Journalist and news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy gave a talk in York yesterday as part of a day-long conference about the state of the media.
The conference, titled ‘Publish and be Damned – Media and Identity in the 21st Century’, was hosted by St Peter’s School in York.
The day was aimed at Sixth Form pupils. St Peter’s students were joined by pupils from other York schools, including Huntingdon, Bootham and Pocklington.
Guru-Murthy is one of four speakers who spoke to pupils throughout the day. He posed the question ‘What is Journalism for?’ In answering this question, he said the media must be trusted by viewers and readers and that the media should hold the powerful to account. He explained some of the risks journalists faced, having been in Iraq and Afghanistan last year with security guard protection, but that journalists must remain independent – especially in a conflict zone.
Krishnan also addressed the question of change in the media and explained the importance of Twitter and other social media, most notably in the coverage of the Arab Spring, and its value to journalists in their work.
Ben Fuller, Head of Politics at St Peter’s School, who organised the conference said:
Krishnan was just the right person to start answering the questions we’d posed for the conference about changes in the media. His experiences and insights really helped us understand what goes on behind the scenes in journalism.
Krishnan was joined by St Peter’s alumnus and BBC Sports reporter Katherine Downes. Katherine emphasised the need to be multi-skilled, having started her career at a small commercial radio station before moving on to BBC Brighton. Katherine inspired the Lower Sixth with the opportunities available in the media; they were impressed by how much she has achieved in the ten years since graduating. Summer 2014 is going to be busy for Katherine.
Mr Fuller said:
It’s great to have a former student return to school to show our students some of the exciting opportunities available. We’re grateful Katherine spent the morning here, not only giving her talk but speaking to small groups afterwards.
William Bartlett from the special effects company Framestore was the next speaker. Bartlett not only showed the conference how identity and imagery could be manipulated through the digital work Framestore does in movies and advertising, but also spoke about the importance of the industry. It provides great career opportunities and is worth £3bn GDP to the UK.
Mr Fuller said:
William’s presentation was amazing – peeling back layers of work and revealing some of the clever tricks which go into making ‘Gravity’ and the opening credits of ‘Skyfall’.
The final speaker of the day was another St Peter’s alumnus, Gareth Barlow, a farmer who also has a burgeoning career in the media including appearances on programmes like Countryfile.
Mr Fuller said:
We were delighted to welcome Gareth Barlow back to St Peter’s – at only 23 he’s already achieved so much. Gareth is a great example to our students as to how intelligent use of social media and marketing – as well as a lot of graft – can build a business and a brand.
Throughout the day, pupils had the opportunity to ask questions and to discuss their thoughts within seminar groups.
Guru-Murthy presents the news on Channel 4. His TV career began at the age of eighteen presenting youth television for the BBC. He went on to present, report and produce a variety of programmes, from Newsround to Newsnight. Since joining the Channel 4 News team in 1998 he has reported on big events, from the Omagh bombing and 9/11 to special war coverage and the Mumbai attacks.
The conference was sponsored by The Economist and The European Atlantic Movement.