Talk from Steve Cropley

News_04Sep09

Following on from the Coventry Conversation I attended on Wednesday, which I very much enjoyed, I went to the second in the series on Thursday. The talk was from Steve Cropley who is the editor in chief of Autocar. He has been at Haymarket, who produce Autocar, for around 18 years and during that time has won a number of awards for his work and services to motor journalism. He has been described as one of the five most powerful journalists in the world and is very involved in postgraduate study at Coventry Unversity as a visiting professor. Awards include Feature Writer of the Year and four Headlineauto Awards.

I am not a huge car fan but I am one of the many millions who tune into top gear each week. Steve Cropley’s talk was entitled ‘Looking beyond Top Gear’ and it was interesting to hear views about the phenomenon of Top Gear from someone so heavily involved in motoring journalism. Steve Cropley knows Jeremy Clarkson very well and was very complimentary about a lot of the work that the three presenters of Top Gear do. He also emphatically stated that they really do know their stuff and there is a lot of revision and in depth research involved for the three of them to be able to produce such a show. He believes that whilst it has now become predominantly an entertainment programme it is still high quality motoring journalism and the combination of the two is a winning formula the BBC so they work very hard to maintain originality within it.

Other issues raised during the talk were competitiveness in the world of journalism, the environment and what it takes to make it as a journalist. Whilst I was very impressed by the talk and enjoyed most aspects of it I was disappointed with the answer he gave to the question regarding environment and how motoring is affecting global warming, I feel he blustered slightly and never gave a satisfactory answer which appears to be the standard reaction of most motoring journalists or fans. It is worth having a listen (podcast link posted below, search ‘Steve Cropley Coventry’) to his reaction, I was left feeling dissatisfied with the answer he gave.

A key recurring feature in the talk was the topic of competitiveness within the industry, he stressed many times the importance of hard work, perseverance and professionalism. He gave an example of letters that had been written to him by potential employees asking if he would consider them for work experience and his name had been spelt wrong on the letter, this, he made very clear, was totally unacceptable at all levels of journalism – professionalism is key. I believe him and I think it was sound advice to any aspiring journalist, writer or producer.

If you fancy having a listen please CLICK HERE to be taken to Coventry University’s iTunes web page where you can search for the podcast.

My next post will be a short note about the Coventry Conversation with Jon Gaunt the presenter of Sun Radio, it is really worth a listen! As today I will post the podcast link up with it.

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