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Welcome to Jon Severs - Editor in Chief, Times Educational Supplement, Thursday November 11th 2021


Visit by Jon Severs, Editor-in-Chief of the Times Educational Supplement 

Jon Severs, Editor-in-Chief of the Times Educational Supplement attended the college to talk to students on 11th November about journalism. Jon studied English at University and went on to complete a post-graduate diploma in Journalism.  On graduation, he worked in the industry by freelancing for five years and submitted work to a wide range of publications which, he acknowledged, had prepared him for the future. 

The ‘Media’ 

Jon explained that ‘The Media’ was enormously varied and that, because of the ubiquitous nature of ‘social’ media, an increasingly high percentage of the population now receive their ‘news’ through these platforms.  He made the point that, although publications are financed by business and publishing houses, they have to reflect their audience and therefore the relationship between content and finance is complex. Purchase price of the publication is a relatively minor contribution to revenue and print journalism is becoming increasingly sophisticated in manipulating their readership sales. The relationship between general advertising and ‘clickbait’ revenue could influence the content of the publication. Some publications receive a small sum of the review-related recommendations to purchase and that we should be aware, therefore, that the funding stream could compromise the integrity of the journalism. 

The TES 

Jon reminded his audience that sensationalist and news reporting journalism for the BBC and broadsheets were only one source and that his, trade, journalism served and responded to a specific community, reflecting concerns and addressing policy decisions. The TES employs a legal team to check all items before publication, and he reminded everyone of the need to be aware of defamation and libel law (covered in journalism courses). He also remarked that stories must, inevitably, be factual but that, occasionally, an item may be deigned in the public interest and this would legitimately overlook personal privacy. 

The Future of Journalism 

Jon commented that, because of current communication platforms, there may, in future, be a more direct relationship between the journalist and his/her audience but that this pre-selected limited-content feed and confirmation bias had dangerous implications to factual reporting and society in general.  

Top Tips 

  • Write and keep writing – develop your own style.  Your submissions will be rejected but be tenacious and opinionated. 
  • Find the human impact in any story, if possible, as it engages the reader. 
  • Show initiative – do some independent research and develop your talents. 
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare for every interview individually – find out as much as you can about the publication/University/organisation before your interview. 

The college presented Jon with our Autumn edition of ‘St Dom’s Discovery’ (the student magazine) and thanked him for a very interesting and informative presentation. 

Pauline Byrnand, Librarian