Tag Archives: Kelvin MacKenzie

Alastair Campbell and Kelvin MacKenzie to speak at HuffPo UK launch

The Huffington Post has announced full details of tomorrow’s UK launch event, which will consist of a panel discussion moderated by Richard Bacon.

Speakers on the night include Alastair Campbell, Kelly Osbourne, Celia Walden, Kelvin MacKenzie, Shami Chakrabarti and Arianna Huffington.

The panel will debate the media’s impact on the Self-Expression Revolution.

Today Huffington Post UK told journalism.co.uk it has more than 300 bloggers signed up for the site, with more expected to sign up after launch.

UK editor-in-chief Carla Buzasi said today: “It’s a really interesting mix of people. Alastair Campbell is blogging for us on day one, and hopefully the others on the panel will be following suit shortly afterwards.”

The event is taking place at the Curzon Millbank, with the panel debate beginning at 7pm. An open invitation has been sent to the site’s bloggers-to-be to attend the launch.

Currently the url huffingtonpost.co.uk is password protected, but will be unveiled and made public this week.

Telegraph: Lawyers apply for access to Sun journalists’ emails and texts

Lawyers acting for a footballer at the centre of a superinjunction have applied for an order to gain access to emails and text messages sent by former editor of the Sun Kelvin Mackenzie and the paper’s employees, the Telegraph reports.

This follows comments made by Mackenzie on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in relation to superinjunctions in general, when he said that when he gets texts asking who the people are – “I always reply who it is”, he said.

All the time I get flooded by readers emails every week asking for the name, and sometimes I give it and sometimes I don’t.

At the time he said he responds “despite the fact I’ve been warned by various judges and lawyers that I face the prospect of contempt of court and the prospect of going to jail”.

In the Telegraph’s report Richard Spearman QC, for News Group, is quoted as saying that the application “was disproportionate”.

“It is a very major incursion into (Sun employees’) rights and News Group as a media organisation,” said Mr Spearman. “It is wholly unprecedented to ask for an order in this way, on the basis of such flimsy evidence and to such a large extent.”

Kelvin MacKenzie: Online makes mockery of super injunctions

Technology is “making fools” of high court judgements in relation to injunctions, according to former editor of the Sun Kelvin Mackenzie.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today on Saturday, reflecting on Andrew Marr’s revelation last week that he had taken out a super-injunction to protect his family’s privacy, Mackenzie said there should not be any such protections afforded.

I am in favour of free speech. We get ourselves in a shocking situation now where there’s a sort of two-track society. There’s those of us who know what the allegations are and all the names of all the famous people, which are basically media folk, and there are the rest of the public who are denied of knowing.

He added that the “explosion” of the online world means allegations are instead just being published on sites based outside the US.

Allegedly intelligent high court judges … have absolutely no common sense on this issue or an understanding of how technology is making fools of their judgements.

Also speaking on the show was Desmond Browne QC, a member of the special committee set up by Lord Neuberger to examine the use of media injunctions by the courts.

I think there’s a substantial difference between someone who knows the name being able to go on Wikipedia, seeing that there has been a redaction and making a conclusion as a result, and something being plastered all over the front page of the Sun or the Daily Mail and I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect the courts to simply give up in the face of something that may be accessible on the web.

On Sunday the Observer published a debate between Max Mosley, the former chief of Formula One who previously won damages of £60,000 from the News of the World for breach of privacy, and John Kampfner, chief executive of Index on Censorship, on the very issue of super-injunctions.

Mosley is currently trying to get the UK law changed in favour of “prior notification” before a newspaper publishes allegations about an individual. Speaking in the debate Kampfner claimed that if Mosley’s law succeeds “it will set back the cause of free speech by decades”.

Read the full debate here…

Kelvin MacKenzie sparks big debate on journalism training

Kelvin MacKenzie’s rubbishing of journalism courses has sparked a heated debate across numerous websites.

“There’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper,” he wrote in today’s Independent, saying he would shut down the colleges.

This post on Wannabe Hacks gives four reasons why MacKenzie is wrong and makes this interesting observation of why the former Sun editor – who has only one O-level – ended up in journalism.

This is key for me: the fact Mr MacKenzie had no choice but to scrap at a local paper when he was 16. He had few prospects and no options beyond an early entrance to the newsroom. But when you have the chance to go to uni or do a postgrad course, I think it’s natural to want to do so and to push yourself academically. It’s not for everyone and the jury’s out as to whether courses do you good. But let’s not take advice from a man who didn’t have a choice.

Over on Jon Slattery’s blog, he points out it is not the correct climate for newspapers to take on trainees.

The trouble with the local press route into journalism is how are regional newspapers going to take on trainees when they are cutting staff? Look at today’s news. Midland News Association, publisher of Britain’s biggest selling regional, the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star, is planning 90 [95] redundancies.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists agrees. HoldtheFrontPage has this interview with the chief executive of the NCTJ, Joanne Butcher.

She said: “Kelvin MacKenzie, of course, exaggerates to make some valid points about media degree courses and the value of learning the journalist’s craft by cutting your teeth on a local paper.

“But he does seem stuck in a time warp. Unlike when Kelvin trained on the South East London Mercury and was sent away to college, newspapers simply don’t take on many raw recruits these days.

In this post, a journalism student from University of Central Lancashire, Wordsmith, also argues the difficulties in being accepted on a paper directly from school.

On papers you don’t have time to fail, because of the pressure on you and the hundreds of people waiting to take your job.

A blog post on Rantings of a Sub Editor suggests a non-journalism degree first does help and some training, in a sub’s case the “basics of libel, copyright and privacy law, which are essential, a grounding in public affairs – local and national – and a working knowledge of Quark” and Substuff has some pretty good advice for wannabe journalists too.

Roy Greenslade also believes it is important to get a university education before going on to take a postgraduate journalism training course and, in this blog post, responds to MacKenzie’s jab at Greenslade’s City University lectureship.

I came up by the same route as Kelvin. He is right about it having been a terrific combination of learning-on-the-job and fun. But that was then, and this is now.

A university education is far better for journalists – and for journalism. It sharpens their critical faculties. It provides a great grounding in the basic skills. It is so good that many graduates are able to step straight into national papers.

Over on the Press Gazette blog, Dominic Ponsford argues MacKenzie “has a point about the ballooning cost of journalism training”.

MacKenzie does highlight a looming problem for the journalism industry, and one which it desperately needs to address. On the whole journalists are nowadays expected to fund their own training (the industry used to provide it on the job via block-release schemes). With first degrees costing up to £9,000 a year, and post-grads another £10,000 on top, and with food and board added in,  you are looking at spending £50,000 to to bag a job which, in the regional press, offers starting pay of £15,000.

How many aspiring journalists are realistically going to do that?

Journalism.co.uk’s earlier comment post – where you can tell us why you think MacKenzie is right, or wrong.

Independent adds attribution to controversial MacKenzie article

A piece in today’s Independent by former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, in which he claimed “there’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper” was bound to stir up some debate.

But the controversy ended up going beyond the comments he made to the publication of the article itself, when MA Magazine Journalism student from City University Harriet Thurley claimed on Twitter that she in fact originally wrote the piece in question.

And here is a link to her feature, published in the university’s alumni magazine XCity last month. The two are indeed very similar. So what happened? As far as Journalism.co.uk understands, the article was submitted by MacKenzie to the Independent’s media editor Ian Burrell, who told Journalism.co.uk today that he was aware the piece had started out as an interview but felt that that it had been “considerably” rewritten by MacKenzie in his own style.

A line has since been added to the article online to say it is “an amended version” of the interview with MacKenzie by Thurley.

We have not yet been able to reach MacKenzie for comment, but Thurley has since tweeted claiming that he was not aware of her missing accreditation.

Comment: Response to Kelvin MacKenzie on shutting journalism colleges

Media law, 100 words a minute shorthand and how to shoot and edit a video, these are just some of what I probably would not have learned in my first month on a local paper.

But according to former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie, writing for the Independent this morning, “there’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper”.

He believes aspiring reporters should start on their local newspaper at 18 and be on a national by 21. Perhaps he is unaware local newspaper editors, radio stations and TV newsdesks are not exactly falling over themselves to take on teenagers with no training.

Learning on the job may be a highwire act but it will be a lesson you will never forget compared with listening to ‘professor’ Roy Greenslade explaining why Wapping was a disgrace. No amount of academic debate is going to give you news sense, even if you have a PhD. It’s a knack and you’ve either got it or you haven’t.

There are more than 80 schools in the UK teaching journalism. These courses are make-work projects for retired journalists who teach for six months a year and are on a salary of £34,000- £60,000. Students are piling up debts as they pay to keep their tutors in the lifestyles they’re used to. I’d shut down all the journalism colleges today. If you want to be a print journalist you should go straight from school and join the local press. You will have a better career and you won’t owe a fortune. Good luck.

This is not the first time MacKenzie has rubbished journalism courses.

The Independent’s full story is at this link.

So, fellow journalism graduates, are you shouting at your computers/phones/iPads yet? Or has MacKenzie got it right?
Please comment and let us know what you think.

Malcolm Coles: Why the Guardian’s future does look bleak

Writing on his blog, SEO expert Malcolm Coles claims the disparity in price between the Guardian’s digital services and print product is a problem for the company’s revenue.

Responding to a comment piece by former Sun editor Kelvin McKenzie, which predicts the Guardian’s print edition will be dead in a decade, Coles asks the paper: “Please, let me give you more money”.

A newspaper buyer until he got an iPad, Coles now pays £3.99 a year instead of £230 to read the Guardian everyday in print.

The collapse in what I pay is because I read most of the news for the next day’s newspaper on the Guardian website on my iPad the evening before. And I read anything new on my iPhone on the way to and from work. The newspaper has nothing in that I need.

Read the full post on Coles’ blog at this link.

Daily Echo journalist defends Bournemouth Uni after Kelvin Mackenzie swipe

Bournemouth Daily Echo journalist Steven Smith has written in defence of the Bournemouth University’s journalism school, following criticism of the department by former Sun editor Kelvin Mackenzie.

According to the Echo, Mackenzie on Wednesday described the university’s journalism college as “hopeless” as part of his column for the paper on government plans to lift the cap on tuition fees. Unfortunately, the column doesn’t seem to be available online. It’s not the first time Mackenzie has taken a swipe at Bournemouth either.

Writes Smith:

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m a graduate of Bournemouth’s “hopeless” journalism school.

So are several of my colleagues, as well as former classmates who now work for the BBC, Sky, Bloomberg, countless national magazine titles, news websites, radio stations and, dare I say it, public relations firms.

In the fiercely competitive world of journalism – which has become even harder to get into in the five years since I started out – I guess we must have got something right.

Full post on the Bournemouth Echo at this link…

How Westminster students covered last week’s Journalism in Crisis conference

I got a peek behind the stage curtain last week, at the University of Westminster / British Journalism Review Journalism in Crisis conference (May 19/20). Geoffrey Davies, head of the Journalism and Mass Communications department, gave me a mini-guided tour of the equipment borrowed for the event – it allowed the live-streaming of the conference throughout; a real bonus for those at home or in the office.

Jump to video list here (includes: Mark Thompson / Nick Davies / Paul Lashmar / Boris Johnson and a host of academics and journalists from around the world)

The Journalism.co.uk beat means that we cover a fair few industry and academic conferences, and so we get to compare the technology efforts of the hosts themselves. While Twitter conversation didn’t flow as much as at some events (not necessarily a negative thing – see some discussion on that point at this link) the students’ own coverage certainly made use of their multimedia skills. I contacted a few of the students and lecturers afterwards to find out a few more specifics, and how they felt it went.

“We streamed to the web via a system we borrowed from NewTek Europe, but might purchase, called Tricaster. It’s a useful piece of equipment that is a television studio in a box,” explained Rob Benfield, a senior lecturer at the University, who produced the students’ coverage.

“In this case it allowed us to add graphics and captions downstream of a vision-mixer. It also stores all the material we shot in its copious memory and allowed us to store and stream student work, messages and advertising material of various sorts without resorting to other sources.

“Some of our third year undergraduates quickly mastered the technology which proved to be largely intuitive. We streamed for two solid days without interruption.”

Conference participants might also have seen students extremely diligently grabbing each speaker to ask them some questions on camera  (making Journalism.co.uk’s cornering of people a little bit more competitive). The videos are linked at the end of this post.

Marianne Bouchart, a second year at the University, blogged and tweeted (via @WestminComment) along with postgraduate student, Alberto Furlan.

“We all were delighted to get involved in such an important event,” Bourchart told Journalism.co.uk afterwards. “It was an incredible opportunity for us to practice our journalistic skills and gave to most of us a first taste of working in journalism. I couldn’t dream of anything better than to interview BBC director general Mark Thompson.

“We worked very hard on this project and we are all very happy it went on that well. My experience as an editor managing a team of journalists to cover the event was fantastic. We encountered a few scary moments, some panic attacks, but handled the whole thing quite brilliantly in the end – for inexperienced journalists. I can’t wait to be working with this team again.”

A sample of the Westminster students’ coverage:

If you missed the Journalism.co.uk own coverage, here’s a round-up:

Videos from the Westminster University students at this link. Interviewees included:

  • Paul Lashmar, Is investigative journalism in the UK dying or can a ‘Fifth Estate’ model revitalise it? An examination of whether the American subscription and donation models such as Pro Publica, Spot.US and Truthout are the way
  • Haiyan Wang, Investigative journalism and political power in China —A case study of three major newspapers’ investigative reporting over Chenzhou corruption between April 2006 and November 2008
  • Maria Edström, The workplace and education of journalists – myths and facts
  • Shan Wu, Can East Asia produce its own “Al-Jazeera”? Unravelling the challenges that face channel NewsAsia as a global media contra-flow
  • Yael .M. de Haan, Media under Fire: criticism and response in The Netherlands, 1987-2007
  • Esra Arsan, Hopelessly devoted? Turkish journalism students’ perception of the profession
  • Professor James Curran, ‘Journalism in Crisis,’ Goldsmiths College
  • Marina Ghersetti, Swedish journalists’ views on news values
  • Igor Vobic, Multimedia news of Slovenian print media organisations: Multimedia on news Websites of delo and žurnal media
  • Anya Luscombe, The future of radio journalism: the continued optimism in BBC Radio News
  • Tamara Witschge,The tyranny of technology? Examining the role of new media in news journalism
  • Juliette De Maeyer, Journalism practices in an online environment
  • Colette Brin, Journalism’s paradigm shifts: a model for understanding long-term change
  • Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Crisis equals crisis: How did the panic spread by the Greek media accelerate the economy crisis in the country?
  • Matthew Fraser, Why business journalism failed to see the coming economic crisis
  • Michael Bromley, Citizen journalism: ‘citizen’ or ‘journalism’ – or both?
  • Vincent Campbell, ‘Citizen Journalism’: A crisis in journalism studies?
  • Martin Nkosi Ndlela, The impact of technology on Norwegian print journalism
  • James S McLean, The future of journalism: Rethinking the basics
  • Mathieu Simonson, The Belgian governmental crisis through the eye of political blogging
  • Nick Davies, freelance journalist and author of Flat Earth News
  • Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
  • Jonathan Coad, partner at Swan Turton solicitors
  • Mark Thompson, BBC director-general