Tag Archives: Coventry

Afghanistan: are we embedding the truth?

Alex Thomson (Channel 4), Stuart Ramsey (Sky News) and Jonathan Marcus (BBC) have all been confirmed as speakers for this week’s conference on journalism from Afghanistan.

As previously reported on Journalism.co.uk, along with the BBC College of Journalism, we are supporting the afternoon event at Coventry University next Thursday (18 March), which asks: “Afghanistan: are we embedding the truth?”

Conference organiser John Mair said he is “delighted to be co-operating with the BBC College of Journalism – the new kid on the J block in Britain”.

“The time is long overdue to closely examine and debate the British media coverage of the Afghan war – this is the forum. Come along or follow the webcast live.”

Journalism.co.uk will livestream video and tweets from the conference from our site. For followers on Twitter, the tag will be #afghancov.

The conference will take place on Thursday 18, at 1pm – 4pm in the Humber Theatre, Coventry University.

The line-up in full, below:

Coventry Telegraph editor promises digital fireworks

Darren Parkin is, at 37, one of the youngest editors in the history of the Coventry Telegraph. But he is determined not to be the last captain of this mini-flagship of the Trinity Mirror empire whose alumni include Jeremy Vine of the BBC and Dermot Murnaghan of Sky News.

Parkin took over the Telegraph ship in a storm last November. He was the third in a year and the third to come and address the Midland’s major media forum – the Coventry Conversations at Coventry University. He attracted a packed house last Friday.

Fortunately for him, he is of a cheery disposition and refused to be downhearted by the task of turning round rapidly declining advertising, declining sales and fewer journalists. He advised the (student) journalists manqué too not be downhearted at the state of the industry either.

They had to learn that they were entering a rapidly changing industry and one in which multi-platform skills were at a premium. It was adapt or die, in his view. But the core journalistic skills of finding, researching and writing  were still vital even if complemented by the newer web based ones.

Parkin announced the launch of a unique internship scheme brokered with Coventry’s Journalism department. Four desks in the Telegraph newsroom will be set aside for Cov university students to be interns three days a week. Seven had already applied. As for his plans for the paper, Parkin said he was planning some fireworks for the Telegraph website with “one of two things that will make other newspapers very jealous”.

He hoped these would be available later in the year but refused, despite being pressed, to give any more detail. As for local news partnerships, he was willing to join in with the likes of BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and did not regard the broadcaster as an enemy “as at least one of my predecessors did”.

The Telegraph like other local papers, he said, needed to reconnect to the audience and do that through any platforms available. He would be encouraging his journalists to once more become active members and the scribes of their community.

Parkin started his career as a Youth Training Scheme intern on the Dewsbury Reporter 20 years ago, paid a pittance by the state. Since he has been Young Journalist of the year three times, a chief reporter on the Solihull Times and at 24, Britain’s youngest editor – of the Wolverhampton News.

Since 2005, he had been editor in chief of the well-regarded weeklies division of Coventry Newspapers. He will need all this experience if he is to guide the good ship Coventry Telegraph away from the rocks of media failure and on to a bright future – or any future.

John Mair is senior broadcasting lecturer at Coventry University and producer of the Coventry Conversations series. 

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Audio: Alan Rusbridger on pay walls

The audio is now available for Alan Rusbridger’s appearance at Coventry University last week. It’s a little patchy in quality but worth a listen for his comments in full: http://podcasting.services.coventry.ac.uk/podcasting/index.php?id=298

As reported by Marc Johnson for Journalism.co.uk, the Guardian editor expressed optimism about the future of the newspaper last Friday, despite reported losses of up to £100,000 per day late last year:

Speaking at this year’s second Coventry Conversation talk, run by the Coventry University journalism department, Rusbridger said that despite significant losses the Guardian had no plans to put up pay walls.

Discussing Rupert Murdoch’s plans to charge for News International’s online content, Rusbridger said: “It would be crazy if we were to all jump behind a pay wall and imagine that would solve things.” He conceded that, whilst pay walls are unlikely to be erected around Guardian.co.uk, it was good that journalism was “trying different things.”

Is there life after a journalism course? The Coventry Class of 2009 – James Robinson

At the end of the academic year John Mair, senior lecturer in broadcasting at Coventry University, asked just what would happen to his undergraduate journalism class of 2009. In the face of the biggest media recession for many a generation where do they go? Is there life after a journalism course? A few months on, we are re-visiting the students.

James Robinson graduated this summer with a degree in journalism and media and is now pursuing a career in PR.

After graduating with a degree in journalism and media this summer, it quickly hit me that a career in ‘journalism’ wasn’t for me. A wasted three years? No. The skills I learnt have helped me embark on the career in PR and Comms that I wanted to pursue.

With the huge financial debt hovering over every recent graduate, the initial hunt is for a job that pays.  Well, this is not easy, especially in the economic downturn which is still causing havoc across all industries.

The searching is generally the easy bit. Trying to stand out on a piece of paper is really tough and doing enough to secure an interview is near on impossible. I boast an e-mail inbox that has 48 ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letters of reply.

It’s safe to say that it became a demoralising task. Knowing that you put in three years of hard work and then there is nothing for you to do after, was tough both emotionally and financially for me.

I then decided that the relevant work experience I had might not be sufficient for a permanent job in journalism. I then starting researching internships in PR. This proved more fruitful: companies suddenly began to notice me and actually invite me in to meet them. After searching, applying and the odd interview my dream opportunity in PR and Comms suddenly arrived.

In the space of two weeks, I applied, had an interview and was offered a position as communications assistant at the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust. This six month internship, already over a month in, has given me the opportunity to show the organisational skills I already obtained from my time at Coventry University.

My job, which I am thoroughly enjoying, consists of many PR and Comms tasks: writing press releases on different events that either the Trust or Dame Kelly have attended and ringing up journalists to ask them about a story or event we are holding and if they would like to come and write a feature.

Working for the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust has sent me all across country: Bognor Regis, Manchester, Portsmouth, Liverpool. And the list is growing.

My main project at the moment is organising the entire local and national PR for our Charity Runners who are running in the Great South Run in Portsmouth at the end of October. We have nine runners taking part and my job is to create local and national ‘buzz’ around them.

I think taking this internship was the perfect opportunity for me. I will gain experience in working for a high profile figure like Dame Kelly, learn valuable PR and Comms skills that will set me up, for what will hopefully be a rewarding career.

James Robinson can be contacted via kcr [at] dkhlegacytrust.org

MediaGuardian: Trinity Mirror announces redundancies for all 300 editorial staff in Midlands

According to the Guardian, all 300 editorial staff at Trinity Mirror’s Midlands titles have been made redundant and are being asked to reapply for new roles.

The mass restructuring of editorial staff will pave the way for the integration of multimedia, production and news desks across Trinity’s titles in the region.

A central multimedia desk will be created to take control of editorial content for the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post and Sunday Mercury with particular responsibility for online platforms.

A similar hub will be developed to produce content for its Coventry-based titles, while a regional production unit will oversee the multimedia desks’ work.

In addition a new work process of ‘content creation, multimedia desk, page finishing’ will be implemented.

Yesterday Trinity Mirror said the changes would require ‘substantially fewer journalists’ and the publisher has entered into a consultation process with the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

“Whatever the company may claim, you simply can’t take dozens of journalists out of your local operations and continue to report news to the same standard. Bosses at the company are sacrificing quality journalism to appease the short-term whims of the financial markets,” said Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, in response to yesterday’s announcement.