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Trainee turned media pundit goes back to school

A former regional journalist returned to a university whose opening he covered as a reporter to talk to present students.

Ray Snoddy OBE, who went on to become a broadcaster, author and former media editor at both The Times and Financial Times, gave a lunchtime talk to journalism students at Brunel University in Uxbridge, west London, about his life and career.

Ray trained on the Middlesex Advertiser for two years and covered the opening of Brunel University in 1966, the year he began working at the paper.

He recalled he had heard about the vacancy at the Advertiser, based in Hayes, while working a summer job at the ice-cream shop in nearby Greenford.

Ray Snoddy

“I saw an ad for trainee journalists in Uxbridge, got on the 207 bus and got a job virtually on the spot,” he told the audience.

In the talk, Ray described journalism as “the art of what is possible in a certain given time.”

“If you are a perfectionist, go and become a lawyer. Focus on what is important and get things done quickly. Knock out what the story is and be accurate when doing that,” he told the gathering.

“My advice would be to specialise in one field of journalism. I specialised in media in communication. Now it’s the power of data that is important. If you can specialise in data journalism you are guaranteed a job.”

The university hosts weekly talks on journalism with other speakers including TV presenter Sue Cook and radio presenter Jeremy Vine.