BY EMILY HOGG
After being introduced to the media and journalism students, Gary began to deliver his insight into the evolving media from the perspective of someone who has been in the public eye for a number of years. Gary immediately described the shifts in media as “enormous”. Reflecting on his time as a Manchester United player, he spoke about how instead of controlling what they put into the media, the media determined what they wanted to put into the media – regardless of how factually correct it was. The largest shift, in his opinion, was introduced when phones grew hugely in popularity. This meant that news became more widely accessible, allowing for more coverage. Using the example of Teletext in comparison with instant score updates through phones, it became hugely apparent that the way in which the media now operates is completely different.
Looking specifically into journalism, Gary explained his views on how the changing media has negatively impacted journalism. Over the past 15 years, the emphasis on mass media production and coverage has forced an emphasis on quantity of production rather than ensuring quality journalism. Gary claimed that he now has to “dig deep” to find quality journalism, as opposed to when he was writing for the Telegraph and he would have a week to ensure that what went to print was nothing but quality. Although he recognises that there are many positives to the mass media, he also highlighted the worst of the media.
The rise in mobile phone popularity has seen a huge shift in the way that companies and celebrities have to utilise the media. As phones make news much more accessible than other forms of media, such as the print press, companies have had to move their focus to phones. Sky Sports was the example to show this. Sky Sports had previously been TV based, but now there are multiple Twitter pages that have all attracted a large following. The accessibility of applications such as Twitter have been hugely beneficial to companies in relation to engaging with their target audiences. For celebrities, it has opened opportunities for them to control their own promotions. UA92 is a prime example of the benefits of social media for celebrities. Due to the huge following of its founders including Gary – who currently has 4.2 million Twitter followers – UA92 has been well publicised, meaning that it has ultimately attracted students.
After speaking to football legend Gary Neville, the UA92 media, communications and journalism students gained a great insight into the world of the changing media. Talking to Gary was hugely beneficial in gaining perspectives from both sides: from being interviewed as a football player to interviewing as a pundit. It is evident that the new mass media is here to stay. Journalism must now evolve in order to keep up with the current levels of accessibility. The importance of upholding quality within the media could not be more crucial to a credible journalist.