Industry future hotly debated at Salford International Media Festival

The Labour Party’s policy on the BBC licence fee, the need for more programme commissioning and more media investment in the regions, and news of a live Coronation Street episode to celebrate its 60 year anniversary were just a few of the announcements and issues discussed at Salford International Media Festival, which closed on Friday 21 November.

More than 1000 media industry stakeholders, students and academics arrived at MediaCityUK, Salford, for a week of debate and networking at the Challenging Media Landscapes academic conference, the 21st annual Nations & Regions Media Conference, and Next Generation, which together formed the week-long Festival.

As the Festival’s centrepiece, the Nations & Regions Media Conference featured keynotes from Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, Harriet Harman MP; ITV’s Director of Television Peter Fincham; and Steve Morrison, Founder of independent production company all3media and former Chief Executive of Granada plc.

Other session highlights included a lively debate on the future of the licence fee, the serious business of TV and radio comedy with award-winning comedy creators John Lloyd (QI, Blackadder, Spitting Image), Paul Schlesinger and John Morton (Twenty Twelve, W1A), and a discussion of diversity and the representation of minorities in the media and cultural sectors.

An international gathering of researchers attended the The Challenging Media Landscapes academic conference which opened the Festival with a day and a half of leading research presentations on topics such as privacy, surveillance, new media practices, public service media, social media and journalism. Keynote addresses were provided by Professors Milton Mueller (Syracuse University, USA) and Katharine Sarikakis (University of Vienna).

Following the Nations & Regions Media Conference, the Next Generation element of the Festival comprised a two-day series of masterclasses, panel debates, workshops and seminars offering students from Salford and further afield unrivalled opportunities to learn from media practitioners covering TV and radio production, film, animation, journalism and new technologies.

A session from controversial talk show host Jeremy Kyle, giving a behind-the-scenes view of The Jeremy Kyle Show, topped the Next Generation bill, and students also heard from ITV News’ programme editor, Richard Frediani, discussing citizen journalism and the impact of social media on news reporting; and BBC radio and TV sports journalist Seth Bennett reflecting on a year which included reporting assignments at the Sochi Winter Olympics and the World Cup in Brazil.

There were also talks from Salford alumni who have made successful careers in the media, including CBBC presenter Katie Thistleton, casting director Lee Mountjoy, and Andrew Jackson, creative director for Raise the Roof Productions.

Professor Seamus Simpson, NARM Content Director and Challenging Media Landscapes Programme Chair, said: "This year’s Festival was an exciting event, with a week packed full of content of the highest quality. With its focus on academic research, the latest trends in the media industries, and the next generation of media talent, we hope that Salford International Media Festival has grown to occupy an essential place in the UK media events calendar."

For more information on the Salford International Media Festival, please contact Ben Cawley (Senior Press & PR Officer) on: b.cawley@salford.ac.uk

To view photos from the Festival, please visit the University of Salford Flickr account: High resolution versions of these images, and a selection of alternative images, can be downloaded from the University of Salford’s Flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/salforduniversity/sets/72157648288415445/