Tag Archives: Press Association

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?

Greenslade: ‘PA’s excellent plan to launch “public service reporting”‘

Roy Greenslade offers his thoughts on the Press Association’s (PA) plans for a ‘public service reporting’ scheme in partnership with Trinity Mirror, as reported by Journalism.co.uk yesterday.

He applauds the agency for a ‘bold and imaginative’ move, which, he says, warrants public funding.

“Essentially, it will relieve newspaper editors of their current headaches in trying (and failing) to cover the whole local agenda. The nuts and bolts will be available to them. Instead, their reporters can get on with digging and delving,” he writes.

Interesting comments left on the post too, including one from Blackadder, who claims to be a former PA employee:

“To turn the PA into a fully-fledged public service will involve a root and branch upheaval of the current company, and that will never happen if profit is the watchword. They should not be given a penny of public money.”

Full post at this link…

Ethical question of the day: would it be justifiable to pay for MPs’ expenses information?

It has not been officially confirmed or denied, so speculation is rife as to whether the Telegraph paid for the information that has provided a whole host of stories for the newspaper on MPs’ expenses.

The Press Association reports here on the Commons Authority’s call for a police investigation of the leak.

The Guardian reports:

“(…) [L]awyers said that, if claims the paper paid up to £300,000 for the information ‑ reportedly contained in a computer disk stolen from the parliamentary fees office ‑ were accurate, both the mole and the paper remained at risk of criminal prosecution.”

The Telegraph press office directed Journalism.co.uk to the television interviews with TMG’s assistant editor, Benedict Brogan, when we asked them for the official response to the claims.

Sky News reports:

“The Daily Telegraph declined to say how it obtained the information amid speculation the paper may have paid up to £300,000 for the leak.”

Roy Greenslade says his knee-jerk reaction was to think ‘scandal,’ upon the reports of the payment.

But, on second thoughts, Greenslade decides the contents of the disc ‘are definitely in the public interest’ and concludes:

“Finally, let’s also admit that the Telegraph story has dominated the rest of the media ever since it broke. We have all benefited from the story. Isn’t that justification enough, both for its publication and the way it was obtained?”

Greenslade is also clear in his view that the story is a ‘revelation’ rather than an ‘investigation’. Also, in a later comment he states:

“My posting is based on the premise that the Daily Telegraph paid. There is no proof of that, as yet, however. I certainly think the idea that the paper paid £300k or even half that is absurd. I’d imagine, if money has changed hands, it’s much more likely to be five figures.”

Benedict Brogan, Telegraph assistant editor, on his blog, urges his readers not to be ‘steered off course’ by allegations:

“There’s been a lot of speculation about the sourcing of this undertaking, and allegations thrown about by Sir Stuart Bell and Peter Mandelson. The politicians quite understandably want this to become a story about the media. Treat what they say as chaff, mere puffs of silver shredded paper designed to steer you off course and away from the central issues which they continue to misrepresent.”

Please leave your comments, and other relevant links below…

Obituary: Patricia Newton, groundbreaking female journalist

Patricia O’Brien (nee Newton), the first woman reporter in the parliamentary press gallery working for the Press Association, recently passed away. The obituary below is written by her children Francesca and Tom O’Brien.

Pat O'Brien (courtesy of Francesca and Tom O'Brien)

As children it didn’t seem odd that our mother Pat worked in the House of Commons where the policeman tipped his hat to us as our father (who stayed at home to look after us) drove her in and out.

But for the early sixties our parents were trail blazers and as we grew older our mother’s quiet determination was a source of inspiration and great pride.

Born Patricia Newton in 1924, the daughter of a royal marine bandmaster, Pat left school at 14. Her mother paid for Pat, who was selling chocolate in the Weymouth Pier bandstand, to go to secretarial school.

Pat went from there in 1939 to the Southern Times. It was wartime and there were opportunities for energetic, organised and hard working young women, and at 16 she was a reporter. She had found her metier. At 18 she moved to London to work on South London papers, narrowly escaping being bombed out herself.

In the forties she had the two great breaks of her life. She met our father Joe O’Brien from Cork at a police ball in 1943. He had spotted her walking by as he worked on a building site and had admired from afar. She went on to marry him in 1950 and they remained married for 59 years. A remarkable and devoted couple. He survives her.

Her second break was also another step in the great march of women in the 20th century. In 1946, she became the first woman reporter in the parliamentary press gallery working for the Press Association.

Equality advances come with a price: when she became pregnant with her daughter Francesca in 1956 she was fired on the basis she should be at home looking after her child and husband.

Dame Irene Ward (Conservative) and Barbara Castle (Labour) brought it up in Question Time and the Married Woman’s Association and the NUJ took up her case. Soon Pat had her job back again – only to lose it a second time when she became pregnant with her son Tom born in 1961.

Pat crossed the journalistic Rubicon in 1964. For the next 20 years she worked as a civil service press officer for Arts Ministers and for the Department of Education and Science.

She enjoyed a long retirement battling and baffling officialdom armed with her pre-war typewriter and her mobile phone and devoting herself to her family – particularly her grandchildren Ben and Beth.

(Francesca and Tom O’Brien)

PA launches video wire service – added support for regional newspapers

The UK’s Press Association (PA) has announced a new service – a video wire of raw news footage.

While the association has produced video since 2005, it has never made this content available on a news wire, alongside text and pictures.

Subscribers to the service will be able to edit their own packages from the clips, a release from the agency said – making the cost of the service lower.

Regional newspapers will be offered a free trial of the service, which will feature up to 30 stories a day.

“The video wire is not only a cost-effective solution for news broadcasters, but will also support regional media players at an important stage in their development as multi-platform businesses,” said Tony Watson, PA managing director, in the release.

“As DCMS and Ofcom grapple with the issue of safeguarding plurality of provision in PSB regional television news, we believe the new UK video service could make a significant contribution to the solutions currently under consideration.”

The PA’s launch comes as potential partnerships between the BBC and local media on training and equipment are set to get the go ahead – according to this MediaGuardian report.

Website changes for PA on its 140th anniversary

To mark its 140th anniversary, the Press Association has ‘completely overhauled its identity in print and online to reflect its position as an innovative, digital, news and information provider,’ a release said.

To signify its move from a domestic news agency to a ‘multimedia content business’, all of the existing Press Association sub-brands will now be ‘unified’.

The URL of the PA website has changed to pressassociation.co.uk and the release said that the new site ‘incorporates improved usability, multimedia news feeds, picture galleries and demo packages demonstrating the range of the company’s services,’ although most content is still restricted to paying subscribers.

“By sharpening up the brand and introducing a new website we aim to increase our brand awareness amongst B2B customers and make it easier for us to showcase our services, particularly to the digital markets,” Paul Potts, executive chairman and owner of the PA Group, said in the release.

PA celebrates 140 years with museum exhibition

The Press Association (PA) sent us this rather lovely photo to announce a new exhibition celebrating 140 years of the agency, which will open at Bradford’s National Media Museum on October 18.

The picture from New Year’s Day 1930 shows ‘despatch manager’ Walter Cattermole, flanked by PA News messenger boys, outside the organisation’s former home in Fleet Street, London.

Priest who wrote offensive comments about gay people on blog keeps newspaper column

The vicar who faced national outrage after he posted offensive comments about gay people on his personal blog will continue writing for the Northern Echo newspaper.

The Rector of St Michael’s, Cornhill, in the City of London, and chaplain to the Stock Exchange, Peter Mullen, has been widely criticized for posts on his blog, including: a poem about gay marriage; a suggestion that proponents of gay culture should have a tattoo across their buttocks; and a call for Gay Pride parades to be outlawed.

Nonetheless the priest will continue to write his column for the Northern Echo, which can be read online.

The Northern Echo’s editor, Peter Barron, wrote on his own blog this week that he had advised Mullen to issue an apology to the Press Association, and that Mullen would be writing another apology in the Northern Echo next week, even though the original comments were not ever posted on the Northern Echo site.

Mullen has now deleted his blog but the offensive comments can be read in this Google cache (via Zefrog).

On a side note, if you now search priest + sodomy, on Google most the results return articles about Peter Mullen. Ironic, that.

Press Association opens up data to BBC developers

The BBC has been given free access to data from third parties for use by its BBC Backstage developers network.

The Press Association (PA) has opened up the API and data from its event listings information for no charge, Ian Forrester, senior producer for BBC Backstage, told an industry conference.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk, Forrester said PA had opened up its data to BBC Backstage, because they did not have a place to showcase the information themselves.

“They have this huge events database. They know they could sell certain parts of it but only a certain amount. The admin of trying to sell that stuff is too great, they may as well give it away for free, but they are also interested in seeing the creative use of this data,” Forrester explained to delegates at the Media Futures Conference.

Several data streams from within the corporation will also be made available to the network in the next few months, Forrester added.

Data from the BBC iPlayer will be opened up through BBC Backstage, he said, with plans to create personalised search functions and alerts when content is added to the player.

Following the recent addition of full text RSS feeds for the BBC’s blogs, Forrester told Journalism.co.uk that full text feeds for the BBC’s news content would be ‘a natural progression for newsgathering’.