Tag Archives: Training

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.

Emmy Award-winning UBC journalism students form new partnership with Globe and Mail

In September, a group of students from the University of British Columbia won an Emmy Award for their documentary on the dumping of electronic waste. The students were working in partnership with the PBS documentary series Frontline and now the university is at it again, joining forces with the Globe and Mail for an investigation into shrimp and food sustainability.

Full report on the new project at Reportr.net…

Don’t direct students to file FOI requests to universities, Texas lecturers told

From the US last week, but worth reading – a curious situation for journalism academics:

Journalism teachers sometimes instruct students to file such requests under the Texas Public Information Act to gain experience using an important tool for reporters.

But in response to an inquiry from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, an A&M [Texas A&M University] campus about 155 miles north of Austin, the system’s general counsel warned that a faculty member could be disciplined and even fired for directing students to file requests with any of the system’s 12 universities and seven agencies. Faculty members are free to direct students to file requests with other state universities and agencies.

Full story on Statesman.com at this link…

How Do: Redefining media studies at the University of Salford

Interview with Jon Corner, the University of Salford’s MediaCityUK director, about the uni’s plans to “redefine media studies” from its new base at the Salford centre.

I agree with you about certain prejudices surrounding the notion of ‘Media Studies’ – but really Salford will be focused on new digital content creation and new digital content delivery. Ours is a very technological, industry-focused offer with the relevance the international sector is hungry for.

However, I do think there’s a potential growing mismatch between what’s happening at forward-thinking higher education institutions like Salford and how ‘media’ is delivered in UK secondary schools. It’s something I’m personally passionate about and I think we have an opportunity to begin to redefine and change that delivery by opening up new types of dialogue and shared practice with schools.

Full story on How Do at this link…

Guardian Careers, PR Week and BBC Cojo line up for SAE Institute open day

As part of its open day for the Digital Journalism Diploma this Saturday (27 November), the SAE Institute London is hosting a Q&A panel featuring representatives from the BBC, PR Week and the Guardian to discuss today’s journalism workplace.

Kerry Eustice, journalist and content manager with the Guardian Careers team, Peter Hay, digital editor at PR Week, and David Hayward from the BBC College of Journalism will be there on the day – more details of which are available at this link.

SAE launched the course back in September with the aim off blending skills from its specialist courses in audio and film with a multimedia journalism programme.

Does a blog still cut it for journalism students?

Following a journalism event earlier this month on blogging your way into a job, City University London journalism student Rajvir Rai takes a more reflective look at the advice given:

[I]t is clear that a few years ago a blog really set you apart from crowd, but now with a plethora of people (including many who have no desire to become professional journalists) jumping on the bandwagon, standing out to the extent that the industry recognises you is becoming increasingly difficult – if not impossible.

Unless you have stuck upon a totally unique idea it is unlikely that your blog will be the reason you get a job. Using myself as a case study, I blog about areas that interest me (sport, Asian issues and the media) and I do okay out of it, but I don’t for one minute think that a potential employer will be impressed enough with this site to offer me a job.

If simply having a blog won’t cut it anymore, how else can journalism students make themselves stand out online?

Full post at this link…

Journalism MA student: why I deferred after a month into my course

A frank post on the Wannabe Hacks site from blogger ‘the detective’ on why he has deferred his place on a postgraduate journalism course:

After just a month living in Bethnal Green and at the start of my fourth week of my MA at City University London I made the very difficult decision to defer my place at City. Having spent the past weeks debating my choice I know now that I made the right decision.

Money was becoming to be a problem and despite my best efforts to make savings, I knew that by the end of the course in June I would be completely broke having lived in London for a year without an income on top of the debt from my undergraduate degree. I am not for a minute suggesting that I am the only postgrad with money worries, nor am I looking for any sympathy, I am just outlining the factors in my decision.

Full post on Wannabe Hacks at this link…

NCTJ discusses cost-cutting measures with universities

Directors of NCTJ-accredited university courses discussed ways to cut costs at a meeting with NCTJ management last week at the annual NCTJ undergraduate forum.

Ideas put forward included streamlining examiner training, providing additional online resources and doing more proactive block marketing of accredited courses.

The NCTJ has posted details of the discussions which took place during the meeting which focused on the impact of government cuts to higher education funding.

The forum also discussed the importance of the industry accreditation, which it claimed was “crucial for maintaining high standards and maximising employability in the face of spending reductions”.

Concerns about the impact of the education funding cuts on the journalism industry were also raised by the new  cross-media accreditation board, which met for the first time in September, with members calling for the protection of accredited courses. Following the debate which ensued Journalism.co.uk began a poll to measure ongoing opinion on the value of the NCTJ accreditation. At the time of writing the majority (47 per cent) had responded that accreditation is ‘useful but not necessary’, while 27 per cent feel it is ‘unnecessary’. The remaining 26 per cent have split evenly between viewing the accreditation as ‘essential’ and ‘in need of updating’.

You can still have your say here.

Scottish Parliament offering placement to ‘news hound’

The Scottish Parliament and the Fife Free Press this week launched a competition offering a week-long placement for one journalism student in Parliament’s Media Tower.

The competition is open to final year and postgraduate journalism students studying at Scottish colleges and universities.

According to a release from Scottish Parliament the winner will get to work alongside top political correspondents and file copy for publication in the Fife Free Press.

Details on the entry process can be found here…

Photographers discuss how to change society’s suspicions

Press photographers came together today to explore society’s suspicions of cameras and debate how to change these attitudes in support of a free press for the future, at the House of Commons for the ‘Who’s afraid of photographers’ seminar’.

Opening the seminar, MP Don Foster said photographers need to take “collective action” in ensuring police officers are correctly trained.

There are two key areas that we have to look at, existing legislation and the way legislation is interpreted and used by various forces of law and order. One great piece of news is that the coalition government, through Nick Clegg, has suspended Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. But please don’t say we’ve won because I used the word suspended. What we need to make absolutely certain is that it is actually repealed and removed, not just suspended. I think that’s really important.

You need to talk about the ways in which you can engage with those law enforcement agencies, in particular the police, to help work through with them what is legitimate, and what is not legitimate. That means you have to engage with police in their training procedures with new recruits. So far there has not been a great deal of success, but today I think this is something you should take collective action towards to ensure there is proper training that goes on.

Professor Chris Frost, head of journalism at Liverpool John Moores University, who outlined the ethical guidelines impacting on journalists added that he felt there was increasing concern on the part of the public over their privacy in public places.

People seem to be much more concerned about where their image is going to be placed, they are much more aware, possibly because there are more cameras around now.

He added that this is also fuelled by increased fears of terrorism, peadophilia, identity theft and state interference.

David Hoffman, a social issues photographer, talked the seminar audience through the relationship between photographers and police at demonstrations over the past decades, from the poll tax riots to the G20 clashes, during which he claimed to have lost four teeth. But in recent months there has been “a patchy and fragile improvement”, he said.

I am now finding the police more cooperative. I hope my experience is being reflected elsewhere. I am confident…we have an opportunity to build on the progress of the last 18 months.

We’re at a crossroads, this government has made promises and it’s that baton, not the one hanging from the PC’s belt, that we need to take up now.

So why has there been such a difficult relationship between police and journalists/photographers? John Toner, NUJ Freelance Organiser proposed the following theories, summarised below:

Some police think the press are out there just to take photographs of them behaving badly

Some are afraid of having their photo in the newspaper as could become target

Some believe they’re moral guardians

Some believe there is a law in this country which protects privacy. Even if that were the case, that’s a civil matter.

Looking to the future, and echoing the earlier comments of Don Foster, the seminar participants called for greater training of police, such as through web videos/units and training alongside photographers, as well as penalties for the misuse of legislation rather than the re-distribution of guidelines.

In support of practical training for police, Jules Mattsson, who claimed to have had his camera confiscated by police and been restricted from photographing two cadet parades, said time should not be an excuse.

If there’s not enough training time to train the police who uphold the law, then I think that’s a much wider problem than this.

I think publicity and education is important, also for new photographers, student photographers. We need to also expand our reach to educate people in our rights.