In My Opinion: Andrew Lawton: The journey from student media into the professional industry

FRESHERS’ weeks at universities all over Scotland have been in full swing, ahead of four years of building experiences, meeting new people and learning new skills. But for some, myself included, those undergraduate years are fast becoming a distant memory as the job hunt begins to really test their resolve.

And the resolve of those looking to break into the media is being tested more than most.

Which is why ten university leavers, including myself, have launched a new website, with a strong ‘tell it how it is’ mantra, as we look to make the move from university degrees and student media to a career in the industry.

The Media Eclectic has been set up by a group who have collectively won 14 national awards for our work in student newspapers, TV and radio.

Just another career advice website? Well, not quite.

The top-down career advice on most websites just doesn’t quite stack up; it’s too general and not relevant to real life experiences in the current media and economic climate.

Some of the advice provided by professionals at the top media outlets in the UK is invaluable and insightful but too often is drowned out by information that is impersonal and doesn’t relate to the majority of young people wanting to break into the business.

The Media Eclectic will run for 12 months, with each of the ten bloggers detailing their successes, trials and tribulations along the way via the medium of written blogs, video, audio and user-interaction.

The media industry is vast and diverse, and hence ‘eclectic’ is a more than appropriate term for a group of graduates looking to break into everything from radio production to political and media consultancy.

As well as recruiting the UK’s best male on-screen student personality and the founders of one of the country’s best student newspapers, we’ve got countless other ex-station managers, editors, producers and presenters: the eclectic nature of the team soon becomes apparent.

A point echoed by Jago Pearson, TME contributor and former award-winning student journalist: “The ten of us all have different skills, ambitions and paths we are taking within the broad career route that is ‘media’. Instead of pretending we know it all, we hope that by telling it how it is during our first year in and around the professional business, we’ll be able to entertain and inform our peers who are looking to do the same.”

And despite having left university and making our way into the real world, we still haven’t forgotten that, like university, life is meant to be enjoyed, a point contributor Connor Pearce, former manager of his student television station, has been keen to emphasise: “It won’t all be serious. There will be some laughs along the way. We’ll inevitably mess up, but our readers should relate to that. We aim to just cut out the irrelevant general advice and really tell it how it is in a way our peers can understand.”

With ups and downs unavoidable as we look to make our way into the media industry, TME is set to be not only an informative and entertaining read for fellow young people looking to get a ‘foot through the door’, but also a refreshing insight into the struggles and successes of the next generation for those with a few more years experience.

Andrew Lawton is a co-founder of He is a graduate from Loughborough University and is a freelance journalist.