“A pile of sweating jelly…”

November 2nd, 2010

He’s been City Correspondent of The Sunday Telegraph, as well as City Editor, Assistant Editor and Sports Editor of The Sunday Times. He currently presents Jeff Randall Live, a business and politics show on Sky News. He’s also a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and former business editor at BBC News.

No wonder then that many of the questions addressed to alumnus Jeff Randall, the inaugural speaker at the newly-launched Students’ Union Forum, were on journalism. Students sought his opinions on the importance of the independence of student media and the best way to move from print to broadcast journalism.

He advocated radio as the best training ground for the latter. “On radio you need to combine great writing with the quality of projecting a voice and getting the cadences right,” he said.

“Also, you can look like a pile of sweating jelly and nobody can see you.”

Independent media are crucial to holding institutions to account — but they must be accurate and ready to stand by their story, he added. “All institutions should face scrutiny by the media,” he said, “Including the Students’ Union and the University. My view is good luck to the student journalists — if they find something wrong they should expose it.”

He also covered topics relating to his Nottingham degree — economics. The financial crisis, business, tax exiles and politics were broached, along with the recent Browne Review.

He was asked which politicians he admires – and which he doesn’t. Frank Field, MP for Birkenhead, was praised as: “A maverick — he ploughs his own furrow, you can never put him in a box.

”Politicians who aren’t genuine got short shrift, though he recognises that the current political climate isn’t kind to those who don’t toe the party line. Following a question from the floor, Jeff recognised China as a political and economic powerhouse whose infl uence would only grow in the future — with corresponding opportunities for UK graduates.

“If I was looking at starting university now I would come to Nottingham and do Economics with Chinese Studies,” he said. “And if I had the nous I would sign up for a Mandarin course. When I finished, banks and fi nancial institutions would be queuing up to give me a job.”

For more information on the The Students’ Union Forum visit www.su.nottingham.ac.uk or get in touch with Will Bickford Smith at sueducation@nottingham.ac.uk

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