Paxman slates media careers in OU guide

first_imgJeremy Paxman, veteranpresenter of BBC’s Newsnight and an eminent, if abrasive, character among themedia’s great and good, has warned Oxfordstudents away from a media career in the introduction to the latest univer­sitycareer guide.Inhis email to the publication, Paxman branded the media as “un­derpaid andoversubscribed” and ad­vised those thinking about a career in the industry todo something “worth­while” with their lives. He warns that otherwise, they mayfind they have “no career prospects beyond the age of forty.”Theguide, written by both Ox­ford and Cambridge student unions,asked Paxman to contribute to its section on careers in the media. Hisvitriolic response said that he could see “absolutely no point at all” in ahandbook that gives any prominence to a career in the media. He claimed thattelevision is dominated by “su­perannuated Marxists” and that “some newspapersare no better”. “Forheaven’s sake,” the graduate and honorary Fellow of Oxford’s St Edmund Hallcontin­ued, “steer the students of Oxbridge away from the media: there are fartoo many people clamouring to get in. If they’re successful, most will findthemselves producing garbage for cynics who think the only way to advance is topander to the lowest common denominator.”Paxman’scomments then appeared in the foreword of the twenty-sixth annual edition ofthe publication, which was distributed to undergradu­ates last week.Theguide’s editors, Katrina Beech­ley and James Pallister, said that the aim ofthe handbook is to provide “a broad overview of each of the sectors” forstudents who may be “insecure and anxious about the future”. Mark Calvert,editor of Five News, re­sponded to his comments, saying, “you are good at whatyou do, you can have a long and fulfilling career.” He also pointed out that“it’s a bit rich that he said there were no career pros­pects beyond the age offorty – here’s a man in his fifties still at the top of his game.” Anumber of Oxfordgraduates pursue careers in the media, with lat­est figures showing that 3%enter the media as their first destination after graduation, and many moreentering the industry after some form of fur­ther study. JonathonTheodore, Cherwell Dep­uty Editor, who is considering a career in media,commented “it is a shame that this single opinion has become representative foran entire publica­tion. Whilst a student interested in the media like myselfappreciates the frank honesty of a highly informed source like Jeremy I reallyhope it won’t put people off.”Whenasked whether he had been perturbed by the foreward, he re­sponded “if anything,it has made me want it even more as now realise just how hard will have tofight to beat off the competition, and that will have to be prepared to takethe rough with the smooth in this career.”Theforeword to last year’s guide was written by Prime Minister, and Oxford graduate, TonyBlair. The guide is produced in association with the careers departments ofboth Universities, as well as the Student Unions.ARCHIVE: 6th week MT 2005last_img read more