Don’t believe it all, Find out for yourself, Check before you spread, News of the World

And The Jam there, introducing what is the second of tonght’s blogs.

If you’re looking for the usual, normal (?), blog, it’s immediately below and I’m frightened about what it reveals about me, Johnt850. Let me know what you think of me after you read it. Gulp.

This one is for those more journalistically inclined but there’s nothing to stop you reading both. Enjoy.

No. A number of students had mailed me or spoken to me worried about the jobs market for when they finish their degree. It’s not been helped, apparently, by lecturers from other disciplines, saying there were no journalistic jobs. Plus I’ve spoken to parents and similar people who’d be quite keen on their sons and daughters using their degrees to be management trainees in the retail sector or English teachers…and there’s nothing wrong with either. But you want to be journalists or writers, so let’s keep with that dream.

So when I read that Nick Davies, author of Flat Earth News was speaking at the Mitchell Library. Idecided to go. I hope, dear people, that his book is on the reading list of every student journalist and since you ask, chapter ten…No. Not me, but a London based journalist with whom I worked quite a lot. What Jo Ann did does not make her a bad person.

I got the impression from a piece in the NUJ mag, The Journalist, that he was optimistic about the future (and you all are student members of the NUJ aren’t you, cos if we’re to protect jobs then we should be supporting the Union) but he said, “Journalism, as an industry, is dying.” Oops. Throw into that, the bad news of redundancies from many newspaper groups, and his colleague on the day, Robert Fisk’s distrust of the internet, and it looks bad. But yet….

If things are that bad, then why the day before, did the Radio Academy play host to a conference called “Foot In The Door” to tell College students of the opportunities in the media? Because they are always looking for talent. And look at the listing for that conference. Everyone of those people mentioned is a potential contact for a future job. And to those I’m trying to help with some visits’n’stuff, I’ll be in touch soon.

It’s the same every time you hear an editor’s name mentioned. Put them in your contacts book or folder. 

But think about what you have to offer. A good degree is good, but a good degree with cuttings from your student newspaper, or The Skinny or Scotcampus, is even better. Are you working for Sub City radio or hospital radio or student TV? Do you, and your mates, have your own website?

And this is a big thing for me. First of all, let’s remember that the bad news has been written by men and women in suits with journalism training (I don’t have a suit yet. I’m waiting for news of a shopping trip). It has then been pondered over by people in newsrooms before it hits our screens or our streets. There are still people out there doing journalistic jobs.

Plus look at how often, these days, BBC NEWS and the other channels have dotCom or dotNet people in to analyse the news. Websites are important and, I think it’s important that you use them and draw them to peoples’ attention. I’ve mentioned before but there’s nothing to stop you thinking about contributing to it, showing it to your politics lecturer and then adding that to your CV. One of the most impressive things I’ve seen recently from that POV was a student who had had to take a year off and showed me a scrapbook with her cuttings from a local newspaper. Brill. Champion hairdressers are what people want to read about. Seriously. It’s news.

I saw another one today which was a football website, called The Away End. Not only did I recognise the name of one former Met student but at least one name from Glasgow Caley Uny who was one of last year’s contenders for The Write Stuff. Incidentally I looked at last year’s contenders and there was a name I didn’t recognise from the Met. Rules are meant, at the very least, to be tested, if not broken. Trust me.

I know some Glasgow Uny students who are thinking of doing something similar websitedly cos they feel there’s a gap in the market. But I’m also aware that Glasgow Uny SRC’s position of V/P for Media and Communication (with £15,000 sabbatical salary) was reported as not having a single applicant – a brilliant opportunity to meet the great and the good in Scottish media. But there’s nothing to stop you and your mates getting a website going for your community.


There will be television jobs coming up with the independent companies who make programmes for the BBC such as The Weakest Link and Question Time. They will be moving much of their production to Glasgow in two or three years time. These jobs will be as researchers for audience and competitors. It gets you in. So does applying for tickets for TV and radio programmes being recorded at Pacific Quay.

I’m re-introducing myself, after a couple of years of well documented health issues, to many of the people who might be able to help you as well as me, and I’ll continue to pass on some things like the EITF as and when I know of them, but you’ve got to help me. Feedback is good. Why didn’t you apply?

What I also think is good is seeing journalism students at things like the Nick Davies and Robert Fisk event today. I met one Glasgow Uny student, Hannah, who was there cos she was doing a Politics essay on conflict resolution. That’s hunger…that’s why it was good to see one former Met student make the journey through from Edinburgh Napier.

I know many of you have jobs, and there are students I know, particularly those near me, who have been working in supermarkets for so long that they have better pensions than me and they have probably been offered the chances of full-time and forever work there. Me? I lived in rented flats near Glasgow Uny and worked one summer in a boys’ home in the South side of Glasgow. It was my entree to the world of Glasgow crime and gangs and how to shoplift without being caught.

Ach, you’ll have been told many of these things in classes like Preparing for Employment. Maybe this is all just a wee reminder.

No. I do believe the work is still out there. I have to. I’m looking for it as well. I’ll keep you posted. You do the same. It’s only fair.


Johnt850 (NUJ membership no. xxxxxx I’ll need to get a new pic. I look soooo much younger these days, but it’s not a diet I would recommend!

One Response to “Don’t believe it all, Find out for yourself, Check before you spread, News of the World”

  1. johnt850 Says:

    And since I wrote the above, I’ve now read the Sunday Herald p48. The second last para caught my eye.

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