We need more high -qual­ity me­dia cour­ses pro­duc­ing me­dia-lit­er­ate grad­u­ates

Lisette John­ston, head of school at ScreenS­pace in Lon­don

THE (Times Higher Education) - - LETTERS -

I run a uni­ver­sity pro­gramme that of­fers a de­gree in con­tent, me­dia and film pro­duc­tion. And I spent 15 years in the news in­dus­try, so it’s per­haps no sur­prise that I am pas­sion­ate about the po­ten­tial of cour­ses re­lated to the cre­ative in­dus­tries. What I am not keen on, how­ever, is cour­ses pro­duc­ing school-leavers with­out a ba­sic over­view of what is an evolv­ing me­dia land­scape, or grad­u­ates lack­ing trans­fer­able skills that help them into the world of work.

We need more me­dia stu­dents, but the qual­ity of the teach­ing they get and the rel­e­vance of the con­tent they learn is para­mount.

Ac­cord­ing to a study from the Work Foun­da­tion for the Bri­tish Film In­sti­tute in 2017, the film sec­tor alone em­ploys 66,000 peo­ple across the UK, yet there is a lack of di­ver­sity and workreadi­ness among those en­ter­ing th­ese in­dus­tries.

This gap be­tween what is taught and what is ex­pected in in­dus­try is cre­at­ing a huge dis­con­nect as the sec­tor, and the de­mand for skills, con­tin­ues to grow. For ex­am­ple, the UK film sec­tor is one of the most ex­ported parts of the UK econ­omy, bring­ing in £2 bil­lion to the Trea­sury in 2015. The cre­ative in­dus­tries as a whole gen­er­ate £92 bil­lion an­nu­ally for the UK, ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment for Dig­i­tal, Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport. There is a need for skilled in­di­vid­u­als and there is po­ten­tial to blur the lines be­tween academia and in­dus­try; yet few es­tab­lish­ments are do­ing this.

An­other rea­son to adopt more me­dia cour­ses is to en­cour­age di­ver­sity: if more peo­ple have the op­por­tu­nity to study me­dia, then there is a greater chance that they will move into the field. Cur­rently, there are gen­der, eth­nic­ity and dis­abil­ity gaps through­out the cre­ative in­dus­tries, and we see this both in per­son­nel and pay as women across the screen in­dus­tries re­ceive on av­er­age £3,000 less than their male coun­ter­parts.

How­ever, it is not just the world of me­dia that ben­e­fits from the highly trans­fer­able skills that stu­dents learn when study­ing me­dia. Pre­sen­ta­tion and mar­ket­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, the abil­ity to read an­a­lyt­ics, pre­dict trends, un­der­take crit­i­cal anal­y­sis and tell a story well are highly de­sir­able skills.

In essence, all com­pa­nies are touched by some as­pect of the me­dia, whether through Twit­ter, an email dis­tri­bu­tion list or a YouTube chan­nel. And all com­pa­nies, from banks to uni­ver­si­ties, are in need of dig­i­tal and me­dia lit­er­ates to help them op­er­ate in a com­plex land­scape. This is a space where fake news sits along­side fac­tual re­port­ing. Fact-check­ing has be­come a vi­tal tool in any me­dia or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ar­se­nal.

So, knowl­edge of me­dia and the me­dia land­scape could help to de­liver more qual­ity cre­atives, but it also helps to school in­di­vid­u­als in ba­sic dig­i­tal and me­dia lit­er­acy. This will help them to op­er­ate in the world of work, where there is in­creas­ingly a blur­ring of bound­aries be­tween per­sonal and pro­fes­sional, and where me­dia con­sump­tion is tracked and data is king. To achieve this, we need more good, rel­e­vant me­dia cour­ses that ad­here to in­dus­try stan­dards.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.