Middlesex Broadcasting Today

Broadcasting Today – Mary Hockaday


Second year journalism student, Sabrina Prescott-Nelson, gives her take on Middlesex University’s Future of Broadcasting event with head of BBC Newsroom Mary Hockaday.

At a time where the organisation is under scrutiny for its ethics and working practises, Mary Hockaday  came to set the record straight about the BBC and how it aims to fit into the future of broadcasting.

Hockaday started the session with a brief summary of what her job involves on a daily basis – what her priorities are, who she works alongside, how the BBC strikes a balance between old and new media platforms, and finally how they decide what is newsworthy.

The host, Professor Kurt Barling, then asked a series of well planned questions, which allowed Hockaday to speak honestly about the issues we all wanted to hear about. When quizzed on the recent Savile/Newsnight debacle, Hockaday nobly admitted: “The BBC is trying hard to regain the public’s trust after recent scandals, and we are currently implementing a number of strategies to do so”.

She felt trust would be regained through the BBC returning to the standards set by the original architects of the organisation, who believed the role was to “inform, educate and entertain”, although she added her own modern day slant to it, stating that its role has become to “inform, educate and connect” with audience.

When asked about the key skills and attitudes required for up and coming journalists, Hockaday said it came down to “passion, drive, determination, good spelling and a good eye for stories”. She confessed that employment maybe a concern for students, but added: “Don’t be too fussy, any skill is a skill worth having. So learn as many as you can.” She went on to mention various internships the BBC offered and boldly indicated that “internships should be available for all people from all backgrounds, education and skill sets”.

The talk ended with a question and answer session giving students and staff the opportunity to briefly ask any questions they had for Hockaday. As a senior face of the BBC, Hockaday portrayed a softer and more caring side to the organisation. This demonstrated to the audience that the BBC does care about the public and are more dedicated than ever to remain a reliable source of news and information across the world.

By providing a down to earth, yet formal talk, Hockaday offered an informative insight into the competitive and ever evolving broadcast industry. Hearing her speak with such passion and enthusiasm motivated and inspired me to continue seeking work in such a diverse and interesting industry.

The next in the Middlesex Broadcasting will be held on Monday 4th February when Professor Kurt Barling will be in conversation with former war correspondent Martin Bell.

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