Tag Archives: effect

Huffington Post: ‘Close the J-Schools’

“Journalism is not a profession like engineering, medicine or even law. You can pick up most media skills on the job, or with a few hours of instruction. If you screw up, nobody dies, and nothing collapses. This is why so many – perhaps most – journalism pros have built successful careers without touching J-school, and why many of them considered a J-degree a dubious credential even in the field’s heyday,” writes Richard Sine.

Journalism school deans should cut their intakes to avoid flooding the industry with graduates, who will be eager to take on the role of laid-off staff, for lower pay, he adds.

Full post at this link…

TM Birmingham chapels’ motion of no confidence

The National Union of Journalists announced today that its members at Trinity Mirror in Birmingham have ‘unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in the company’s management of its regional titles.’

The motion was agreed by the chapels from the Birmingham Post, Mail, Sunday Mercury and Midlands Weekly Media, it said in a release.

“The big newspaper companies are following a policy of slash and burn – and the people who work there have had enough,” said Chris Morley, NUJ Northern organiser and a former father of the Post and Mail chapel.

“Trinity Mirror would rather close titles than put them up for sale – giving them the chance to survive under another owner.

“The Walsall Observer used to sell more than 30,000 copies a week. It is a much-loved local institution.”

NUJ members at the Birmingham titles are currently balloting for action, following the announcement of  job cuts and closure of weekly titles.

At the weekend, the Financial Times reported that the Birmingham post might soon cease daily publication.

Here’s the statement in full.

The chapels sent this letter to Trinity Mirror chief executive Sly Bailey:

Dear Ms Bailey,

The Birmingham and Midlands NUJ Chapels find ourselves in dispute with the company over cuts and redundancies.

Regretfully the unanimous view of members is that while some difficulties are expected in a recession, the successive assaults on this business goes way beyond that and in fact continue a trend of cutbacks which began long before the economic downturn.

Therefore the BPM Media and Midlands Weekly Media chapels have unanimously backed a proposal from the floor for a vote of no confidence in Trinity Mirror’s management of its regional titles.

The motion, which will be issued to the newspaper trade media, states:

“Journalists, already having recently suffered a major round of redundancies. massive structural change and being the testing ground for new, unproven IT systems, have responded to these greater workloads and longer hours, with professionalism and much good will to ensure deadlines are met and quality is maintained.

“This has been thrown back in their faces and they have been betrayed by a management with a single aim – the pursuit of short term profit through cost reduction, asset sale and redundancy. This one-trick pony has no plan for the future and no concept of how to grow the local news, advertising and publishing business.

“Under this management we fear that within a few years there will be no Birmingham Post, Mail, Mercury and weeklies. Titles which have served communities and made profits for decades in the face of recession, depression, war, the advent of radio, television and recently the internet, are either being closed now or are in immediate danger if the present policy of cut, cut, cut continues.

“The company has accused the union of ignoring the disputes procedure in immediately calling a ballot for industrial action in the face of these cuts. However, the company broke its agreements with the recognised unions in imposing a pay freeze without negotiation or consultation at the start of this year.

“We believe closing titles such as the Walsall Observer, which has been published for more than 150 years, and proposals we believe are being considered to cut publication of the Birmingham Post and stop same day publication of the Birmingham Mail are reckless and negligent as it sends out the message that this company is failing and will scare advertisers away.”

Graduate jobs now get 48 applications each on average – what does this mean for journalism students?

Graduates jobs have plummeted by 24.9 per cent, and of the jobs that were available 25 per cent received between 1,001 and 2,500 applications, according to a survey released by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) this week.

Nearly half of employers received more than 50 applications for every graduate job, and the fiercest competition was in banking or financial services, investment banking, retail, engineering and the industrial sector.

The number of jobs cut was far worse than anticipated by recruiters, who had predicted just a 5.4 per cent drop in a February survey by the AGR.

More employers than ever are insisting on online-only applications this year (81 per cent) and the competition seems to have brought out the best in many graduates – 40 per cent of employers reported an improvement in the quality of applications.

According to the AGR, graduate recruitment in the media industry was not covered by the survey, because it is too small.

Indeed in April we reported that the Press Association had cancelled its graduate training scheme for the year.

The Telegraph Media Group and the Guardian have both suspended their training schemes for 2009 too
.

Last year Trinity Mirror, once one of biggest recruiters of trainee journalists, imposed a recruitment freeze and suspended its training scheme for its national Mirror Group titles.

Other national titles are taking on smaller numbers of trainees, including the Daily Mail, the Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun.

The BBC is still running its annual journalism training scheme which launched in 2007.

But it would be interesting to compare the application rates to journalism graduate schemes with other sectors.

Particularly in light of the fact that applications to journalism degree courses were up 24 per cent this year, UCAS data released in February suggested, despite a scarcity of media jobs and experienced, out-of-work journalists are ramping up the competition.

What kind of response to entry-level/graduate jobs are you getting?

FT.com: BBC pay freeze for 400 most senior employees

“The BBC froze the pay of its 400 most senior employees – from the director-general to the heads of production divisions – for 18 months and suspended its bonus scheme as it sought to fill a £450m ($639m) funding shortfall by 2013,” the Financial Times reports. Full story…

Hurricane twitterer Mark Mayhew on rebuilding after Ike and Gustav

Mark Mayhew, who used microblogging service Twitter to update from New Orleans as Hurricane Gustav hit, is using a range of multimedia tools to document efforts to rebuild towns and cities affected by Gustav and Hurricane Ike.

Starting with Twitter again, Mayhew has set up the @RebuildHouston channel to update on the recovery efforts in the Galveston and Houston area. He’ll also be posting longer reports, videos and photos to CNN’s iReport site.

“I’m leaving New Orleans as part of a two person crew who has a van that is “locked and loaded” (my associate’s term) and should be arriving in Houston on Monday morning. We have stockpiled food, tools and we have an EVDO-enabled laptop with a digital camera (that can shoot vid as well,” writes Mayhew on iReport.

Mayhew hopes local journalists will get involved with his coverage, creating a ‘collaborative journalism’ project.

He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty either – posting the following ad for ‘”pay what you want” clean up/home repair/property management’ on Craigslist:

Hurricane Gustav hits online media

Hurricane Gustav, which according to Breaking News Twitter reached the coast of Louisiana at 11.19am (BST) today, is being avidly blogged, twittered and mapped by US news organisations online.

The Houston Chronicle has set up a special section of its site – Hurricane Central – to cover the storm, featuring live radar maps of its progress, forecasts of the storm’s path and related news stories.

The Chronicle has also created a guide for readers on how to prepare for the hurricane when it hits.

Kansas City’s KCTV5.com is mapping Gustav with its interactive Hurricane Tracker, which allows users to compare and contrast past storms in the US.

KCTV5 is also streaming live footage from cameras located on the US coast.

Elsewhere intern with the Knox News Sentinel, Willow Nero, is blogging from New Orleans’ airport as she tries to catch a flight to Paris (thanks to Jack Lail for the tip);

A quick search for New Orleans on Twitter Local shows a wealth of residents using the microblogging service to update on their evacuation or as they sit out the storm.

Mark Mayhew, twittering from 932 Bourbon St, New Orleans, is using the service to update followers from the ground:

Weberence has created a round-up of twitterers affected by the hurricane giving a highly personalised account of the storm; while a Twitter account set up as the American Red Cross is giving followers up-to-the-minute details of evacuation procedures and safety information.