The media is one of the UK’s most important industries. In 2008 the ‘creative sector’ (which also includes related ﬁelds such as fashion) employed almost two million people across over 150,000 companies. According to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport those companies contributed 5.6 per cent of the UK’s Gross Value Added in 2008, and accounted for exports totalling over £17 billion. Despite the gloom that permeates parts of the industry, it is a fast-growing sector that is covered not just in the media press but in the ﬁnancial press. The media is big business – and media journalism is at its heart business-to-business
journalism; the same as reporting on any other industry – with one key diﬀerence: you are part of the industry on which you are reporting. This ‘embedded’ quality of media reporting is both a strength and a weakness:
on the one hand, you will already be connected to a network of contacts and experts in your ﬁeld; stories surround you. On the other, there is an obvious risk of self-censorship for fear of oﬀending current or potential employers. This is a fear that you should overcome: if you fail to report important stories
through fear, you are not doing your job as a journalist. And if you cannot do that, no one will want to employ you anyway. Potential employers will be more oﬀended by a cowardly journalist than one who has the courage to report an important story. Another weakness of the media reporter is short-sightedness: it is easy to
mistake the media industry for your part of it. The media is not ‘national newspapers’, or magazines; it is not limited to what happens in London, or even the UK. Nor is it merely the creative side of the business – because it is a business. And that business requires not just writers and producers and celebrities, but lawyers and regulators, marketing and PR, printing and distribution, manufacturing and research. Part of your role is to connect those dots, to tell the story of how a regulator’s
decision might aﬀect the day-to-day work of a producer or journalist; to spot manufacturing problems that are likely to cause problems for your readers – and provide others with a new opportunity. And of course you will chronicle the creative successes and failures and celebrity tiﬀs. In short, if it aﬀects your audience or is merely something for them to talk about round the water cooler, it’s news.