Posts Tagged ‘young journalists’

I was very interested to read that the Press Assocation is cancelling its multimedia training scheme for this year.  As part of  fine trend of navel-gazing, the media is full of stories of newspapers that will struggle to make it through the current downturn – and so it probably should be.  After all, it’s not only local newspapers where journalists are in trouble – radio and TV journalists are in the same boat as advertising money dries up.

Of course, the first thing that needs to be done in this instance, or so the prevailing logic goes, is to cut costs. And unfortunately for promising young journalists at the start of their career, investing in new talent is not a good idea in the financial short term.  So, no investment from the PA, while I too have experienced something similar, breaking into Channel Four News last year via  a new talent scheme, but now told in no uncertain times I can’t take it any further with my degree of experience when hundreds of older, more experienced journalists are hungry for work as well.  After being made redundant when the  start-up media outlet I was at cut all non -revenue-generating staff,  I’ve been extremely lucky to recently pick up work as a freelancer on some More4 News projects – but let’s say no one in that position is in for the money or job security.

The point is, while it has always been hard to break in to a job that a lot of people simply would like to do, without the blessed hand of nepotism (I could point to some sickening recent examples), it is nigh on impossible now.  But while all the talk seems to be about news outlets making it through the recession, what state are they going to be in for the following ten years? It might be bad for new journalists who cannot break in due to the knock-on results of spending cuts, but in reality, it’s pretty bad news for media companies too.  Not investing in talent is a dangerous recipe for the future.

Some interesting articles on similar topics here, here and here


This is interesting. ProPublica, the non-profit news source with a focus on investigative journalism (‘in the public interest’), has hired a graduate from a journalism programming course.

The combination of programming and news judgement, meaning a focus on apps and interactive features, is, according to, the reason the Medill graduate has been taken on board.  It certainly seems a logical advancement for online news production. Is s/he as good at programming as working? Probably not. But the strings on my bow are all of varying tightness, if you know what I mean – and worried others will always whinge.

Should older journalists be quaking in their boots? Probably not. But any one-trick journalistic pony under the age of 40 should be – or should at least be learning. Mind you, if they havn’t seen the writing on the wall by now, there probably is no hope.

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BBC Television Centre
Image via Wikipedia

I’m glad that my days of slaving away for nothing for large media corporations are over.

When I hear news like this – that execs at the BBC won’t be receiving any bonuses this year – I feel positive.  Not because they are earning way to much money when compared to other professions (unsurprisingly, banking comes to mind), but because of the way the BBC treats junior staff.

I have no huge qualms with the BBC – and others – keeping journalists, for example, on a freelance basis.  But the fact is that when it comes to ‘work-experience’ (often more work, less experience), the BBC could not even run itself if it didn’t have access to this unpaid workforce. Each year hundreds of eager young hopefuls pile in, do a month for a patronising scrap of paper, and get spat out again. The lucky ones meet the right people and score a job. The medium-lucky ones learn a lot. And the rest think ‘you jammy bastards.’

If we’re not careful, we’ll end up having a system like Germany’s, where young people end up going from ‘Praktikum’ placement to placement until they’re thirty years old, never once offered a proper job with proper money. In Germany, across many professions, as in the UK’s media industry, this leads to one type of person being able to work in the media, and therefore journalism – ‘rich kids’ if you like, or more accurately, well-off people. What we do not need is an entire journalistic class based entirely of people who can afford to work for nothing because their parents are able to assist them through this period. As a disclaimer, I don’t think I could have got the experience under my belt I have at this point in time if it weren’t my parents lending me large sums of cash to do so. But there are plenty of others who won’t get that chance. So the more cuts for those at the top of the BBC ladder, the better. Try paying those on the first rung!

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