Sean Lafferty was the first of this year’s MA Multimedia Journalism students off the blocks in the race for jobs. Having settled into his new role as Communications Officer with the Yes Scotland campaign, he took time to reflect on how his GCU training prepared him for an exciting year for politics in Scotland.
Sean Lafferty, Yes Scotland
by Sean Lafferty (MA 2012-13)
The clue should be in the name, if you study Multimedia Journalism, you are probably an aspiring journalist.
That isn’t always the case and I suppose it’s a bit like saying if you studied politics, you’re going to become a politician. I studied politics and most recently journalism and I belong to neither of the expected positions.
Some might say that a would-be Communications Officer is best studying public relations. I don’t believe that’s necessarily true, at least not for me anyway. Every single skill that I learned during the MA Multimedia Journalism course is being put to daily use.
As the demands of the journalist have changed over the past decade, similar multimedia requests are being made of those working in communications.
The ‘brass-neck’ or courage needed to do vox-pops never leaves you and puts you in good stead for taking the initiative when it comes to interviewing. It might be surprising, but vox-pops, interviewing, and filming are tasks I do on a near daily basis. I suppose in many ways I am an ‘internal journalist’.
I’m fortunate to work for Yes Scotland and it’s a privilege to be a the forefront of the most important decision Scotland will take in over 300 years. As a result, I’ve interviewed many well-known politicians (including the First Minister twice) and celebrity supporters of independence.
There’s an argument that I could have done it with a smart-phone and without learning the skills of the course but I don’t believe that’s true. It’s important that I give my interviewees a sense of confidence so they know what I’m doing and that they can trust me to help express the campaign’s message.
It takes skill to write a press release. It’s vital that as many details as possible are included in the text or at least the endnotes. The Multimedia Journalism course has helped with that immeasurably and it’s an enjoyable challenge to have your work printed with as few changes as possible.