Tuesday, 12 April 2011

In defence of Kelvin Mackenzie

I feel I have to show some sort of support for Kelvin Mackenzie.

Yes, it's true, the man dubbed a "dinosaur" for his opinion that journalism courses at universities etc should be culled.

Kelvin, you have my support. It isn't worth shit, but you have it.

Having worked alongside, been in charge of and worked under people coming in to a newsroom straight from a university course, I can honestly say that all of them, 100 per cent of them, would have been better had they spent those three years working.

I'm sure not all journalism students are lazy, or do it because they want to be on the telly "like that one off've BBC Breakfast", or because they want to "write about football", but let's be honest here, those are the aspirations of many, many of these graduates.

Taking my own experience as a snapshot, less than 20 per cent of journalism graduates I have encountered had anywhere near 100wpm shorthand.

In three fucking years?

Yet I know trainees, in fact I was one, who worked full time on a newspaper and achieved that golden target in less than four months.

It's a fucking shambles to expect anyone who actually works in newspapers to buy the fact that it takes three years, in fact, that it takes three months, to do some basic training and get out there.

Yes, there has been a lot of loud-mouthed blabbering from some quarters, but don't take them all at their word, because you'll find those shouting loudest at Mr Mackenzie have a vested interest in journalism courses.

The other day I noticed a story which summed up my instant distaste for journalism as a 'course', a 'subject' to be studied.

"Half the journalism courses on offer at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham are to be axed as part of a cost cutting measure.

"The university’s BA undergraduate degrees in Motoring Journalism, which claims to be the only one of its kind in the UK, and Leisure Journalism, launched in September 2009, have both been closed to new entrants in the face of financial pressures and low market demand."


"The university runs four journalism courses, the other two in Sports Journalism and just Journalism alone."

Now what the fuck is all that about?

Okay, you could just about get away with a one-year course entitled 'Journalism', so long as those taking it actually passed any fucking exams and got their shorthand, and that included at least two days a week working in a newsroom.

But Motoring Journalism? Really? And Leisure Journalism? Fuck me.

These courses are actually costing money, tax payers' money, to fund and support.

So before you fall in to line and join those slating Mr Mackenzie - who, remember, was not long ago someone who had the power to hire and fire a lot of fucking journalists on a daily basis (go figure that the next time some 'journalist' who has done fuck all comes to your college and tells you how well you're doing) - ask yourself what, exactly, the people taking Leisure Journalism are learning that a Journalism student isn't, and vice versa.

And quite what the fuck a Motoring Journalism course entails is completely beyond me.

However, feel free to follow me on Twitter, @haplesshack, and tell me why I'm wrong. Go on, I dare you...

Soon, I'm hoping to be on Facebook. Why? I have no idea, but apparently it's the thing to do.

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