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.

What areas of the media interest you most and why?

After completing the studying the media option in semester 1 I’ve learnt lots about all the different sides to the media industry, I really think there’s something for everyone. Reality TV interests me, how stars are created and how PR plays a role in this. After previously being a music event planner events really interest me too, along with marketing and PR. Consumption, representations in media and radio and popular music are other avenues I’m exploring through my various modules.

What have you enjoyed most about your studies?

Since starting in September I’ve had lots of highlights; designing a website from scratch in new media platforms, organising a music gig for music industries and then creating a PR campaign for WKD in media relations. I’m currently working on a documentary exploring the LGBT community within Birmingham, this is part of our Professional Media Practice module where we have to work in a group on a multimedia festival taking place in May. I can’t wait to see what new and fun experience I have during the rest of this semester and then into year 2.

What does PR and media relations mean to you?

PR and media relations to me means a multitude of things. I think of the scene on Absolutely Fabulous, PR people meeting with journalists in champagne bars. I also think of failing brands being turned around and the public’s perception of them changing. It means promotion, producing stories and basically “creating” news. This could be for a well-known brand such as Coca Cola or a reality TV star launching a new product. Media relations to me also means journalists, contacting them with ideas and being that link between yourself, the journalist and then the client, be that an individual or brand.

How do you plan on progressing with your studies / experience?

At the start of June, I’m visiting a creative marketing and PR agency to undertake a work placement. This is something I’m really looking forward to and I know it will benefit me visiting a professional establish and getting some professional experience. I’ve also started networking much more since starting at university, it made me realise it’s never too early to start making contacts with potential employers and companies. 

I’ve got my own website which will be launching soon which will host my experience and then examples of my work in a portfolio. Studies wise I’ll be carrying on media relations and other different modules throughout year 2.

Which brands do you admire for their approach to press, promotion, social media etc.?

One brand would be Coca Cola, they really seem to have their act together when it comes to the whole PR package! They have good quality social media platforms, brand adverts on TV and are constantly featured in worldwide press. Another reason they do so well is due to the fact they hire well known faces to represent them, Taylor Swift and Holly Willoughby are just two examples of celebrities who have worked on behalf of Coca Cola.

Another brand I’m a huge fan of for their approach to press would be Nike. There probably one of the most well-known sportswear brands in the world, countless celebrities are photographed wearing their gym clothing and shoes, this has just added to the increase in popularity for the brand. They currently have 70 million followers on Instagram and are constantly releasing new adverts and campaigns. A recent example of this would be an equality campaign which promotes fairness and respect not just in sport but in everyday life. “Just Do It” is probably one of the most said slogans, you just won’t forget it.

Favourite campaign to date?

This is such a hard question to answer, there’s been so many amazing campaigns over the years. The Krispy Kreme Nutella campaign where the brand released the newly anticipated flavour was a really effective one, on social media in particular Krispy Kreme got huge attention by teasing the releasing in the weeks prior. That’s just one recent campaign which initially comes to mind, there’s so many others.

Thank you to Jack for sharing his journey as a media student so far. Follow Jack on Twitter and his media blog, Jack Walton Media.

If you would like to feature in a guest interview or write a post for #BCUWeArePR, get in touch.


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