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Wednesday 2 December 2015

Alumni and Industry Experts Collaborate for Annual Conference

Southampton Solent recently hosted the third annual ‘Word Up!’ music journalism conference, with students, alumni and industry experts once again converging on the campus for a day of insight and discussion.

Attendees heard from speakers like Anna Mears (senior publicist for inside/out PR), Ruth Barnes (BBC & Amazing Radio presenter) and Dorian Lynskey (journalist for The Guardian & Q Magazine), who each spoke about music journalism from their own unique perspectives.

A selection of industry panellists.

Southampton Solent University’s music journalism programme is the only course of its kind to delivers an annual industry conference, giving students the opportunity to pick the brains of journalists from right across the industry.

Word Up! is also a fantastic networking opportunity as in the past, students have gained internships and freelancing work. Solent lecturer and Independent journalist Fiona Sturges added:

There’s an enormous amount of practical information and advice shared by speakers which will help students find work. There have also been several examples of students getting internships and freelance work as a direct result of the conference.

“Last year we had Dom Lawson, Editor-At-Large for Metal Hammer magazine. He encouraged the metal fans among the students to send him their written work, and two are now writing on a regular basis for the magazine.”

Ruth Barnes, Dorian Lynskey, Fiona Sturges, Jean-Luc Brouard and Anna Mears.

Drawing from her experience of working with Chvrches, Green Day & Madonna, Anna Mears advised the audience on what it takes to be a PR for the music industry:

“There are two ways of being a PR – some are really protective of their acts, but the best way is to let the journalist and the photographer do their job and develop a good relationship”.

Following these wise words was a panel that consisted of Anna, Ruth Barnes, Dorian Lynskey, Fiona Sturges and Jean-Luc Brouard (a photographer for The Independent). They spoke at length on the details of their careers and the challenges that they face on a daily basis.

The day also included an honest talk from Terry Bezer (Scuzz TV) who had some advise for all future journalists:

“Whilst getting into mainstream media is good for exposure, if you’re in this for money then this is not your game”.

Also present was Evertt True (Reject Unknown) and Emma Swan (DIY magazine) who shared their insider knowledge on setting up new media platforms.

To find out more about studying journalism here at Southampton Solent University, please visit our writing and communication homepage.