Paxman slates media careers in OU guide


Jeremy Paxman, veteran
presenter of BBC’s Newsnight and an eminent, if abrasive, character among the
media’s great and good, has warned Oxford
students away from a media career in the introduction to the latest univer­sity
career guide.In
his email to the publication, Paxman branded the media as “un­derpaid and
oversubscribed” and ad­vised those thinking about a career in the industry to
do something “worth­while” with their lives. He warns that otherwise, they may
find they have “no career prospects beyond the age of forty.”The
guide, written by both Ox­ford and Cambridge student unions,
asked Paxman to contribute to its section on careers in the media. His
vitriolic response said that he could see “absolutely no point at all” in a
handbook that gives any prominence to a career in the media. He claimed that
television is dominated by “su­perannuated Marxists” and that “some newspapers
are no better”. “For
heaven’s sake,” the graduate and honorary Fellow of Oxford’s St Edmund Hall
contin­ued, “steer the students of Oxbridge away from the media: there are far
too many people clamouring to get in. If they’re successful, most will find
themselves producing garbage for cynics who think the only way to advance is to
pander to the lowest common denominator.”Paxman’s
comments then appeared in the foreword of the twenty-sixth annual edition of
the publication, which was distributed to undergradu­ates last week.The
guide’s editors, Katrina Beech­ley and James Pallister, said that the aim of
the handbook is to provide “a broad overview of each of the sectors” for
students who may be “insecure and anxious about the future”. Mark Calvert,
editor of Five News, re­sponded to his comments, saying, “you are good at what
you 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 of
forty – here’s a man in his fifties still at the top of his game.” A
number of Oxford
graduates pursue careers in the media, with lat­est figures showing that 3%
enter the media as their first destination after graduation, and many more
entering the industry after some form of fur­ther study. Jonathon
Theodore, Cherwell Dep­uty Editor, who is considering a career in media,
commented “it is a shame that this single opinion has become representative for
an entire publica­tion. Whilst a student interested in the media like myself
appreciates the frank honesty of a highly informed source like Jeremy I really
hope it won’t put people off.”When
asked 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 to
fight to beat off the competition, and that will have to be prepared to take
the rough with the smooth in this career.”The
foreword to last year’s guide was written by Prime Minister, and Oxford graduate, Tony
Blair. The guide is produced in association with the careers departments of
both Universities, as well as the Student Unions.ARCHIVE: 6th week MT 2005


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here