A level Media Studies and Politics students have benefited from the rare opportunity to hear from renowned Political Correspondent and broadcaster, Ava Santina. The Zoom talk, which lasted an hour and included a Q&A session with students, covered topics such as how news stories are selected and created to fit the news agenda of a range of major and alternative news providers, the regulation of the news industry and the symbiotic relationship between journalists and Members of Parliament.

As well as her career highs and successes, which included gaining a job at the popular LBC radio station as a producer working with the likes of Nick Ferrari and James O’Brien, and becoming one of the key figures at alternative news provider Politics Joe, Ava also discussed some of the challenges she has faced during her career as a journalist with a growing public profile. Ava gave students advice on how to build resilience to deal with some of these issues and said that “Completely ignoring some of the more vocal critical voices” has often helped her to get through difficult times.

Ava also shared advice with students about how to begin a career in politics and confirmed that the “most important thing is gaining work experience”, sharing the following link to help students begin their search for fantastic opportunities working for the government: www.w4mpjobs.org

Students found the talk valuable and insightful. Vlad Rabusapca, who studies A level Media Studies, English Language and Modern History, says “The talk reinforced what I want to do, really. It confirmed for me that work experience has to be the number one priority if I want to get in the media industry”. Amelia Aldcoin, who studies A level Business, English Literature and Media Studies, adds “Ava Santina’s approach to the talk was truly motivating and made the event feel more personal. Whilst it was a professional talk, I felt treated like an equal which I believe is something that needs to be promoted more in the media”. Adding what he learned from the event, Kaysan Azam-Mcardle, who studies French, Politics and English Literature said it helped him “To consider ‘culture wars’ through the lens of the media and how government and news providers can use it to their advantage”.

Course Leader for Media Studies, Jodie Freeman, who organised the talk says that “The event was an incredible opportunity for students to hear from a professional and highly influential broadcast journalist, with a wealth of experience in the political and media spheres. Ava’s relatability ensured the students felt comfortable asking drilling questions which she answered with fascinating anecdotes. It is so essential and reassuring for young people to see what can be achieved if the right tenacity and work ethic is applied, and I am certain this talk will be a keystone moment in inspiring the next generation of broadcasters, journalists, civil servants and politicians.”

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