An extremely stupid boy

Thursday, 26 March 2009

I was fortunate enough to sit in the same room as Jon Snow last week. The sixty-one year old journalist and news presenter came to Preston to talk to journalism students about career options and the like. The room was rammed with people, something that surprised me slightly as UCLan is well known for it's apathetic nature and lack of interest in anything mildly educational.

His train was late and as I waited, impatiently tapping my biro against my notepad, I actually felt a sense of excitement, this man had changed the face of television news reporting and I imagined he would be able to have an entire lecture theatre in the type of silence that drips with anticipation and belief.

He walked in eventually and, as I expected, held his audience completely captivated for over an hour, with tales of his childhood, great journalistic memories and hopes for the future of an industry, like many others, that has been feeling the pressure of the current economic climate. One thing that really interested me was his experience in Uganda during his gap year, from which he "emerged a radical revolutionary". These kind of tales are so inspiring for a budding journalist on the cusp of a career and fueled a new sense of enthusiasm for me.

He described himself as "an extremely stupid boy" when talking about his early years at a private school and pointed out that he was somewhat of an "accidental journalist" who was a rebel at university and worked in Soho, London with heroin addicts. He made his break in journalism when he wrote about his experiences and sent it to The Guardian, who published it. I think all the journos in the room shared a little of his excitement when he told us the joy he experienced the first time he saw his work in print.

The thing that really shone from Snow's entire persona was his absolute passion for what he does. I could see the fire in his eyes and the enjoyment he found in answering questions from eager students. I could really go on forever about his enthralling charisma and hilarious wit but fear that you may get a little saddened by my deep and pathetic love of this man so will cease my rantings here.

Interesting fact - Jon Snow blogs and twitters! I'll try and get a link up for you soon.


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