Steve Cropley: Your future’s in safe hands

ONE OF the most prolific and revered motoring journalists in the UK has told students from Coventry University they should have every confidence of finding media employment after graduation.Steve Cropley, the editor-in-chief of weekly car magazine, Autocar, spoke of the growing trend amongst publishing companies to recruit applicants based solely on their success and merit.

He made the comments as guest speaker at the weekly media lecture, Coventry Conversations, alongside journalism lecturer and event anchor, Andrew Noakes.

Cropley said: “If you are successful with a job application – and there are 3 or 4 years of research to suggest that University is working for you – then over time you could find yourself with a responsible and well-paid job.”

The fundamental aspect of working in the media at any level according to Cropley is the individual’s motivation to learn as they earn.  Based on personal experiences, he said this was only possible if people can accept criticism voiced at them by work colleagues and readers.

“You need to have the same views as those people reading the magazine, and you must be able to work for the reader and deliver them to the very last line.  That’s the nature of the job, but in order to do that, you must be able to take on-board any advice given to you.”

Cropley emphasised the importance of junior reporters identifying clear objectives and remaining mindful that fulfilment of these would require hard work in order to become proficient and respected in their working role.

He also acknowledged the fact that all new recruits are expected to perform and add value to any magazine team from day one, particularly in today’s rapidly-developing news environment.

“You will be listened to as long as you are doing a ‘good job’.  Everything happens so quickly in the news and that means you have to learn to do things at a faster pace so that as a team, we all do our bit to make the publication happen.”

He added: “The relationship with the reader is very endearing in journalism, but the only way you can achieve that is by understanding the reader and sharing their enthusiasm.

“The reader wants to be there with you at that moment in time as they are reading your article, and to be as close to the motor industry as you can possibly take them.”

It was Cropley and the Head of Transport Design, David Browne, who inspired the MA course in Automotive Journalism at Coventry University in 2004.  Since then, it has gained a reputation as the very best in the UK.

Previous MA students who studied at Coventry University and have since found employment include, Jack Rix (Auto Express), Rosie McMahon (WhatCar?) and Owen Ready (SKY Motoring), and Sean Moriarty (Motorsport News).

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