Feb 13 2018

Chris Hogg

Christopher Hogg, Media Arts, was  recently awarded the BBC Podcast of the Year for his podcast Rathband: A Digital Tragedy.

We caught up with him to learn more about what is podcast is about, and how social media skills are necessary to Film and TV and Digital Students, in order for them to build their audience and distribute their films.

1. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your role within Media Arts?

I started as a Teaching Fellow in Media Arts in June last year and taught my first classes in October. My experience comes from 17 years in the digital marketing industry, academia is a new world to me. I feel like I have learnt as much as I can, and now it is time to teach as much as I can. I see a teaching path ahead of me at Royal Holloway, and I am looking forward to it.

2. We hear that you’re creating the first 22-week Creative Social Media Module in the country. Can you tell us a bit more about this?

Facebook is launching a new live channel, Netflix is courting all of Hollywood’s talent. YouTube is investing millions in its army of makers. Snapchat is commission documentaries.  Social media is already an intrinsic part of the media mix. I want students at Royal Holloway, to be way ahead of everyone else. Other colleges have been less quick off the mark. More than that Social Media is how new makers create their fan bases, fund their new projects and finally it will provide the sources of data for them to distribute their own content.  In the future, a producer will create their own BBC1 and ITV through data.

3. Congratulations on being awarded BBC Podcast of the Year for your podcast Rathband: A Digital Tragedy. What does it mean to win this award?

It has been a work in progress for a long time! I have not won anything before and so it is very satisfying INDEED. The script went through many ups and downs, was rejected by a number of large organisations, for being too controversial. It was a minute by minute battle to get it made. In the end, the Arts Council came to the rescue with a £9,000 grant, and we crowdfunded the rest. On an artistic level, I don’t think it could sound any better, and when I had finished it, I had the indescribable feeling that I had completed something that had lasting value.

4. Can you tell us a bit more about the podcast itself and what it’s about?

Rathband is a three-part drama about the last 20 months in the life of a Northern Policeman. PC David Rathband was 43 when he was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat. For an absurd week, he was worldwide news.  Even Gazza turned up to help at the siege of Rothbury with beer and chicken and a fishing rod. At one point ten percent of the British armed forces were in some way involved. Somewhere in this maelstrom, a policeman was shot and Britain changed. This drama freezes this moment. It is like Truman Copote’s ‘In Cold Blood’ but more about Social Media.

5. What do you enjoy doing outside of your work life?

I love writing plays. I get up early and write before coming to work. I am a writer in residence at the amazing Theatre 503, and so I spend time there when I can.  I also love my bike. It takes me to Clapham Junction each day, and until it gets stolen, I will appreciate it. I also like spending time with my wife and son.

6. Who inspires you inside of Royal Holloway? Who inspires you outside of the organisation?

I am inspired by the students. They are so switched on. Last term we were employed by Facebook to help create anti-hate speech narratives, to counter the increase in negative online sentiment of all kinds. We spent a couple of weeks analysing Britain First. We saw how many of their 1.7m followers were fake and had been tricked into clicking on patriotic ww2 videos. Then Trump went and tweeted them. We felt like we were at the centre of what was going on in society. It was thrilling to be working with students during at that time - we all felt it.

Outside, I am mostly inspired by Media Theorist, Douglas Rushkoff. He also appeared in the Rathband podcast as himself.

7. You may have seen our latest recruitment campaign, ‘Find your why’. We are interested to find out what Royal Holloway has helped you to discover about yourself…

I think I’ve found out what it is like to work in a place that cares.  Other academic institutions are not the same. I think Royal Holloway is a really great place to work. That gives me a why. Royal Holloway has a sense of pride that makes you feel you are part of something bigger than yourself.