Trending on Twitter, live blogging and Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow turning up on the back of a motorbike – the start of Leeds Trinity Journalism Week was fast and furious, reflecting the current state of the industry.
Addressing a packed lecture theatre, Snow was the first in a wide range of media professionals to talk to students and trainee journalists studying at the university.
Snow has reported from most of the world’s trouble spots from central and Latin America to the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Russia. He reported on the freeing of Nelson Mandela, the downing of the Berlin Wall and the Challenger disaster.
He described how former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson inadvertently put his still-lit pipe in his coat pocket during an interview and watched as smoke started to billow out. And he likened interviews with another former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, as a “joust”. “It was a joust you always lost,” he said. “And you were dogmeat at the end of it.”
Snow told the Leeds Trinity audience – largely made up of young people in their late teens and early 20s - about a bygone era of journalism that included wind-up cameras, two-inch wide film, reel-to-reel tape recorders, Telex machines - and it taking three days for news to arrive at a London newsdesk from a foreign assignment. “And using public telephones,” said Snow. “You spent at least an hour looking for a public phone which takes coins you don’t have and then you got through to an exchange which speaks only Flemish. You don’t know how lucky you are today to have mobile phones that do everything.”
He said journalism was entering a golden age where reporters operated in a multi-platform, digital era.
“It’s a communication revelation,” he said. “Journalists need to be able to work across all forms of media. For instance, Twitter is not just about 140 characters, it’s about leading people to amazing things which they would not otherwise have spotted.”
Snow made a flying visit to the university, catching an early train from London - and hitching a ride from Leeds station on the back of Trinity tutor John Poulter's motorbike.
Relive day one from Leeds Trinity Journalism Week with Storify
Catch up with the live photo stream
Jon Snow - Channel 4 News anchor from Leeds Trinity University College on Vimeo.
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