Diploma, income and paywall

Journalists’ work is tough but important. BBC editor Luke Sproule told about the work within European media.

An online conference with Luke Sproule, editor of the BBC news department in Belfast (UK), was held at Perm Classical University. Until recently, Luke worked in The Oxford Times, and it was then that the collaboration between him and the Perm colleagues from Business Class began.

This time, the editor of the world-famous BBC service answered questions from students of the journalism department of Perm Classical University. He told how the British media work, what topics are readers interested in, whether they are ready to pay for information and much more.

During the conference, Luke has repeatedly noted that working in traditional media is not easy these days. “More and more people go to the Internet, to social networks, therefore, it becomes more difficult to bring their materials to readers. However, the media continues to play a significant role in society, that is why publications need to continue solving the key tasks of any media: make high-quality content and earn money,” the editor says. When talking about incomes, Luke Sproule noted that, in his opinion, people should pay publications for information, but admitted: switching to paid content can do a disservice. He cited the example of The Times, which has become fully paid. The subscription brings high income to the newspaper, but its audience has noticeably decreased due to the unwillingness of people to pay, as a result, the newspaper is losing its influence.

The situation with social networks is just as ambiguous. “On the one hand, it’s easier for people to get the news on Facebook. On the other hand, by linking the material on social networks, the media loses the clicks to their site,” says Luke.

Students were interested to know how a fact-checking system works in the British media. According to Mr. Sproule, a lot depends on the scale of the media. Small sites, seeking to publish the news first, are ready to sacrifice extensive fact check. However, large media, such as the BBC, devote considerable time to verifying information, since readers expect reliable news.

Then the audience inquired, whether a relevant diploma is necessary to work as a journalist. It turns out it is a must. “It will be easy for a graduate of the media profession to find work in the UK, especially in small companies,” Luke Sproule added. The comment on his routine did not leave students indifferent: “I start working at 6 am, and finish at 4 pm,” said Luke. The future wordsmiths started nervously fidgeting, apparently remembering what time they woke up that day. But having consulted with each other in whisper, they decided that it was possible to sacrifice the morning sleep for the sake of interesting work.

After thanking Luke for the interesting conversation, the hosts invited their British colleague to participate in a joint Russian-British conference on journalism, which is scheduled for mid-March. Mr. Sproule pleased the audience with a promise to come.

By Elena Sarmanova