A degree in politics, coupled with experience of working in the media, has helped Pétur Magnússon to build a career as a national broadcast journalist.
Pétur, from Iceland, was already living in the UK when he decided to enrol onto BU’s BA (Hons) in Politics in 2017. He said: “I had been working for an Icelandic newspaper, and enjoyed writing, but I wanted to gain new experiences and spend time living and studying in an English-speaking country. I was interested in politics but didn’t want to do just any politics degree. What appealed to me about the programme at BU was that there was a close collaboration with the media and communication department and my interest was in how politics and communication intersect. I was given flexibility to pursue the topics I was interested in, which made it so much more relevant and engaging.”
As well as developing his knowledge and academic skills, Pétur was able to build practical experience of the media through extra-curricular activities. He said: “I got involved with the student-run Nerve Media, which gave me my first taste of broadcasting. I also got involved in projects such as the election night coverage in 2019. This meant that when it came to starting work in broadcast media, I could draw on these multimedia skills and have more confidence in my abilities.”
Aside from the practical experiences, Pétur was surprised to find he enjoyed the research, writing and “academic rigour” of the course; so much so that he went on to complete an MSc in Politics and Communication at LSE. He said: “I felt as though there were topics I wanted to explore further, and the Master’s gave me the chance to do that. I hadn’t considered myself academic before starting the degree, but now I have a continued interest in research and my time at BU set me up for that.”
On returning to Iceland, Pétur began work as an advisor for The Icelandic Media Commission. He is now a journalist for RUV, the Icelandic public broadcaster (the country’s equivalent of the BBC) where he specialises in issues relating to politics and technology. He said: “Having a background in politics and communication is beneficial when it comes to covering national and international news, particularly elections, as it gives you an insight into what’s happening. My advice to anyone else wanting to follow a similar path is to make the most of your time studying, pursue the areas that really interest you and find out how you can develop additional skills outside of the core syllabus.”