Journalism students meet inspiring industry insiders

Date 13.02.2018

A rising TV presenting star joined a professional YouTuber, a newspaper editor and a film-maker at an industry panel event for journalism students at the University of Northampton.

Digital Destinations saw Aaron Roach Bridgeman, who has hosted a string of hard-hitting Channel 5 documentaries, talk to undergraduates about his rise to national TV presenter.

Also giving industry tips on the day was Shantania Beckford, a beauty vlogger with more than 200,000 subscribers, Bromsgrove and Droitwich Standard editor, Tristan Harris, and film-maker Stewart Lawley, who is creative director at a media production company.

The event, which took place on Monday 5 February, was part of Changing Futures Week – a five-day University wide showcase of industry speakers.

A report on the event, by Multimedia Journalism undergraduate Kirk Asiedu, is reproduced below.

“Insightful, witty and inspiring just some of the words used to describe the talk given on the first day of Changing Futures Week. Digital Destinations, which was hosted by Journalism Lecturer, Marverine Cole, saw some high-profile names in the digital world step forward to share their knowledge with a large group of media and journalism students.

Each of the four speakers had a slot of around 15 to 20 minutes to introduce their work and offer some insight to the exciting things that their area of expertise can bring. The first speaker was filmmaker, Stewart Lawley. He offered an entertaining talk on the world of film making and showed how important it is to be as innovative as you can be within the industry. He spoke about having the ability to bring forth new and unusual ideas that people will identify with and store within the faculties of their minds. He used examples of videos like Gangnam style, Crazy Frog and the Cadbury gorilla drummer to back up his point, as these are some of the most watched videos of all time.

Next up to speak was newspaper editor, Tristan Harris. The world of news editing can come across as dull, however Tristan brought it to life by depicting editors as heroes of some kind in this modern era. Tristan spoke on the importance of giving local people a voice and allowing them to speak out and be heard by the masses.

Next to take the stage was Beauty YouTuber, Shantania Beckford. Shantania spoke of her struggle as a teenager and how she found her escape route through the world of beauty and make up. Shantania owns her own YouTube channel which has over 200,000 subscribers. Within her talk she gave us insight in the world of YouTube and her process before releasing a video. She reminded us that no idea is stupid, and how anything can be achieved, as long as you have the passion.

Aaron Roach Bridgeman was the last to take the stage, and what a way to end it. He offered insight into his journey to becoming a TV presenter. He spoke of all his endeavours while at university in Birmingham, his love of news and current affairs, and how he landed a job with YouTube channel, SBTV. Its entrepreneurial owner, Jamal Edwards, gave Aaron his first interview with Kelly Rowland, formerly of global super group Destiny’s Child. He also went on to name some other famous names that he has rubbed shoulders with, including 50 Cent and also spoke about his most recent documentary, shown last week on 5Star: Eight-years-old and smuggling drugs. He also kept us in suspense by mentioning that he has some new content coming out soon, but it’s still secret. All-in-all, Aaron’s message was simple: you need drive, motivation, passion and determination to make it in the industry.”

Pictured from left are Aaron Roach Bridgeman, Shantania Beckford, Marverine Cole, Stewart Lawley and Tristan Harris.