Workplace not Workshop

Student reflections on the introduction of a work-based approach to the final year John Mathews, Liverpool John Moores University and Kate Heathman, Liverpool John Moores University.

Work-based or work-related learning is a cornerstone of most vocational degrees. Much evaluation of such teaching concentrates on the design and delivery of work-based learning opportunities, but what do the students think? This article describes the introduction of a new workplace simulation approach used to teach final year Journalism and International Journalism students at Liverpool John Moores University. A survey measured undergraduate responses to the ways in which students were directed in their studies as part of a live, seven-day publishing operation. The study reports on how students perceived their levels of confidence, skills, motivation, engagement and employability increased as a direct result of their involvement with the experiential learning programme. The field of research regarding work-based or work-related learning in the delivery of journalism is not extensive in a UK context and this study aims to expand the knowledge base of practical, simulated professional teaching methods at higher education level. More generally the study provides insight into students reactions to ‘authentic’ work-related learning approaches.

Workplace Not Workshop

Female politicians in the British press: The exception to the ‘masculine’ norm?

Female politicians in the British press: The exception to the ‘masculine’ norm?

Deirdre O’Neill, Leeds Trinity University and Heather Savigny, Bournemouth University

As educators of journalists we are concerned with some of the most fundamental questions about the relationship between the media and democracy, and this we argue, is gendered. Through content analysis and interviews we look at the ways in which women MPs are represented in the British Press. We show that the way in which they are reported (or ignored) positions them as different from the ‘male norm’ and this in turn has consequences for the ways in which democratic politics is written

Female politicians in the British press: The exception to the ‘masculine’ norm?

Can Universities Make Good Journalists

Richard Evans, London Metropolitan University

Journalism education in the UK has experienced a pattern of explosive growth since the 1970s without agreement over the range and scope of the subject as an academic discipline. Taught mainly by journalists who move into academia later in life, alongside skills of reporting and knowledge of law and public affairs, students can be required to develop complex sets of qualities, skills, behaviours and dispositions without detailed consideration of the attributes and behaviours they may involve. Driven by a mistrust of the critical approach of media studies to the practices of the occupation, academic qualifications are still viewed with suspicion by some practitioners who consider an aptitude for journalism temperamental and innate rather than a set of behaviours that can be taught. This action research project critically integrates academic literature on journalism and higher education with primary data from interviews conducted with a newspaper editor, two academics and a focus group of students. Data gathered suggests that a university education can develop qualities and behaviours such as curiosity, scepticism, tenacity and “news sense” through appropriate

Can Universities Make Journalists

Tracking Onslow

Taking journalism out of the classroom and the newsroom Kayt Davies, Edith Cowan University.

Commentary about shrinking newspaper workforces often conflates the financial woes facing the newspaper industry and the fate of journalism (Wake, 2013; Simons, 2013). While newspapers are clearly suffering, opportunities for best-practice journalism abound. This paper describes the application of a theory-based approach to finding authentic learning opportunities for students. The project created a new media product in a volatile setting lacking journalistic attention. It illustrates the value of taking a “first principles” approach to planning journalism activities and describes groundwork for the project that can be emulated to create fertile ground for similar ventures. The project involves journalism students researching and publishing community perceptions of local issues in the remote town of Onslow, Western Australia. Challenges the students have encountered include PR spin and editorial pressure on press independence. This paper will describe the project, the pedagogy and the implications for journalism educators.

Tracking Onslow

Dazed and Confused

From traditional gatekeeper to professional verifier: how local newspaper journalists are adapting to change

Lily Canter Sheffield Hallam University

The traditional role of the journalist as gatekeeper is being undermined and challenged in the online world where anyone with an internet connection can publish to a global audience. As a consequence the role of the journalist is being constantly redefined as the “profession” no longer holds exclusive rights to the dissemination of news to the masses. This study seeks to explore how local British journalists perceive their role in the era of Web 2.0 and how willing they are to adapt. Through interviews and observation at two local British newspapers it was possible to gain a greater understanding of the modern role of the local journalist and their professional distinctions from the public. These NCTJ qualified journalists increasingly view themselves as verifiers of news who use their training and expertise to amplify news to the wider public. Despite some initial reluctance they are largely enthusiastic about technological and cultural adaptations to their role although some are still resisting this change. There is also evidence to suggest audiences play a role in secondary gatekeeping by influencing the selection and prominence of stories on newspaper websites. Furthermore the findings seek to inform educators of the continued relevance of the professional accreditation body, the NCTJ, to an industry persistently challenged by citizen journalism.

Dazed and Confused

Everybody or Somebody

Assessing the impact of social media on newsroom organisational structures by Clare Cook, University of Central Lancashire.

With social media’s increasingly important role in fast-paced news, there is a need to identify the occupational and professional implications of social media specifically in terms of jobs and roles in newsrooms. This paper serves as a preliminary enquiry into what social media jobs have been created in newsrooms under which job titles. It explores trends associated with this and the tasks being carried out in those roles to assess the extent to which social media is ring-fenced as a responsibility. From this it is possible to query the wider impact of social media on organisational structure in newsrooms. Two main newsroom models are identified: firstly, newsrooms that place an emphasis on everyone being responsible for social media and secondly, newsrooms where social media is a specified role. The study further serves to guide social media skills for inclusion in journalism training.

Everybody or Somebody