TIPS: To make it in the media industry, be open, humble and always willing to change, an industry leader tells a group of attentive students.
The audience of more than 200 comprised mainly undergraduates from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)’s Faculty of Communications and Media Studies.
The speaker was none other than Seelan Paul, Media Prima Bhd chief executive officer for radio networks and chief operating officer for TV Networks.
Seelan shared his experiences working in the media industry and shed some light on what it would be like to work for a thriving media corporation, along with some tips and advice on making it in the industry.
Over an address accompanied by pertinent short videos, Seelan’s main points were that change has to come from within, life is what we make it, and never to give up but always keep trying.
He cited the example of Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs but triumphed over his circumstances.
“It’s your life, you write your own future,” he said.
Seelan hoped his sharing served as a reminder to the students that while everyone faces challenges, the outcome is determined by each person’s own response.
“Always remember that crisis IS opportunity,” he said in response to a question on crises that he had faced.
To another question about overcoming setbacks, Seelan gave the example of the time when his first business venture failed to take off due to his inexperience.
“I ended up buying lots of business books to read for knowledge and inspiration,” he said.
“Making a mistake is not necessarily a bad thing, but we should learn from our setbacks and not repeat the same mistake after that.”
On what advice he would give to those interested in a broadcasting career, Seelan said: “Cultivate an inquiring mind, pick up useful skills, be open to new ideas and stay humble.”
One student who asked about being a deejay was told that a successful deejay would need to build and maintain a personality not just while on the air, but as an all-rounder.
“Never neglect your fans and followers who helped in your success, and always be positive in your approach and attitude.”
On competition in the industry, Seelan acknowledged the need to be relevant in the face of new developments.
“On TV, it’s all about content, and the station needs to deliver fantastic programmes to get more viewership and ad revenue,” he said.
“Radio is now more about personalities; anybody can play popular music, but the talent for hosting cannot be replicated.”
UiTM Faculty of Communication and Media Studies dean Professor Dr Azizul Halim Yahya said that the COMMITS, or Communication and Media Industry Talk Series, that was primarily intended for second and final year students, was also useful for lecturers to be updated on industry standards to stay relevant.
Seelan’s presentation was the first COMMITS session serving to provide a platform for engagement between the faculty and the media industry and community, and to enable students to receive first-hand accounts on the happenings in the media world and hear from the industry experts and key players.
Azizul Halim said that with so many UiTM graduates now working in Media Prima, “we must have done something right”.
He added that in 1972, the university was one of the first in the country to offer studies in communications and broadcasting.
“We make sure our students are well-exposed to industries and receive practical lessons, not just what is taught in theory,” he said.
“Our faculty’s programme structure emphasises a broad exposure to media practices and environment to prepare students to be competent, effective and ethical. This programme in particular addresses such a vision.
“It is important to create linkages with industries as we are committed to providing current and relevant developments from the industry to our students as well as lecturers.”
Azizul Halim added that many alumni over the years have come back to the university to motivate the students by sharing their working experience.
“This is one way for them to give back to the school,” he said.
”As for our long partnering with the media industry, hopefully it will continue to foster positive and beneficial outcomes for both UiTM, specifically our faculty, and for Media Prima.”
After the talk, Seelan visited the university’s radio station Radio UiTM 93.6FM, where he was interviewed on the air by Sty Deyanasuhailah aka DJ Nana, a broadcasting student in her first year.
O. C. YEOH | email@example.com New Straits Times Learning Curve 25 May 2014