JULIE ANN NEALEGA
Raymond “Ray” Snoddy is a freelance journalist who writes for various publications, sharing his knowledge, skills, and experiences with aspiring journalists everywhere. Brunel Journalism students were fortunate to attend a lecture from Snoddy, which proved he is still an important figure in British Journalism today.
Snoddy spent the beginning of his career in print journalism at The Middlesex Advertiser before moving to The Oxford Mail, the Financial Times and The Times. Although Snoddy’s journalism career is twice my own age, the tips he has to share are timeless, and are therefore applicable to the budding journalists of today. He states, “A journalist’s work relies on deadlines, getting things done quickly, and focusing on important details” and that enduring the harsh realities of journalism is key in thriving in the field. Snoddy also emphasised that being a journalist is all about dividing your time, reading, writing, and then more reading.
Snoddy also sees an art in journalism, telling us “It is the art of what is possible within the time that is available”. He stressed that timing is essential in journalism and that the fundamental skills journalists are required to have haven’t changed since he began his own career, such as a journalist’s understanding of the most important part of any story.
He also stressed accuracy. During the lecture, Snoddy advised, “Check as many times as possible. Things that go wrong will come back to bite you”: a simple yet important reminder for early career journalists that no matter how pressured we are with deadlines, accuracy is one of the pillars of journalism. In this day and age, finding information about almost everything is easy, and having the entire media available will help journalists to push for precision in reportage. Verifying information easily and quickly nowadays is a big help in journalists.
For an early career journalist, Snoddy’s lecture highlighted the skills and values of a true journalist. His career in journalism is not just measured by longevity but also by quality. Snoddy has learned plenty of moral lessons throughout his career which are such a valuable insight for budding journalists. Snoddy emphasised: “Never give up. If you want to be a journalist, be serious”. This is great advice and is so inspirational, especially when problems arise in the life of a journalist. If you want to be a watchdog or be a part of the fourth estate, you need to want it.