- Media and Communication - BA (Hons)
After graduating Naomi Fowler used her Media and Communication degree to land a number of positions around the world before setting up in London as a freelance radio producer. She now produces programmes for a range of international broadcasters and enjoys the freedom she has to investigate the stories and issues that interest her in various countries.
I was looking for a media degree with equal weighting of theory and practice and that's what the University offered, unlike any other degree I saw at the time. My studies helped to develop my critical faculties to a very high level and showed me how to apply that on a practical basis in my journalism career. My decision to do my degree was one of the best decisions of my life. I got high-level theory about the media and its practices along with very practical production experience.
The best thing about the university was the intellectual stimulation – the staff and the place in general were really buzzing! The staff were very highly motivated and enthusiastic about what they were teaching, and I felt that straight away. The equipment we had to work with was of a very high standard, and I know that wasn';t the case for people I knew on courses at some other universities. You can't really do any better than getting the chance to produce your own programmes, to make mistakes and learn from them.
Immediately after leaving university, I moved to Spain and worked on a newspaper there for a while, then lived in various countries before becoming manager of a radio station in the middle of a coffee plantation in Costa Rica. That was a fantastic experience, but unfortunately the station was closed down. I then set up as a freelance radio producer.
The first few years were difficult, establishing my reputation and the contacts. You need to be very persistent and be prepared to make sacrifices along the way, but eventually the work started coming in. I now supply programmes to broadcasters worldwide, including the BBC, ABC, Deutsche Welle, the Canadian Broadcasting Company, Radio New Zealand and Radio Netherlands Worldwide. My work is very varied but I do a lot of reports on the environment, sustainability and science, as well as some personal stories. I generally work on my own which means I have to be very self-motivated, but it suits me as I can generally cover what I want – occasionally I've spent time on something that doesn’t interest me, but generally there are so many interesting stories out there, that it’s not a problem.
The industry is changing very quickly and I'm conscious of the need to keep up – I'm still doing the radio work but I'm also developing social networking and podcasting platforms, giving me the opportunity to cover an even wider range of stories, particularly given my knowledge of Latin America which is a very under-reported area in the UK, and I would like to do more collaborative work with people there.
Birmingham City University definitely taught me that there are not only two sides to every story, there are several! It's so important not to see things in black and white. It was a brilliant course and going there was one of the best things I ever did.