Tuesday, 5 February 2008


Monday was a great day. One of my university tutors emailed me at 8:44am with the following message: "Congrats on getting your eloquent letter in the Media Guardian...You tell 'em!" Suddenly I remembered that I'd emailed The Guardian last week with a comment about an article by Peter Wilby, not expecting anything to come of it, and they ended up printing it as the lead letter! I ran down to the newsagents, got two copies, and couldn't believe it when I saw my name on a national broadsheet newspaper for the first time in my life! How exciting. I emailed round many past journalism contacts, friends and family members, and it was great to hear some of their comments.

But firstly, here is my letter reprinted in full, sourced from the following address: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/feb/04/1

The importance of being well-informed
I must disagree with Peter Wilby's comment that students are only at university "to get a degree which will be a passport to a good job" (Academic exercise reveals a scary truth, January 28). I am thoroughly enjoying reading journalism studies at a great university, and this is mostly because I've tried to get involved in the subject by reading media journals, a different newspaper every day, and consuming a good variety of television and radio. Perhaps I shouldn't bother, as Wilby believes Sunday papers are "doomed" anyway (October 29), and my chosen vocation is neither "a profession" or "a skill" (December 10).
But our tutors are constantly reminding us how important it is to be well-informed. Along with most of my fellow students, I believe that I can make my course far more fulfilling by doing more than just essays and assignments. Our tutors are certainly still "highly engaged with public affairs" and thankfully seem desperate to ensure that an "instrumental attitude to university life" (January 28) will be the antithesis of their students' higher education experience - including mine.
Mark Duell, BA journalism studies, the University of Sheffield

I received many comments about the letter from various people, and here is just a selection of these:

“I think his crushing criticism here demonstrates the success, in his case at least, of the selection criteria and process for admittance to the top institution in the country for journalism.”
Malcolm Hiscock (Company Watch)

“A good point well made!”
Jayne Deacon (BA Journalism Studies, The University of Sheffield)

“An interesting response”
David Duell (Barclays Capital)

“You tell 'em!”
Tony Harcup (The University of Sheffield)

“Skills, bro!”
Phill Dolby (Regional Magazine Company)

“Good Stuff!”
David Elcock (Leigh Road Baptist Church)

Kay Duell (musician)

Maria Toth (Premier Christian Radio)

Hopefully this will be the first of many more appearances in the national press! Watch this space...