Journalism – a profession in flux

15 10 2012

We’re not sure if there could be a more fascinating time to enter the world of journalism. The dust has only just settled on the Leveson Inquiry and now we are witnessing the Jimmy Savile/Newsnight row explode over at the BBC, with executives scurrying for cover as questions are asked about who put the kibosh on a simply huge and wide-reaching expose that  ITV must now be feeling rightly proud about airing.

Then there’s the ethical debate raised inadvertently by Sky NewsKay Burley, who shocked views across Britain during the April Jones abduction case when she told locals, fresh from the search for the five-year-old,  live on air that the case had turned into a murder enquiry, prompting entirely understandable tears and shocked silences while the camera continued rolling.

And just look at the vast array of opportunities in journalism that online editorial offers – who knew that the internet, instead of spelling the end for job opportunities offline, would actually open up a whole new vista of vacancies for writers.

The job just got more interesting too – when I was a journalist starting out in 1992 I could never have dreamt of the likes of Twitter and Facebook, now such a fertile spot for the sourcing of interviewees and stories.

There are few industries that come under the spotlight so frequently and are scrutinised by so many. Why? Because what journalists say and do during their careers can have such a huge impact on so many lives. That’s a big responsibility.

Here at Journalist Works, we watch our students arrive fresh and eager to learn the many skills that will equip them with the ability to work effectively in newsrooms and magazine offices up and down the country and internationally. They’re keen and a bit green. By the time they leave, we think our tutors and guest lecturers have opened their eyes just a little bit to what they can do with their careers, whether it’s about breaking the big stories or reporting on the runways at Paris Fashion Week.

From day one of the course, BJW staff love watching students immerse themselves in areas they might have known nothing of before. One day they’ll be sitting listening intently as a murder trial unfolds at crown court, the next vox-popping the locals on their thoughts about The Seagulls’ latest performance on the pitch. Tomorrow a national journalist might regale them with tales of the newsroom followed by a session to sharpen up their shorthand and then off to an art gallery to learn reviewing skills.

Tell anyone you’re a journalist and whether they claim to hate the profession or love it, they’ll always want to know more. And who can blame them?

 

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