checks online before he interviews someone, he said: “That’s the first thing I do, check online.” 

  Some other things he said

 He talked about how we don’t commercialise blogging in this country, like they do in the USA.  

 He talked about how blogging could change the way we consume our regional news, he used the hyper local SR2 blog as an example. 

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3 Comments on “Getting hired. Stephen Waddington makes sense of the Media”

  1. […] the presentation on his Wadds PR Blog, and Level 1 student Nick Robinson talked about it on his Realityuniversityandcheck’s […]

  2. Great post. I thought Stephen Waddington’s presentation was great, it’s nice to actually see someone doing the things we are learning about in the real world and being successful.

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