Coventry Conversations has returned this academic year with guest speakers Darren Parkin and Jeremy Pollock, prime examples of what can be achieved in a successful media career. Taking place on September 27th 2011, they spoke about how the world of media and journalism is undergoing a significant change, and how they are the people facing the consequences and pressure of this adjustment.
Mr Parkin, editor of the Coventry Telegraph, described the media as entering the “dawn of a new age” as the internet continues to grow as the world’s primary source of information. Media outlets such as the networking site Twitter are taking over as a tool of communication between the media and the public and for journalists this is a revolutionary practice. Events such as the ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ were first reported not through television or radio but through twitter, sparking a greater interest and connection between the internet and the media. Darren expressed his interest in this way of reporting, but also felt as if the media was at a crossroads as he explained his dilemma of if he should “sacrifice print for internet hits”. The Coventry Telegraph has faced a reduction in newspaper sales of 7%, the online version of the paper has experienced greater traffic causing the paper to look at the way they report their news.
Written by Lauren Ainscough – First Year Student.
Coventry Conversations has seen many Journalists, Sporting managers and Media bosses over the years, and it shall return this year with a large collection of speakers. Below is a calendar of media speakers for Autumn 2011. All Coventry Conversations are free to the public and students and operates on a ‘first come, first served’ policy. Question and answer sessions normally follow the talk, and are open to everyone.
Coventry Conversations - Autumn 2011
Written by Jon Dudley – Student Editor.
Twitter, the website which created the art form of turning peoples opinions and lives into 140 characters of published content, should be recognised by Journalists and other students as a haven for information and advertisement.
As a second year Journalism and Media student myself, I have two main problems with my work – Finding quotes and information, and persuading people to read the fruits of my labour. I am not alone, not within my course and not within Coventry University, as it seems every student that needs to advertise what they have has a difficult task ahead of them. The problem is normally the simple fact that it is difficult to reach a target audience, as I can’t run through the city centre with my articles aloft yelling at people to read what I have, or post up on Facebook what I have achieved. Facebook has an audience, certainly, but friends and family posting that they ‘Like’ what I have written can only get me so far. Twitter, therefore, is the answer.
Writes Jon Dudley…
Many frown upon the ‘prawn sandwich brigade’, especially Roy Keane, who once criticised fans for indulging in beer and prawn sandwiches instead of supporting the team. Commentators are the first to criticise the members of ‘Club Wembley’ who are usually the first ones in and the last ones out at half time, again, indulging in the food and drink that is offered to them. I had never seen what the big deal was about, but after writing to John Mair, a lecturer at Coventry University, he managed to get me an opportunity to give it a try.
The ticket was for 22 February, a Tuesday night game against Swansea City, a team pushing for promotion, either via the two automatic spots or the play-offs. This was my first trip to the Ricoh Arena and I was looking forward to my prawn sandwiches.
Though they weren’t the main event for me, it was indeed the opportunity to sit alongside Bobby Gould, former professional footballer and manager, Roger Monkman, former Coventry Telegraph journalist and Darren Parkin, the current editor of the Coventry Telegraph. Upon entering the box, there was food laid down straight away. No prawn sandwiches unfortunately, but a three-course meal consisting of chicken Caesar salad, lamb shank and a fruit crumble desert. This was all very nice, and much better than the food available at Kiosks up and down the country. Writes Callum Maclean…
Coventry Telegraph editor Darren Parkin spoke of the challenges facing regional newspapers at the Coventry Conversation.
Addressing a mainly student audience at the Herbert Museum, he talked of the uncertain future facing local newspapers and how he began his great journey from tea boy to editor.
Now 39, Parkin went into journalism at the tender age of 18 and became the youngest editor in Britain, at 24, when he was working on local paper, The News of Wolverhampton.
Putting his meteoric rise down to a mixture of hard graft and good old fashioned luck, Parkin’s advice to budding young journalism students was suitably direct for a man that doesn’t waste time pulling his punches: “get yourself noticed and give it 100%. If you put the work in, you’ll get the rewards.”
Launched in 1891 by William Issaac, the Coventry Telegraph has proved its got what it takes to survive the tests of time – even weathering the upheaval of the 1944 Blitz. The building may have been destroyed, but the paper wasn’t – with that evening’s edition appearing on the streets just two hours later than usual, thanks to a relocation to Nuneaton. Writes Philip Shoulder…
Darren Parkin, editor of the Coventry Telegraph, attended Coventry University to speak about the future for newspapers in the current recession.
Newspapers in the UK have recently been suffering and have lost up to 50% of turnover since 2009. This is mainly due to the rising cost of newsprint which has gone up by 20% causing newspapers to have to higher their prices.
The Coventry Telegraph is amongst these with its sales declining by 8.7% in 2010. However, Parkin, very aware of the situation, still promises a future for newspapers. The Coventry Telegraph is still selling around 35,000 copies per day and he is expecting an improvement in 2011. Writes Kirsty Quigley…
You have to be brave or foolhardy to take over as editor of a local newspaper in the current perfect storm. Circulation dropping, advertising plummeting, revenues through the floor. Darren Parkin, the 38-year-old editor of the Coventry Telegraph is not foolhardy. ‘Surviving the perfect storm; One year on’ was the topic of his Coventry Conversation last Friday in the Herbert Art Gallery. Survive he has.
Parkin took over a ship fourteen months ago that was rocking and reeling on the seas of change. The figures were down as everywhere else but worse ‘The Tele’ seemed to have lost touch with the heartbeat of the Coventry community. He spent his first weekend as editor reading, eating and sleeping in the newspaper’s library to see if he could rediscover that Holy Grail. One concrete result is a page each and every week of community news and – in an innovation – much of that is now written by Coventry University’s Journalism students in a real live portfolio project. Writes John Mair…