Inspired by Four’s charity arm – Four Good – PR associate Matt Beard recently met with secondary school pupils to talk about his work as a former Olympics correspondent and to provide an overview in to a career in PR. In a lively session on careers in the media, 20 teenagers from King’s School in Winchester fired questions ranging from the phone-hacking scandal, to ethics, to how to get a foot in the door at your local paper.
The hour-long debate at the 1600-pupil comprehensive was organised through the Speakers for Schools charity, which was set up by broadcaster Robert Peston to raise pupils’ aspirations in the state sector. Matt talked to the boys and girls from years 10 and 11 about his two decades’ experience on newspapers, including five years as the Olympics editor of the Evening Standard. What seemed to impress them most was a picture of him on a training run in the Kenyan highlands with Olympic champion Mo Farah as part of a story.
Teacher Emma Rickman said: "Matthew's talk provided pupils with an invaluable insight into the world of journalism and PR, and was an amazing opportunity for them to ask questions about it as a potential career option." Matt said he was impressed by how inquisitive the teenagers were, but he was also struck by the challenge of explaining how public relations worked.
He said: “I wanted to whet their appetites for careers in the media more broadly, including journalism and PR. It’s always a real challenge to explain PR and the many opportunities it offers.”