Friday, 24 March 2017

Interview with a first year: meet Jack Walton

Every student enters into a media course such as ours with a different focus and sometimes, the chance to explore the breadth of media opens up new opportunities, possibilities and aptitudes. Here we're speaking to current first year Birmingham City University (BA) Media and Communication student Jack Walton about why he won't be worried if he leaves uni doing something different to what he started...

Who are you and where do you come from?

My names Jack Walton, I’m 19 years of age and from a town called Stourbridge. I was actually born in Birmingham but raised in the Black Country.

How is university life treating you?

Wow, where do I start?! I remember visiting this University for my interview just hoping so much I’d get the grades I needed in my final year of College to get onto the media and communication course. This Uni was also my first choice on my application, it worked out so well. I’ve met some amazing people and have become involved with things I previously wouldn’t have considered doing. The new modules have been really interesting. PR was something that I’ve previously had no experience in, but was interested to start my module at the start of this semester. Doing PR this semester has made me realise just how much I enjoy it, I can’t wait to study it further throughout year 2.

Tell us about your studies to date

I’ve actually been on quite a long journey to get here. I previously studied music at College for 3 years, it was such a fun experience. I was a singer and loved performing at different gigs and learning about the music industries. When applying for University I saw the music industries option on the media course and knew it was something I wanted to do. Since then I’ve discovered PR along with event & exhibitions and have fallen in love with both of them. I remember one of the lecturers saying at my interview that if I leave doing something I wasn’t interested in doing to begin with, then they’ve done something right.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Interview with a third year PR student: meet Heather Woodhouse

Ever wondered what it's like to study PR at BCU? Heather Woodhouse is a current third year PR specialist on the BA (Hons) Media and Communication degree course at Birmingham City University.

Here, she shares her journey so far - and how she would tell her first year self to take a big gulp...

Tell us about your studies to date and why you chose your pathway

I’m currently in my final year at University at the height of Dissertation and Final Year Project. I entered first year as a Media and Communications Broad Course student, which essentially means you’re free to pick a variety of modules from loads of strains of Media (PR, Journalism, Events, New Media, TV, Radio). After having a dabble at a few in the first year, I chose to specialise as a PR student at the beginning of my second year, meaning I could develop my PR skills further with specific PR modules.

I was always told by a tutor whilst studying my A-Levels that I’d love PR, when at the time I only had a faint idea about what PR was about. I found it strange how a tutor at the time matched my personality and skills to PR, and how right she was - I love it!

I chose to specialise in PR when arguably I’d still only scratched the surface of what it was all about. My pathway decision was finalised when I did my first PR placement in the summer of my first year and knew it was me. I’ve loved my studies, but nothing has matched the enjoyment and education I’ve gained from work experience placements.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Love your curves?

Gemma Commane is a Lecturer in Media and Communications here at the School of Media, Birmingham City University, and today we have a guest post to share, on the recent Zara 'Love Your Curves' campaign - and the unexpected backlash the brand received

Article featured on Huffington Post.

The recent ‘Love Your Curves’ campaign by Zara has sparked controversy online, all due to ‘skinny’ models being praised by the campaign for their ‘curves.’ Many social commentators on Twitter have pointed out that these curves do not exist on these models, with some seeing the poster as ironic and amusing; whilst others (both women and men alike) have felt outraged by Zara promoting ‘unrealistic’ body images. It is easy to see why the particular image, captured by a Twitter user, has caused such disagreement, especially in light of other campaigns that celebrate women with curves and try to promote positive self-esteem (i.e. the Dove Self-Esteem Project, etc).


Friday, 3 March 2017

You CAN always get what you want...but you have to ask in the right way

Today we have a guest post from Stephen O'Hanlon, Communications and Engagement Service Partner at Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, on why a comms brief shouldn't be pants...

Recently my wife and I have been trying to help our toddler understand that he will get the things he wants if he asks for them properly. Communicating with toddlers can be trying, to say the least! Often he will stroll into the room and just say ‘hungry!’, so we’ve been doing our best to try and correct this and so far, so good.

Similarly, last night he woke up crying but, when we asked what was wrong, he couldn’t articulate what had upset him. “Was it a bad dream? Your tummy? Your head?” all of which was met with more inconsolable wailing.

What, you might ask, does my toddler have to do with communications? Well, simply this: it can be very difficult to second-guess what someone wants if they are unable to articulate it effectively in a way that can be understood.

And so it is when dealing with a client brief: what they had in mind and what they put in the brief can – and often do – vary wildly.

Your briefs can't be pants

Us creative types are just that: creative. We take the brief you give us and turn your vision into reality – so what happens if the end result doesn’t match what you had envisioned? Often this is due to what’s in your head and what’s in the brief not matching. It is important, therefore, to ensure your brief is as strong as possible. If you have specific ideas of how you’d like to see the work completed, be sure to include them, or at least discuss them, to ensure they come to fruition. Be as specific as you can about what you do and do not wish to achieve, or how things should or should not look, or any particular requirements you have. The more robust your brief, the more likely you will get what you need from the process.

Communication should be two-way

Now, it’s not all down to you: it is the job of the creative to ask sufficient, in-depth questions to ensure brief and vision are aligned. Simply taking a brief without question is sure to end in disappointment for all parties: disappointment on behalf of the client because they haven’t gotten what they asked for, and disappointment on behalf of the creative because they feel they’ve worked hard on what was requested, only to be told it’s incorrect.

So, to ensure everyone walks away happy, ensure you have an active dialogue when submitting or accepting a brief. Take opportunities to really sell your idea to each other to try and come to a mutual understanding that makes the work as powerful and engaging as it deserves to be. Trust me; it’ll save a lot of headaches and needless back and forth.

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