Featured Tutor: Jacqui Swift

Music Journalism

What most excites you about joining the teaching team at BIMM?

It’s an exciting and inspiring place and I’m enjoying working alongside colleagues and sharing my experience of teaching and journalism with a lucky bunch of students.

Briefly discuss your experience?

I studied Politics at Loughborough University but knew I wanted to work in music and entertainment, so after doing a Journalism Post Grad, I left for London and was lucky to get what today would be classed as an internship at More! Magazine. Before long I was working at Smash Hits, which was like a dream come true. Then for the last 17 years I’ve worked across such titles as Melody Maker, TV Hits, Worldpop, CD: UK, The Jo Whiley Show and The Sun’s (award-winning) Something For The Weekend music section for which I still write and interview for. I’ve also taught NCTJ, BTec and degree level of journalism.

Where did you train to become a journalist?

In Preston at the University of Central Lancashire. That’s when I knew I wanted to focus on music and entertainment. A friend got work experience with a local paper, following sheep dog trials, which made me realise I didn’t want to follow news. So I badgered the Manchester Evening News – who sent me out to cover a music week event – and ended up at a party with members of The Stone Roses. I then thought, “this is the job for me!”

Is this your dream job?

Yes, it is – alongside my writing job. I enjoy helping students reach their goals and achieve their dreams like I did with mine. Though I wish there’d been an institution like BIMM to study at when I was 18.

What can the first year of BIMM Music Journalism students expect?

Lots of hard work but also fun. Enjoying the course brings out the best in students and we are a tight-knit team who bring in lots of experience and anecdotes to inspire the students. They don’t know how lucky they are!

What are you listening to at the moment?

The new albums by New Order and Lana del Rey.

Most memorable interview?

I always enjoy interviewing Noel Gallagher as he’s so funny and quotable and therefore makes my job easier. I interviewed Stevie Nicks once and her dog bit me, but the most memorable one was with Kanye West, who ate chicken legs with his mouth open throughout our interview so I was trying not to be sick every time I asked a question!

Can you remember any funny experience as a music journalist?

Interviewing Sir Paul McCartney in Glasgow. It was Father’s Day so I took my dad to see his show, and also meet Paul briefly. My dad likes to talk, so after saying hello, they sat there chatting away about the old clubs and gigs they both went to when they were young. I had to practically drag my dad out. But during the show Paul came down to my dad and asked if he having a great Father’s Day – every bad point I’d scored as a child was then wiped clean!

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