Coventry Conversation with Steve Cropley

When you think of auto journalism, you think of Top Gear. James May, Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson reviewing cars in a way that entertains their audience; both men and women. However, you don’t actually get much in depth information about the cars.
Automotive journalism goes beyond top gear; Steve Cropley is the editor of Autocar, the oldest magazine in its field running for fifteen years. The magazine is so renowned that even Jeremy Clarkson has applied to be a writer only to be turned down by Steve Cropley.

Although the topic of conversation was “does automotive journalism go beyond top gear?” Steve did not actually talk about automotive journalism for long. He gave small comedic situations that the Top Gear presenters had got themselves into such as James May being fired by his managers. He was in charge of putting an expo together, however he placed loads of ‘sub drops’ in so when they were put together it read ‘this is a load of crap and I hate doing it’.

 Steve spent much of the conversation giving tips to the budding journalists who were listening to his every word; relating it to topics such as work experience, which many of the listeners are due to start next year. Stating that the future of journalism “depends on the energy of young people”; journalism is not gentle on those who don’t do well, you can’t rely on your experience as you are only as good as your last article.

Always think of journalism as a competition, you need everything you can to prepare yourself, simple things as a website. This is crucial as journalism is advancing with speed towards the technological future; more people are reading websites online rather than buy print.

 When going for work experience, be ready to start at the bottom and don’t expect any favours. Steve kept the audiences attention by telling us stories of successful interviews:

Gavin Conway– came in prepared; he had read the magazine with a bucket and sponge. This showed that he had read his magazines and new what he would have to do.
Chris Harris-This candidate showed persistence. He had been hit in the head with a baseball which had affected his eyes; this meant that he had lost his driving licence. This meant that he kept trying; it is qualities like this that Steve looks for in his work experience candidates.

 When it comes to academic capabilities, businesses are looking for shorthand, have great spelling, creative ability and most importantly accuracy.

 As Steve left, students were left noisily discussing Steve’s offer of work experience. With his light delivery and smart mannerisms, Steve kept the whole audience captivated from the beginning to the end.


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