Teaching Theory/Practice: ‘Working in Magazines Podcasts’

As Lecturer in Media Studies in UEA’s Department of Film, Television and Media Studies, one of the modules I convene is ‘Magazines’. It is a theory/practice module, so as well as teaching students academic approaches to the study of magazines it also teaches them the different skills needed to produce them. Before I embarked on my academic career I worked as a magazine editor at British gay culture magazine Attitude, so I am able to draw on 11 years of experience to teach this part of the module. I am also able to draw on a wide network of contacts for the purposes of guest lectures and for a new initiative that I will be introducing to the 2015/2016 version of the module – the ‘Working in Magazines Podcasts’.

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In these podcasts I interview various people about their careers in the magazine industry. Once the 2015/2016 term starts they will be available on Blackboard so students enrolled on the Magazine module can listen to them whenever is convenient. So far there are podcasts with Chris Williams, art director of Britain’s largest circulation magazine – Asos magazine; Colin Crummy, film editor at i-D and celebrity editor at Men’s Health; Frank Strachan, freelance pop stylist and editor of The Most Beautiful Man in The World and Patrick Welch, freelance travel journalist. By September more podcasts will be available including one with Chris Lupton, art director of Empire magazine.

The point of the podcasts is to give students up to date insights into a variety of issues within the rapidly changing magazine industry. Particularly given the transformative effect that digital technologies are having on all forms of print media, academic publishing often finds it difficult to keep up with developments within the magazine sector where little remains the same for more than six months. Those interviewed discuss a range of topics including: the rise of digital, the effect of shrinking magazine budgets since the 2008 financial crisis and the difference between the working conditions of freelancers and permanent staff. They also talk more personally about career highs and lows including interviewing Melissa McCarthy and being mistaken for Uma Thurman by paparazzi in Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont! These issues speak directly to content taught on the Magazines module but also more widely to all types of students thinking about breaking into different sectors within the creative industries.

The ‘Working in Magazines Podcast’ is an ongoing project, the overall goal being to collect a large archive of interviews with interesting people who’ve had successful careers in one of Britain’s most dynamic creative industries.

In the below podcast i-D film editor and Men’s Health celebrity editor Colin Crummy talks about his career:

By Dr Jamie Hakim

Lecturer in Media Studies

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