Is the media really in need of fixing or can it stay the same?

The changing face of media
The changing face of media
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Radio broadcaster Dave Swanton writes about the changing faces of media.

Amid all the disruption of moving house, I recently attended and spoke at a local group for Sporting Memories.

The meeting was held at Chorley Football Club and I spoke about my career and how I got started in journalism and my journey to where I find myself today.

Those attending were lovely people who got involved, sharing their own recollections with everyone else.

My journey has been a long one, starting with the dream of working for the Leyland Guardian. I was told by the then editor, Mr Birtill, that if I passed my English Literature O Level the job was mine - I failed Grade 9.

I waited for my chance and it came at Red Rose Radio in 1982 when I wrote in a speculative letter about helping cover Rugby League and Rugby Union and as they had nobody in place, was given the job.

Zero radio experience but enthusiastic were my credentials and that was 36 years ago. Since then I have worked on both sides of the microphone and this has helped enormously.

I know what the interviewer wants and I also seem to know the questions I can get away with and push the difficult questions through to get a response.

I recently worked at Rugby League’s Big Bash in Blackpool and helped build the media interest before the weekend as well as helping the journalists attending get the interviews they wanted on the day.

Media is so far advanced than when I started and there are so many channels available. Personally I still prefer printed copy but I am old school.

The world of media is ever evolving but sadly some of the decisions made by the hierarchy in media, especially broadcasting, are baffling to say the least. My view is that every age group should be catered for. Sadly spreadsheets are looked at and if there is a dip in an age group, the media paramedics are sent in to try and fix it.

I have, down the years, worked with many students with plans to get employment in the media. I have lectured the subject and given work experience to many and at the Big Bash in Blackpool, I bumped into four students who all told me they had benefitted from the Swanny Media Experience. When students come for work experience, they work. Not envelope stuffing, brewing up or adding names to an excel data base, it’s work experience. One lad came to Sale Sharks and his first role was to interview Danny Cipriani for the website, programme, press release and social media. He was magnificent and wrote the perfect piece of work. He now works for the Sunday Times and interviews top sporting men and women for the paper.

I told the guests at the Sporting Memories that I am now driven, at 62, into putting as much back into media as I have had out and want to pass on all my skills (good ones) on to young aspiring students so they can use them.

Some skills I have, I fined tuned myself, and others were given to me by people like the late Keith Macklin, who at Red Rose Radio taught me how to do commentary on sports games.

I do however get frustrated when students I have helped call me or email me to say that their place of work has changed their policy completely although it seemed to be doing well. Ever heard the expression ‘If it’s not broke, don’t fix it’?

Things in media as in most walks of life have a habit of going full circle and my advice is go along with the proposed and implemented change but NEVER lose your own identity.