Friday, 14 March 2008


I was incensed to read an article in The Independent from Andreas Whittam Smith ridiculing the study of journalism at university. I therefore decided to write into the paper, and sent the letter to my tutor, who forwarded it around the Department of Journalism. The original comment piece from Whittam Smith can be found here:
"Media studies is no preparation for journalism"

My letter was as follows:

SIR: I am afraid that Andreas Whittam Smith is simply out of touch ('Media studies is no preparation for journalism', 25 February). I’m reading journalism at a Russell Group university, and feel incensed to hear his claim that journalists "cannot believe that what they do is worthy of academic consideration". What would he say about the wide variety of media journals and texts, and are media critics just wasting their time? That seems slightly contradictory in a paper with a weekly media supplement. Things have changed since Smith was at Oxford, and it would be interesting to find out how many of his younger colleagues on The Independent read journalism at university before arriving at the paper.

Smith has got his facts wrong too. The assumption that "journalism has no formal training that is a condition of entry" is clearly false, as most journalists have to pass a range of NCTJ exams to write for almost every newspaper - whether these come from a 12-week or 3-year course. Perhaps he has a point saying “media studies is no preparation for journalism”, but this is because media studies is a theoretical subject. However what harm can studying and practicing journalism at a top university do to your writing ability? I’d like to say that it has certainly improved mine.


So that was that rant over. Otherwise, I was very pleased with a story about a Sheffield student who ended up with titanium plates in his jaw after being punched at Union night, Tuesday Club. Not pleased about what happened to him - pleased that it was a good story. This made the Sheffield Steel and also The Star newspaper - see below for more:

"Tuesday Clobber" (Sheffield Steel, 22/2/08)
"Student's jaw shattered in club attack" (The Star, 28/2/08)

And here's another story about government proposals that could drastically change freshers' week as we know it...

"Freshers' week bingeing binned" (Sheffield Steel, 22/2/08)