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February 28 2012

17:28

July 26 2011

10:28

Notable moments in student journalism - Chris Spurlock's famous infographic resume and 9 more stories

Who says traditional journalism is dead? - Onlinecollegecourses.com shared their favorite post called "10 Notable Moments in Student Journalism" with me today. It is a collection of stories about students making strides in the field of journalism before they’ve even started their careers. From breaking news to becoming "Internet famous" - hope YOU will make a difference as well :-) 

Online College Courses :: (Here is one of the stories shared:) --- Everyone knows that experience working on the school newspaper is great for your resume, but if you’re Chris Spurlock, now known just as Spurlock, what you’ve learned from your work on the school paper can make you go viral. Spurlock became "Internet famous" after his infographic resume became a meme.

You like to read more about all the other 9 examples of "10 Notable Moments in Student Journalism"?

Continue to read  www.onlinecollegecourses.com

September 16 2010

15:48

NCTJ accreditation: essential or an outdated demand?

The value of industry body accreditation in journalism has been at the centre of debate this week, following a meeting of the NCTJ’s cross-media accreditation board last week, where members raised concerns about the impact of potential education funding cuts on the journalism industry.

Quoted in a report from the NCTJ Professor Richard Tait, director of the Centre of Journalism Studies at Cardiff University, argued that accredited courses must be protected in the face of cuts.

While the NCTJ is quite right to insist on sufficient resources and expertise so that skills are properly taught and honed, education is a competitive market, and NCTJ courses are expensive to run. In the likely cuts ahead, it is vital for accredited courses to retain their funding so that they are not forced to charge students exorbitant fees; otherwise, diversity will be further compromised.

Speaking to Journalism.co.uk about his comments further this week, Tait said he was voicing real concerns that courses which meet industry standards may be more at risk because of their expense:

There has been a huge expansion of courses about journalism and about the media, but not all of them are accredited. These are not real journalism courses, they are journalism studies courses. There’s nothing wrong with them at all, some of them are very good courses, but they are not a professional training of journalists.

It’s really important that whatever happens to journalism education we protect those courses that provide this professional training of the journalists of the future.

If you’re running a journalism course that does not have a digital newsroom, does not teach videojournalism or students how to report online or what podcasts are, what’s the use of that? Some universities have invested heavily in these areas. But when money gets short people will say “do we really need this digital newsroom, do we need to teach shorthand etc”. There is a danger of people saying “frankly bad courses might be cheaper”.

Just days after the meeting, Brian McNair, former professor of journalism at Strathclyde University and now working at Queensland University of Technology in Australia, happened to discuss his decision to pull Strathclyde’s journalism course out of NCTJ accreditation in 2008 in a post on allmediascotland. His comments, which were picked up by media commentator Roy Greenslade, have since prompted huge debate about the value of the body. In his post McNair said accreditation is not enough:

In a world where (…) the supply of traditional journalism jobs has fallen by as much as 30 per cent (and those that remain are scandalously low-paid), the high flying journalist of the future needs more than NCTJ certificates in Public Affairs and Media Law to get on. He, or she, needs talent, imagination, a spirit of independence, an understanding of IT and social networking and their impact on media, culture and society in general; everything in short, that the NCTJ curriculum squeezed out with its relentless stress on externally-decreed learning by rote.

Many, maybe most, successful journalists never passed an NCTJ exam. NCTJ-certified journalists are being sacked, perhaps as I write, sometimes by editors who sit on NCTJ boards and declare their allegiance to the “gold standard” of training. The old world of print journalism in which the NCTJ was formed is passing into history, replaced by content-generating users, citizen journalists and all those journalistic wannabees who make up the globalised, digitised public sphere in the 21st century.

But while Tait reiterated McNair’s call for talent to be the measure of a journalist, he insisted that accreditation is a vital tool for students:

The problem is that there are a huge number of courses which have got the magic word journalism in them. If you’re a student and you’re looking at this multiplicity of courses and trying to work out what one is up to a certain standard, that’s absolutely essential.

What you’re already seeing in journalism is that it is becoming a profession where who you know is becoming more important than what you know. It should be about talent. I think that if you don’t have the accreditation process, the rigorous approval of courses by accreditation bodies, how can the students work out what to do?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments or by voting in the poll below:

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August 24 2010

10:37

August 16 2010

10:25

August 06 2010

13:57

Are Android phones the best option for journalism students?

A few months ago I was asked what sort of mobile phone I would recommend for a journalism student. Knowing how tight student budgets are, and that any choice should have as much of an eye on the future as on the present, I recommended getting an Android phone.

The reasoning went like this: iPhones are great at certain things, and currently benefit from a wider range of applications than other mobile phones. But the contracts are expensive, the battery life poor, and Apple’s closed system problematic, for reasons I’ll expand on in a moment.

Currently, BlackBerry smartphones (apparently you can’t say ‘BlackBerries’) and high-end Nokias are probably the most popular phones for journalists. Both have excellent battery life and BlackBerry smartphones (yes, it gets annoying after the first time) have a particular strength in the way their email works.

But these are also expensive, and Symbian (the operating system for most high end Nokias) does not have a long term future, while its replacement, Maemo, has yet to build a present.

Which brings us to Android – the ‘Google’ phone – and the most affordable option for the student journalist looking at a multiplatform future.

  • With Google behind the technology, Android phones have excellent email integration – not quite as strong as a BlackBerry, but more than good enough.
  • Android’s app store – the ‘Market‘ – competes with Apple’s – and is catching up fast. Most of the must-have apps for journalists are already in there, and on this score it’s much stronger than BlackBerry or Nokia.
  • The biggest weakness is Android’s battery life, which is around the same as the iPhone (some tips on that here).
  • But apart from their affordability it is the openness of the Android platform which presents the strongest case for being the student journalist’s mobile of choice.

When I advised that student to get an Android phone, it was because I think that Android will seriously challenge iPhone both in terms of userbase (which is already happening) and app development.

Computerworld’s Jonny Evans (an “Apple Holic”) compares the situation to the struggle for the PC:

“[Apple's] insistence on a closed system means partnership deals aren’t open to it in the hardware space.

“So, where Android can deliver multiple devices for multiple niches at multiple price points to the market, Apple delivers a limited number of devices, hoping the quality of its software will make a difference. It seems to attract customers that way.

“As fellow blogger, Sharon Machlis, noted last week, the result of that strategy during the PC wars enabled Microsoft to seize monopoly-level market share on the desktop.

The game’s not over.

The same post, however, notes that “Apple’s key advantage against Android is its developer community”:

“Despite criticism of the way it curates its store, Apple does have an App Store that works, where 95 percent of apps are approved fast.

“This means developers already have a reliable and profitable route to market at 100 million iOS users – set to climb with the addition of at least 24 million more iPhone 4 users this year.

“Android developers may be able to develop more openly, but development is fragmented by the need to develop for multiple devices.”

Apple alienated parts of their community earlier this year when they released a new developer agreement. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Google provided a platform for a whole new community when it announced the launch of a tool that can only challenge Apple’s dominance: the App Inventor for Android:

“To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a developer. App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.”

For the student journalist, this tool also offers an opportunity to experiment with mobile journalism and publishing in the same way that Blogger allowed you to experiment with online publishing and distribution, or Yahoo! Pipes allowed you to play with mashups (TechCrunch’s MG Siegler compares it with GeoCities). Tony Hirst has already written a series of posts exploring how the tool works (it’s currently in invite-only beta), which are worth bookmarking.

This tool seals the deal for me – it’s the difference between doing the job now and redefining it for the future.

But what do you think? What features do Android phones lack? What advantages do other phones hold?

For the record, I use an iPhone and an old N95. I use the N95 for phonecalls, texts and streaming video (because of its long battery life) and the iPhone for web browsing and apps – particularly RSS readers, Audioboo, editing blog posts and checking comments, Twitter, and email. Each handset is with a different operator, which gives me better 3G coverage options too. I also pay for an Android phone (a HTC Magic) in my household.


August 04 2010

15:21

#TNTJ – the return of a blog and information network for young journalists

TNTJ, or Tomorrow’s News, Tomorrow’s Journalists, was set up to provide an informal blogging network for young journalists to share their experiences of the industry and debate, discuss and dissect the issues affecting their fledgling careers.

We’re relaunching the blog network under the same criteria, but with some new features planned. Every month there will be a new question or topic up for discussion. If you join TNTJ, we’d like your views on it, but we also want you to blog on your own site too to spread the word. It’s an opportunity to make new contacts, get advice and promote yourself online – you can create a user profile for all your posts on the TNTJ site.

In addition to the monthly debates, we’ll post events, opportunities, interviews and advice that we think would interest our TNTJ members. Please feel free to do the same.

To sign up, please click ‘Register’ in the sidebar or click here to register. ANYBODY can sign-up, so long as you:

1) Are younger than 30-years-old;
2) And you blog about journalism/are interested in taking part in an online discussion about journalism.

Enter your details, and soon we’ll activate your account so you can post your entry. Bear with us while we do that – it’s not an automated process, but we’ll be quick as we can.

The revamped TNTJ will be moderated by a team of young journalists, who we’ll be introducing shortly along with a question for August. You can also follow the blog on Twitter, @TNTJ.

Let’s get blogging!Similar Posts:



May 05 2010

14:44

Vicious fights and low stakes: the difficulties of covering a student election

Henry Kissinger once remarked: “University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” It is a quote regularly bandied about in the midst of student union elections, which can be bitter. Dirty politics rears its ugly head in university and college election campaigns as often as it does in mainstream politics.

We in the student media are part of the same game. The hunger for news stories which will excite our readers means that controversy created by fall-outs between candidates is often a gift. The concentration on personality involved in a student election is just the same as we have seen during this general election. We are just as likely to publicise the vicious side of a campaign in order to extract exciting stories from a game with stakes as low as Kissinger believed them to be. But is the role of a student journalist the same as those covering and commenting on parliamentary and council elections, or do student publications have different responsibilities? Similarly, is the level of responsibility that comes with unregulated student media something that should be given to student journalists?

Most university campuses in Britain are served by no more than two student newspapers, meaning that we are faced with a lack of plurality. There is very seldom the equivalent of the range of political sympathy we have across the national press. If a student paper decides to show bias towards a candidate in a student election, the effect on the electorate can be significant. Taking sides in this respect can stifle discussion and debate, giving one candidate an unfair advantage.

Student media should be careful to ensure that bias does not suppress fair coverage and debate in these elections. Student politicians standing for office deserve to have their policies scrutinised and should be open to criticism and comment from the press. It is undesirable for the student press to run campaigns similar to those we see in the tabloids, backing one party and smearing others. The media plays an important role in questioning all elected representatives and holding them to account – a key part of the democratic process.

The emphasis should be on balance. It is important for democracy that student voters are given the opportunity to read news about candidates and are given the opportunity to question them. Journalists should be allowed to scrutinise and where appropriate query policy. However, personal attacks are a hindrance to fair elections, they damage the reputation of student journalism and undermine its function.

A number of student newspapers are constitutionally bound to provide fair and accurate coverage by the students’ unions that fund them. Where these unions do have control over the paper constitutionally, they can refuse to allow the papers to be distributed on their premises.

In a recent case at Edinburgh Napier university, copies of Napier Students’ Association funded Veritas were removed from campus because they were deemed to give one candidate in the elections there an unfair advantage over another. This came only days after Edinburgh-wide student newspaper the Journal was almost removed from university buildings because of an article reporting on a motion of no-confidence in the NSA President, who was standing for re-election at the time. The decision was taken by the Association’s election committee, apparently to ensure that no bias towards one candidate was communicated to the electorate. This was an example of ‘impartiality’ becoming an obstacle – the offending article in this case did not take sides and was a standard news report. Students’ right to know the news and issues surrounding the election of their representatives was curtailed.

Student politics often suffers from a lack of engagement. During my involvement in student media, I have seen editors strive to provide the most engaging coverage of student elections, often with little response. However, student media coverage of the political process at universities is one of the ways in which the electorate are given an opportunity to connect with the system beyond the often-cliquey doors of students’ union buildings. Where reporting is responsible and legal, it should not be subject to filtering from bureaucrats who think it may be damaging.

If the students’ unions themselves are to mediate in these cases, it is essential that criticism and questioning of candidates and representatives is allowed. Most adhere to this and would only intervene in the event of a serious breach, but the existence of an independent arbitrator would also be of benefit for disputes between newspapers and unions.

The Press Complaints Commission or the National Union of Students could issue guidelines on reporting and deal with complaints before drastic measures like removing copies of a publication are taken. This would create a set of rules to be followed and give both sides a port of call when things go wrong. Student journalism would have an increased sense of responsibility and reporting would better serve the electorate, helping to curb the kind of vicious campaigning to which Kissinger refers.

Nick Eardley is deputy editor of Edinburgh University student newspaper the Journal.

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February 04 2010

14:16

Student journalism update: Sky names Bob Friend Scholar, Up To Speed awards announced

Two bits of good news for student journalists to report:

Sky News has named Daniel May as this year’s Bob Friend Memorial Scholar. As part of the scholarship, which was set up in memory of the Sky News presenter after his death in 2008, May will have his first-year tuition fees paid for by Sky, and will spend four weeks in Sky’s newsrooms over the summer.

(You can read the internship diary of last year’s scholar, Alan McGuiness at this link)

Meanwhile in Up to Speed’s student journalism competition two Reading University students took the top prizes. Biology student Georgina Mills, 20, came first, winning £250, while politics undergraduate Marcus Greenslade, 18, came second, taking £100 respectively. Both Mills and Greenslade write for the Reading student newspaper, Spark!

Third prize (£50) in the competition, which asked entrants to write an article assessing the ‘noughties’ as a decade, went to Robin Morgan, features editor of Gair Rhydd, Cardiff University’s student newspaper.

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09:39

Currybet.net: Reviewing online student newspapers

Martin Belam is taking a look at the online efforts of the UK’s student newspapers, as part of a series of posts looking at the digital journalism trainees currently in academia and those that have recently graduated.

Some great tips here from a user’s point of view about the design of the newspapers websites – one to watch for student journalists.

Full post at this link…

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January 15 2010

23:20
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