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The Jobless Journalist: Week three – To sub or not to sub?

September 15th, 2009 | 5 Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs

This is the third post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.

You can also read posts by our previous ‘Redundant Journalist’ blogger at this link.

So far I’ve applied for a total of seven jobs (that’s not including the CVs sent to editors on the off-chance they know of something going). Two of these formal job applications have been for subbing roles.

The question is: I am a writer, not a sub-editor – should I even be applying for these jobs?

I do have a year’s sub-editing experience on the magazine I was made redundant from as well as on a couple of nationals, but I have been warned by editors in the past that I should stick to writing if that’s what I want to do.

I’ve always been of the opinion that sub-editing sharpens your writing and being able to write headlines and standfirsts, for example, can only be a bonus.

What is more, I can see from the sub-editing I have done how this could lead to being an editor, which is ultimately what I want to be.

Sub-editing involves being aware of the overall look of the piece – from pictures to pull quotes – as well as having impeccable grammar and spelling.

What is more, the increasing importance of online journalism means a journalist must be a sort of Judge Dredd character: writer, sub-editor and editor, rolled into one.

But the question still remains – should I apply for sub-editing roles? Or does the fact that I’m even asking this question mean I’ll never get anywhere with an application for a sub-editor’s job vacancy?

After all, if I can’t convince myself, then what chance do I have of convincing an interviewer?

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Is there life after a journalism course? The Coventry Class of 2009 – Jason Craig

September 3rd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Jobs, Journalism, Online Journalism, Training

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.

Jason Craig graduated with a first class honours in journalism and media from Coventry University last June. He now works as a writer on the Belfast based Pacenotes – a magazine for the many thousands of  rally enthusiasts in Ireland.

As I write this, 10,000 copies of the September issue of Pacenotes Rally Magazine will be returning from the printers in Antrim and winging their way to newsagents, subscribers and leading rally figures across the UK and Ireland.

The days leading up to print deadline, leaving the office just before midnight and rising the following morning at 6am was not uncommon, and after a while you become oblivious to the man-hours needed to compile a 72-page monthly read.

When you are passionate about a subject and you are getting paid to write about it, time really doesn’t become an issue – at least for me, anyway. My last report covered the Ulster International Rally, a mammoth two day operation that required the compiling of driver quotes and pictures on stage and in and around service.

I give up evenings and weekends to be involved in a sport I have followed and admired for so long. To have access to teams and drivers is a privilege, so it is my job to relay this ‘inside information’ to the reader as best possible.

For the same issue, with the help of Phil James (www.pro-rally.co.uk), I have just compiled a one-off, 11 page commemorative feature on the Mini as this year marks its 50th anniversary.

I’ve spoken to many people about this giant-killing rally machine, but none more eloquent than the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally winner, Paddy Hopkirk. This is what makes my new job so varied and exciting.

Recently, in the space of a week, I have been to Dublin to research  a feature on Couture Auto Ltd before jetting over to England the following day to pay the motorsport engine builder, Mountune a visit.

This visit to the Essex based company had added meaning as anyone who knows me will be wholly aware of my admiration for the Blue Oval and rallying in general. As a matter of fact, I’ve never seen so many Ford GT supercars in the same place at the same time, including one worth a cool £1 million!

In October I travel to Cork to cover the final round of the TROA Irish Tarmac Championship where this year’s winner will be crowned, and in November – the weekend before my graduation ceremony, in fact – I travel to the final round of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in the hope that Ulsterman, Kris Meeke will prevail as the champion.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had strong leadership and continued support from my lecturers during my final few days at Coventry University: automotive hack Andrew Noakes and media guru John Mair were of particular help. They deserve a special mention for reasons known only to them, with two copies of the current issue soon to land on their respective desks.

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Comment: Without traineeships going to trainees, how can we get experience?

August 25th, 2009 | 3 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Freelance, Jobs, Training

Ross Davies is a freelance journalist. His work includes bar and pub reviews for viewbirmingham.co.uk and album/gig reviews for thedetour.co.uk, a website dedicated to current music, fashion and art.

These are difficult times for young ,newly-qualified journalists looking for that first break.

In the UK, armed with a degree and preliminary NCTJ [National Council for the Training of Journalists] qualification, we have all pitched our ideas and sent expertly doctored CVs to a seemingly ever-expanding abyss that engulfs the modern day aspiring hack. Read the forums on sites such as this and you will find disgruntled tales of little opportunity, encouragement or reward – a mandatory concession that we have to make or is there a loophole?

Journalism has always been a notoriously tough profession to crack with high competition for trainee posts. We have all tried to garner as much knowledge as possible on work experience placements or articles for the university rag but there comes a time when your CV, rich with such flirtations, feels ready to be sent in application for that first role.

Here comes the problem – it doesn’t seem to be enough. You can picture the scene: you see a job advertisement for a trainee reporter so you scroll down to peruse the job description and specifications which are along the lines of ‘For first jobber with degree and preferably NCTJ trained’. You rub your hands with glee and get to work on a well-crafted covering letter demonstrating your dovetail perfection for the role. You then click send and wait for the good news.

Well, okay, job applications never follow such formulated paths, but you would think that if you are able to tick every box with regard to candidate specifications that you would stand a decent chance of at least gaining an interview. Wrong.

The global recession does not warrant any more attention than it has already received and of course is an entirely credible reason for job shortages and restricted opportunities, but young hacks must surely nod their heads in frustrated agreement that the familiar reply and opening gambit of ‘We are sorry to inform you but due to the current market..’ is predictable and disheartening. Perhaps worse is the further rationalization that candidates with prior journalistic experience take precedence – rendering the ‘first jobber’ job description disingenuous.

It seems to be that the prospective trainee journalist finds himself in the tricky quandary of being required to run before he can walk. It is accepted that times are tough, but is there much point in advertising trainee jobs if there is little intention of actually allocating them to trainees? Where are we supposed to gain our phantom years of experience if every role in itself requires experience? An even bigger puzzle – what constitutes as experience?

The answer is usually a burgeoning portfolio of articles that signify not only a writer’s depth and style, but also a dedication to journalism as most work experience is unpaid. The question of unpaid work is also a matter for contention creating a dichotomy between budding journalists that consider the byline as sufficient payment in itself and others that feel that any content provided should be financially rewarded, as it is effectively what keeps small magazines and websites in business.

I, like many others, have provided unpaid freelance articles on a number of occasions and in retrospect, have mixed feelings on the subject.

Yes, the leather wallet containing my published work has grown, but when it comes to a job application, is my piece for Poultry World, Heating and Ventilation News going to be enough? Many websites I have written for have long since vanished taking with them a few fading bylines, but still I feel it right to list them on my CV. Why? To demonstrate experience.

So, realising that your journalism career might take a little longer to ignite than expected, you are forced to review your situation whilst possibly taking on some menial job to pay the bills.

The next avenue could well be applying for an internship or work experience placement, again unpaid, at an eminent and respected magazine or newspaper that truly will look good on the CV. Unsurprisingly, there is much competition, but if successful it is worth the wait.

I completed a two-week stint at Record Collector magazine in November 2008 at its offices in West Ealing and came away from the experience with a great sense of fulfillment, knowledge and most importantly, a resolute belief that I truly wanted to be a journalist.

But what now? How many more internships do I have to complete before I have the sufficient experience that editors are looking for? How long will I have to go unpaid for the articles I provide? When will the markets pick up again?

Whatever the answers are, it is undeniable that the journalists of tomorrow are going to need a lot of patience… and luck.

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Advice from Guardian.co.uk’s online journalism Q&A

On Friday Journalism.co.uk took part in a live Q&A  hosted by the The Guardian’s careers section, allowing new and experienced journalists the opportunity to ask industry professionals for advice on conquering the world of online journalism.

The multimedia panel on hand to answer questions were:

Paul Gallagher, head of online editorial, Manchester Evening News
Laura-Jane Filotrani, site editor, Guardian Careers
Sarah Hartley, digital editor, The Guardian
Alison Gow, executive editor, digital, Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post
Laura Oliver, senior reporter, Journalism. co.uk
Madeline Bennett, editor of technology news sites V3.co.uk and The Inquirer
Paul Bradshaw, senior lecturer in online journalism, Birmingham City University
John Hand, duty editor, UK desk BBC News website
Alison White, community moderator, The Guardian

Here’s our round-up of the best advice from Friday’s event on how to make it as a successful online journalist in the digital age. You can also read the panel’s responses in full on the online journalism Q&A page on Guardian.co.uk.

Jump to:

What is the best subject to study to help me break into journalism?

[asked by Matt, who is studying English literature and language at college and asked if going on to study an English degree would help him prepare for a career in journalism]

John Hand: “I’m often asked which is the best subject to study at university and the answer is really that there is no particularly bad choice. The best newsroom has a good mix of people with different knowledge areas – for example, I think every editor in the country would love to have someone with the in-depth health knowledge of a medical degree on their team. Of course, any degree course that allows you to develop your writing and analytical skills (I always think history is a clever choice) would be better than most.

“The most important thing is to get some vocational training. Many editors themselves initially came through NCTJ courses (http://www.nctj.com/) so would respect those, but there are also many media organisations that offer their own in-house (or even external) training. If you want to get into news journalism, the key question to ask of any training scheme is how good their law course is.”

Sarah Hartley: “Grab as much work experience as you can throughout your uni years. Who knows what the economic climate will be like when you graduate but it may well be that you can find an employer who will put you through a block release course or similar. New schemes for apprenticeships, internships and such are bound to come through in that time.”

Madeline Bennett: “Has your college got a student newspaper or website? If so, volunteering to write for that would be a good starting point and showcase for your work. If not, why not start one? This is also the case for when you go to uni, student papers can be a great place to launch your journalism career.”

But what if I can’t afford to go to university?

[Forum user Dan Holloway asked: how does someone who has no choice but carry on a full-time job to make ends meet go about switching careers to online journalism?]

Alison White: “My advice would be to perhaps take some evening classes in journalism if possible – while I was at uni I did a 10-week course, one evening a week, about freelancing and a two-day course about getting into journalism. Or how about some work experience? Newspapers and other organisations are less well-staffed at weekends, I’m sure they’d appreciate some help with uploading content or other duties. Once you’ve got to know some people you can always keep in touch in the hope they might point you towards job opportunities or further work experience.”

Madeline Bennett: “Look for courses that focus on online journalism or multimedia skills, there might be some weekend or evening classes available that you can do to support your NCTJ. Also these courses are a good place to meet people who can help you get your first job in journalism, as they’ll often be run by current working journalists.”

Laura Oliver: “Start experimenting – if you can find the time outside of work to run a blog, contribute to other websites, you’ll learn a great deal about the basics of online publishing. Contact sites and other blogs that interest you and offer postings. Look at successful bloggers and think about what they are doing that makes them influential/profitable. Here are a couple of posts that might help too regarding building an online brand as a journalist:

“http://blogs.journalism.co.uk/editors/2009/08/17/adam-westbrook-6×6-branding-for-freelance-journalists/

“http://www.journalism.co.uk/5/articles/534896.php

What skills do I need to be an online journalist?

[Forum user Dean Best asked: what are the top online-specific skills I should attain to improve my online skills and better my chances of moving up the ladder?]

Laura-Jane Filotrani: “To be able to demonstrate a passion for digital – by this I mean that you are active online; you use the net; you have a profile online; you use and understand community; you are excited by being able to reach people using the internet; you want to find out the latest developments.”

Alison White: “A good knowledge of SEO and the importance of linking to others and providing ‘added value’ to the reader; i.e. give them the story but perhaps with a link to a video, an online petition, a Facebook page etc. News to me seems more of a package now rather than a traditional delivery.”

Paul Bradshaw:

“1. Understand how RSS works and how that can improve your newsgathering, production and distribution. I cover a little of that in this post:

“http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2008/04/21/rss-social-media-passive-aggressive-newsgathering-a-model-for-the-21st-century-newsroom-part-2-addendum/

“2. Engage with online communities around your specialist area, help them, provide valuable information and contacts, and then when you need help on something, they’ll be there for you in return. It will also build a distribution network for your content.

“3. Possibly hardest, but force yourself to experiment and make mistakes with all sorts of media. If you can make yourself entertaining as well as informative then that can really work very well.”

How can I make the transition to online journalism?

[‘Malini’ asked: how do I go about breaking into the field of online journalism? And why would anyone pay and retain a writer when they can easily get so much content for free?]

Paul Bradshaw: “Use free writing to build a reputation and contacts; and sell the valuable stuff that you generate from that. Ultimately you should aim to become reliable enough for them to want to hire you when they are hiring.”

Sarah Hartley: “Writers have always provided free content – be it letters to the editor, local band reviews, poetry or whatever, so being online will only further the opportunity for that sort of exposure and that can only be a good thing for diversity and choice.”

Paul Gallagher: “I have taught myself some coding skills like HTML and I believe it does help a lot to have some technical knowledge, not necessarily because you will need them in the job but because it really helps to be able to communicate well with the programmers and developers in your company.”

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Academics threaten Observer boycott: the letters in full

August 21st, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Newspapers

As reported on the main site, a number of high profile figures in business and academia have already, or are threatening to, cancel their subscriptions to the Observer, after the paper – the threatened closure of which has been widely reported – cut the weekly column by management expert Simon Caulkin. Below:

(1) Original letter to editors of the Guardian and Observer protesting the decision from over 60 signatories, never published.

(2) Follow-up letter from a key figure in the campaign, Philip Whiteley on behalf of over 80 signatories, questioning the lack of response, never published.

(3) Email reply from Observer editor, John Mullholland.

Hat-tip: Private Eye Issue 1243, August 21 – September 3, page 7, for a story that alerted us to the protest.

Letters in full:

(1) Original letter to editors of the Guardian and Observer

15 June 2009

The Editor
The Observer

Dear Sir

We are astonished and appalled by your decision to drop the Simon Caulkin column just at the point when the ideas he has covered over the years have become more relevant than ever.

We are living through one of the biggest crises of governance in history. September 2008 saw not just the end of Lehman Brothers but the end of 30 years’ dominance of neo-liberalism as the guiding ideology in running major private and public sector institutions. The notion that ‘maximising shareholder value’ can be considered in isolation from society was exposed as a pretence – bad for business as well as for society. The mechanistic strictures of the dominant management orthodoxy, with its dehumanising notion of people as a ‘resource’, its target culture and its opaque lexicon of competences, outputs and so on, have wrought terrible damage in social care, the NHS and education, as well as in the private sector.

Over the past 16 years, one journalist alone has been consistent in exposing the shallowness and limitations of these approaches. Simon Caulkin has set out a coherent alternative, rather than merely channelling protest. The unifying theme of the thinkers that he has championed – W Edwards Deming, Jeffrey Pfeffer, John Seddon, Gary Hamel and others – has been that organisations and economies are best managed by understanding the inter-dependence of different stakeholders.

Your decision, therefore, is ill-judged and ill-timed. A wiser choice would be to elevate Simon’s column to the main section of the paper. There is huge potential in the ideas he has promoted to assist ideological renewal of political parties, as well as to help governance generally.

We hope that you will see this as not just a letter of protest, but as sincere advice to recommend urgently that you reconsider your decision, and retain a vital element of your paper that could continue make a major contribution to policy debate.

Yours sincerely

Ricardo Semler, entrepreneur and author
Andrew Campbell, Director, Ashridge Business School
Philip Whiteley, chair Human Capital Forum
Dennis Tourish, Professor of Leadership and Management, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University
Susan White, Professor of Social Work, Department of Applied Social Science, Lancaster University
Petra Wilton, Director of Policy and Research, Chartered Management Institute
Joe Lamb, Emeritus Professor St Andrews University
Professor Jonathan Michie, President, Kellogg College, University of Oxford
Susan Scott-Parker OBE, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum on Disability
Professor Chris Brady, Dean, BPP Business School
H. Thomas Johnson, Professor of Business Administration Portland State University, USA
Mark Goyder, Director Tomorrow’s Company
Alistair Mant, Chairman, Socio-technical Strategy Group, Adjunct Professor, Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne)
Ismail Erturk, Senior Lecturer in Banking, The University of Manchester
Su Maddock, Director Whitehall Innovation Hub
Dave Wastell, Professor of Information Systems, Nottingham University Business School
Gary Kirwan, Senior Employment Relations Adviser, Royal College of Nursing
Howard Clark, The Systems Thinking Review
Jim Standen, Director, Lignum Quality Services
Professor Bob Galliers, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Bentley University, Massachusetts, USA
Nigel Nicholson, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, University of London
Clive Bone, Chairman, Institute of Value Management
GD Cox
Keith Reader
Professor Anthony Hopwood, Said Business School
Alison Widdup, Managing Director, Better for Everyone
Fred John, Estates Officer, NHS.
Roy Madron, political scientist, UK/Brazil
Dr Richard Howells, Director, Centre for Cultural, Media and Creative Industries Research School of Arts and Humanities King’s College London
Margaret McCartney (Dr) GP and writer
Max Mckeown, Strategist and Leadership Innovation Expert
Sally Garratt, Director Garratt Learning Systems
Bob Garratt, Visiting Professor Cass Business School, London
Andrew Sturdy, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Associate Dean, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick
Dr Martin Parker Professor of Culture and Organization, Director of Research and Deputy Head of School Editor-in-Chief of ‘Organization’ University of Leicester School of Management Leicester
Dr Gordon Pearson, Keele University
Jan Gillett, Chairman PMI
Dr. Mihaela Kelemen, Professor of Management Studies
Ian Christie, Associate, Green Alliance, Visiting professor, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey
John Carlisle, Visiting Professor Sheffield Hallam University, Founder, Cooperation Works Ltd and the Intlizyo AIDS Trust, South Africa
Morice Mendoza, editor and writer
Dr Olivier Sykes, Department of Civic Design, University of Liverpool
Ron Glatter, Emeritus Professor of Educational Administration and Management, The Open University
Bob Bischhof, Chairman – Vitalize Health Products, Non Executive Director – Henderson Eurotrust Plc, Member of Board – German British Chamber of Industry and Commerce
Dr Paul Hodgkin, Chief Executive, Patient Opinion
Alastair Mitchell-Baker, Director Tricordant Ltd
Adam Hogg, Managing Director, (Retired) Conquest Inns
Simon Hollington, Director, Leading Edge Personal Development Ltd
Dr Philip McGovern, Programme Leader – Technology Management Programmes ITT
Neela Bettridge, Founding Partner, Article 13
John Orsmond, Chairman Data Vantage Group
Peter Medway
Paul H Ray, sociologist, USA
Tim Pidsley, director Tricordant, New Zealand
Dr Timothy Wadsworth, NHS
Dr Bruce Tofield, University of East Anglia
Warwick Mansell, freelance journalist and author Education by Numbers: the Tyranny of Testing
Professor Tom Keenoy, The University of Leicester School of Management
Bill Cooke, Professor of Management and Society, Lancaster University Management School
Dr Leslie Budd AcSS MCIT MCILT, Reader in Social Enterprise, Open University
Ken Starkey, Professor of Management and Organisational Learning, Nottingham University Business School

(2) Follow-up letter from a key figure in the campaign, Philip Whiteley, on behalf of 80 signatories

29 June 09

Dear Mr Rusbridger, Mr Mulholland

We write to register a double protest over the unjustified decision to drop the Simon Caulkin column, and your refusal to acknowledge the wave of anger that this decision has provoked.

Some 60 distinguished figures, including some of the most influential people in the world of business and management education, jointly signed a letter condemning your decision. You did not publish this, nor even give any of us the courtesy of an acknowledgment. In addition to this jointly signed correspondence, we know that over 200 people have individually registered their protest. The only letter to appear was mildly expressed. In short, you have seriously misled your readers over both the nature and extent of the protest, and of the support that Simon commands.

The Guardian/Observer has a strong tradition of respecting and upholding the principle of freedom of speech and dissent, so we find it shocking to be denied a space for an entirely legitimate argument, made by some of your (previously) most loyal and long-standing subscribers.

Doubtless you have made this move on business grounds; but you appear to have made no calculation of the business consequences of this decision. The supporters of this campaign are not just any readers, but long-standing subscribers who have passed on the habit of reading the Guardian/Observer to friends, colleagues, children and (given the number of professors and authors co-signing) to students and readers also, but who are now reconsidering their loyalty.

Questions of governance and management do not constitute a side issue to those of economics and politics: quite the reverse. It is the culture of management that has led to chronic waste in the public sector and the banking crisis in the private sector. Simon Caulkin possesses a deep understanding of the underlying causal factors of these crises.

Since we began this campaign, the extent of the protest has grown, as can be seen by the extended list of signatories to this letter.

If there is a necessity to drop pages, we urge you to move Simon’s weekly contribution to the main section of the paper.

Yours

Philip Whiteley
On behalf of over 80 signatories (see list below)

Cc
Will Hutton
Polly Toynbee
Dan Roberts
Liz Forgan

Signed by:
Ricardo Semler, entrepreneur and author
Andrew Campbell, Director, Ashridge Business School
Philip Whiteley, chair Human Capital Forum
Dennis Tourish, Professor of Leadership and Management, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University
Susan White, Professor of Social Work, Department of Applied Social Science, Lancaster University
Su Maddock, Director Whitehall Innovation Hub
Petra Wilton, Director of Policy and Research, Chartered Management Institute
Joe Lamb, Emeritus Professor St Andrews University
Professor Jonathan Michie, President, Kellogg College, University of Oxford
Susan Scott-Parker OBE, chief executive of the Employers’ Forum on Disability
Professor Chris Brady, Dean, BPP Business School
H. Thomas Johnson, Professor of Business Administration Portland State University, USA
Professor Christopher Grey, Head of Industrial Relations and Organizational Behaviour Group, Warwick Business School
Mark Goyder, Director Tomorrow’s Company
Alistair Mant, Chairman, Socio-technical Strategy Group, Adjunct Professor, Swinburne University of Technology (Melbourne)
Hilary Wainwright, Co-editor Red Pepper magazine, Fellow Centre for Participation Studies, Bradford University
Ismail Erturk, Senior Lecturer in Banking, The University of Manchester
Charlie Hedges, Chartered Geologist
Dave Wastell, Professor of Information Systems, Nottingham University Business School
Professor Martin Parker, University of Leicester
Gary Kirwan, Senior Employment Relations Adviser, Royal College of Nursing
Howard Clark, The Systems Thinking Review
Jim Standen, Director, Lignum Quality Services
Professor Bob Galliers, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Bentley University, Massachusetts, USA
David Davies, Director Didero Ltd
Nigel Nicholson, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, University of London
Clive Bone, Chairman, Institute of Value Management
GD Cox
Professor Anthony Hopwood, Said Business School
Alison Widdup, Managing Director, Better for Everyone
Fred John, Estates Officer, NHS.
Roy Madron, political scientist, UK/Brazil
Dr Richard Howells, Director, Centre for Cultural, Media and Creative Industries Research School of Arts and Humanities King’s College London
Max Mckeown, Strategist and Leadership Innovation Expert
Sally Garratt, Director Garratt Learning Systems
Bob Garratt, Visiting Professor Cass Business School, London
Andrew Sturdy, Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Associate Dean, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick
Dr Martin Parker Professor of Culture and Organization, Director of Research and Deputy Head of School Editor-in-Chief of ‘Organization’ University of Leicester School of Management Leicester
Dr Gordon Pearson, Keele University
Jan Gillett, Chairman PMI
Dr. Mihaela Kelemen, Professor of Management Studies
Ian Christie, Associate, Green Alliance, Visiting professor, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey
John Carlisle, Visiting Professor Sheffield Hallam University, Founder, Cooperation Works Ltd and the Intlizyo AIDS Trust, South Africa
Morice Mendoza, editor and writer
Dr Olivier Sykes, Department of Civic Design, University of Liverpool
Ron Glatter, Emeritus Professor of Educational Administration and Management, The Open University
Bob Bischhof, Chairman – Vitalize Health Products, Non Executive Director – Henderson Eurotrust Plc, Member of Board – German British Chamber of Industry and Commerce
Dr Paul Hodgkin, Chief Executive, Patient Opinion
Alastair Mitchell-Baker, Director Tricordant Ltd
Adam Hogg, Managing Director, (Retired) Conquest Inns
Simon Hollington, Director, Leading Edge Personal Development Ltd
Dr Philip McGovern, Programme Leader, Technology Management Programmes, Institute of Technology, Tallaght, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Neela Bettridge, Founding Partner, Article 13
John Orsmond, Chairman Data Vantage Group
Peter Medway
Paul H Ray, sociologist, USA
Tim Pidsley, director Tricordant, New Zealand
Dr Timothy Wadsworth, NHS
Dr Bruce Tofield, University of East Anglia
Professor Tom Keenoy, The University of Leicester School of Management
Bill Cooke, Professor of Management and Society, Lancaster University Management School
Dr Leslie Budd AcSS MCIT MCILT, Reader in Social Enterprise, Open University
Ken Starkey, Professor of Management and Organisational Learning, Nottingham University Business School
Kieran Doyle, General Manager Production at Sulzer Pumps UK Ltd
Dr Luke Mitcheson, Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Paul Buxton, Policy Officer, Crawley Borough Council
Roger Evans
Martin Meteyard (former Chair, Cafedirect plc)
Christopher Bird Owner, IT U Consulting Group
Laurence Barrett Associate Management Consultant
Paul Hodgkin Chief Executive at Patient Opinion
Bob Birtwell Tutor at University of Surrey
Andrew Campbell Director at Ashridge
Kathy Sheehy Williams Programme Manager at WEA
Rob Worth
Natascha Wolf, self-employed writer
Paul Summers, Corporate Programme Manager, Portsmouth City Council
David Kauders, Partner, Kauders Portfolio Management
Dave Kerr, Business Improvement Manager, Atkins
Paul Barratt, PMBprod
Kate Gott, PhD Student, Brunel Business School
Kevin Cryan, Analyst at DHL
Donal Carroll Associate at Open University Business School & Director at Critical Difference
Tim Casserley, Discovery Alliance & Edge Equilibrium & Author
Emma Langman, Head of Business Improvement at E Squared Thinking Ltd and Visiting Fellow in Systems at University of Bristol

(3) Reply from Observer editor, John Mullholland (by email)

1 July 2009 [by email]

Dear Phil Whiteley

Thank you for your letter and I must apologise for the delay in responding.

Simon Caulkin is a tremendous writer and his column has added enormously to our understanding of British business and management. For these reasons, the decision to lose the column was not taken lightly. It followed much discussion and only after exploring many different options did we reluctantly conclude that we had to take this course of action.

As you will doubtlessly appreciate, this was just one of a host of difficult decisions we have had to make in order to reduce costs across the newspapers at Guardian News and Media.

Newspapers and media groups are experiencing the most difficult trading conditions imaginable. Not only are we suffering, like everyone else, from the catastrophic fallout from the credit crunch in terms of severely reduced advertising revenues but, additionally, our industry is under structural assault from digital media which is causing enormous disruption to our business models.

In these circumstances, we are having to make extremely difficult decisions many of which have caused real anguish as we seek to cut costs. I do hope that Simon can continue to have a relationship with the paper and that we can continue to publish his writing from time to time. Should the economic climate change, then perhaps we can revisit the issue.

Thank you for taking the trouble to write and I completely understand your sense of loss but hope you can appreciate the dilemmas we are facing.

Yours sincerely
John Mulholland
Editor
The Observer

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#FollowJourn: @markcrail/managing editor

August 17th, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Recommended journalists

#FollowJourn: Mark Crail

Who? Managing editor for XpertHR

What? Editor, writer, researcher on HR, pay and employment for B2B title

Where? @markcrail

Contact? mark.crail [at] rbi.co.uk

Just as we like to supply you with fresh and innovative tips every day, we’re recommending journalists to follow online too. They might be from any sector of the industry: please send suggestions (you can nominate yourself) to judith or laura at journalism.co.uk; or to @journalismnews.

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OUT-LAW.com: Google not liable for defamation in snippets, rules Eady

July 20th, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

Google is not liable as a publisher even if ‘snippets’ (the summaries contained in its search results) contain libellous words, a high court ruled last week.

The search engine’s UK and US divisions were sued in England by a training business over comments about its distance learning courses made on a US web forum – an excerpt of which then appeared in search results for the firm.

“Google said that Google Inc. should be sued in California, not England. But even if England is the proper forum, it argued, Google has no responsibility for the words complained of, and therefore there is ‘no reasonable prospect of success’ which is a requirement of rules on serving lawsuits outside the court’s jurisdiction,” reports OUT-LAW.com.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Eady made some additional, significant comments (close to this writer’s heart):

“There appears to be no previous English authority dealing with this modern phenomenon (…) Indeed, it is surprising how little authority there is within this jurisdiction applying the common law of publication or its modern statutory refinements to Internet communications.”

Full story at this link…

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Guardian: Columnist fired for reviewing leaked Wolverine film sues Fox News

July 8th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal

Roger Friedman, the former Fox News columnist who was sacked after reviewing a leaked copy of the last X-Men film, is suing his former employer for a reported £3 million ($5 million) in damages.

Friedman’s dismissal on April 4 was followed by a statement from News Corp, which said the company had ‘zero tolerance for any action that encourages and promotes piracy’, the Guardian reports.

But the writer claims his review was ‘tacitly cleared’ by his editors.

Full story at this link…

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Could a new project rise out of the Newspaper Education Trust’s ashes?

July 7th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Training

As reported on Journalism.co.uk, we said farewell to the Newspaper Education Trust last night. A small gathering at Westferry Printers on London’s Isle of Dogs closed the door on a project that had run for 15 years and given over 30,000 schoolchildren a taste of the newsroom. I have written before about the project’s closure shortly after I heard about it in June, and said then that the failure to provide the funds to keep this project going was an indictment of the trade. Last night’s event reinforced that view.

The enthusiasm with which the kids embraced their ‘day in the newsroom’ and the effect it had on their confidence can’t be overestimated. When I described the project as ‘inspirational’ I was conscious that overuse has devalued the word’s currency, but it is appropriate in this case. Reading the testimonials from the kids backed this up, and hearing tales of proud parents mounting their child’s front page in gold frames which took pride of place at home provided further insight into what this meant.

I only met the project’s dedicated chief executive Anna Pangbourne earlier this year, when she approached me after a debate at Publishing Expo and explained what the NET did. That it has been going for 15 years and provided so much for so many is thanks to the work and backing of the project’s staff, but also the backers and the trustees. So I don’t want to be too critical, especially as someone who came to the NET late. But looking at those backers I wondered how it was that, even in these recessionary times, these organisations could not find the relatively small amounts required to keep the project going. Especially when the NUJ, with access to considerably more meagre resources, did pledge some money as I helped Anna in a last push for finance.

It all came to an end very fast. When I spoke to Anna in March she mentioned a potential funding problem. Three months later the NET was wound up. I should emphasise I don’t want to come across as critical of anyone who has helped the project throughout its 15 years – without their efforts and support it wouldn’t have existed in the first place. And yet…

Here we had a resource with cutting edge equipment – the NET used Smart boards long before many media groups – which demonstrated both the power of the media and how it could empower people. It sparked schoolchildren’s imagination by involving them in the process of investigating, questioning and creating, and boosted their confidence by encouraging them to follow up their judgments. This is the generation who, we are led to believe, do not recognise the difference between journalism and simply communicating, whose blogging and Facebooking and video gaming and digital dexterity means all existing media will be swept away and replaced by a vast communal conversation. And yet here they were, valuing the process of checking, standing up stories, working out how to present information to target readers – creating the very media too many in the trade display such a depressing lack of confidence in.

At the closing event, the ‘move to a digital age’ was cited as one reason why the decision to wind up the NET on a high was taken. And yet the NET had not only embraced digital production technology for print, it had also began to offer basic TV bulletin courses in its media studio. Plans for expanding into podcasting and greater use of converged media were also being made. That all sounds very much like moving to a digital age to me.

One of the NET’s many achievements has been to pass on the legacy of its work, and the Tower Hamlets Summer University will be taking on some of the kit and course framework to offer its students. I’m talking to the Summer Uni about the possibility of linking up with London’s journalism colleges, and with the Summer University model now being taken up across London and beyond there is a chance that what the NET started can be taken on and built on a much wider scale.

Why is all this important? There’s an obvious answer, and a not so obvious one. If any trade wants to attract and nurture the best, it needs to inspire and illuminate future generations. But this is not just about the trade getting a new workforce. Much is said about the information age, but many educators and politicians are still thinking in boxes rather than realising that communications skills are key to so much of modern life. It’s not just potential journalists who need to know how to handle media technology and process information – the ability to communicate well is more vital than ever before.

If anyone is interested in developing any of this, I’d be happy to hear from you.

This post originally appeared on MartinCloake.wordpress.com. Martin Cloake is a writer, production journalist and media consultant. His website can be found at this link.

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Deadline Hollywood Daily’s Nikki Finke: “I did not sell out”

It was reported this week that Nikki Finke has sold her media and entertainment news blog, Deadline Hollywood Daily, to Mail Media Corporation – for a figure speculated to be as much as $15m. Here’s a blog post written on Tuesday by the former Newsweek writer:

“Know this: I did not sell out. I really meant it when I said that DeadlineHollywood Daily.com will continue to be an independent editorial voice  – and I would retain complete control over everything reported on the website – so that DHD’s credibility with its readers could remain intact.”

Full post can be found at this link…

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