Broadcaster and media studies pioneer;
Born: June 8, 1936; Died: June 6, 2012.
Norman Shannon, who helped develop media studies from a near-standing start in Scotland to the burgeoning university-based industry it is today, has died, two days short of his 76th birthday.
Born in Maryhill, the son of an electrician, like many bright working class boys of the period he was awarded a scholarship to Allan Glen's School. A degree in history and economics from Glasgow University followed.
Denied national service due to weak ankles, he spent two years working as a teacher in Coatbridge. He was then engaged as a time and motion inspector by an American company with a factory in Greenock. This was followed by the job that changed his life. He found his true vocation in the world of 1960s broadcast television.
Starting in the press office at Scottish Television (where he also met his future wife, Yvonne, nee Beveridge) he was in the right place at the right time as the programme department expanded.
His broadcasting career began with an extended period of service on the popular nightly news programme Here and Now, presented by Bill Tennant. After a few years, in search of a change, he switched his allegiance to religion and schools.
The juxtaposition of religion and schools might be considered unthinkable today. Then its remit stretched from church services to Cartoon Cavalcade. Mr Shannon worked extensively in studio, outside broadcasts and film.
This was a period when the swiftly developing broadcast industry suffered from strict demarcation rules agreed by ITV and trade unions, such as the National Union of Journalists and the Association of Cinematograph Television and Allied Technicians whose interests frequently collided, occasionally with consequences for all concerned. Conversely, at a time when only two channels were on offer, anyone fortunate enough to obtain a place on the inside, especially with one of the dozen or more ITV companies which existed, was well-placed to learn about programme-making.
Mr Shannon was among those with the good sense to take advantage of a unique opportunity. He was also long-sighted enough to visualise a time when the industry would be required to introduce different methods of training. It was this belief that took him to Jordanhill College of Education.
Starting in 1969 he helped introduce a number of courses aimed at training teachers in television production. At the very least, with Mr Shannon providing advice and guidance based on wide practical experience, Jordanhill helped pioneer the wide variety of media studies courses which exist today.
Following his retirement, he continued as a film-maker in his own right, encouraging and helping others with an interest in film through the Action Film Society. As a member of the First Glasgow Company of the Boys' Brigade, founded in the North Woodside Hall by Sir William Smith in 1883, he was a lifelong supporter of the BB. He played golf, enjoyed cricket on television and took an interest in rugby and football; together with international politics which he followed closely through the pages of world newspapers, brought to him courtesy of the internet.
He is survived by his wife Yvonne Beveridge, with whom he had three children, Mhairi who predeceased him in 2010, Andrew and Fiona.
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