Saturday, November 5, 2011

Degree of Irrelevance

A PROFESSIONAL journalist, who asks not to be named, has written to share some thoughts about twittering from court and, of greater interest to parents with children who fancy tertiary courses in journalism, the slim chance they will find jobs upon graduation:

“….Journalism courses started when the old Arbitration Commission gave the AJA a nice pay increase in the late 1960s and commented that it would be easier to justify if degree courses were available to establish credentials as “a profession” not a craft. The pioneer RMIT course (then a diploma) kicked off the next year and my business has been going downhill ever since. What’s so hard about reporting what you see, writing in clear English and keeping the bias out of what you write? That’s all journalism is. But if you are going to study it for four years you need to pad the topics…..

“….every uni now has a journalism school but the best journos I know of never went near one ... News orgs  are full of these grads and the real crime is they only do a single year’s on the job training! The old system made you do a three or four year apprenticeship. My partner is a nurse and sees the same thing as training moved from the ward to the lecture room: Lots of theory but trouble finding a vein.

“…daughter talked about doing journalism at Melbourne, RMIT or Monash but we talked her out of it. She went for law/history instead and if she wants to write that will be a better grounding for her. And she is more likely to get a job with a “real” degree rather than trendy crap taught by people who can’t hack in real life newsrooms ... the professors should feel guilty they are churning out thousands of grads every year when the industry isn't hiring. How do they sleep at night?"

As for twittering from court, the Mt Ink Stained Wretch notes “every first year cadet knows you have to turn off your phone in court and that doing anything except follow proceedings can be seen as contempt. My old cadet counselor used to tell us about a reporter who was smacked around by the beak for rolling a cigarette!”

As for tweeting, he sends this link, which makes interesting reading

And there is more in The Australian


  1. PhillipGeorge(c)2011November 5, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    Raold Dahl qualified as a writer by crashing a plane. And Tom Wolfe inspired a generation of fliers by first graduating in English.

    Among the most academically well qualified of all the tertiary trained are scalpel wielding surgeons; whom once accepted into a speciality have a study regime that remarkably resembles an apprenticeship.

    Morale to the story: what goes around comes around. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Common sense cannot be acedemically conferred.

    One on one, apprenticeship training has never been improved upon - ever.

    And sooner or later people will return to understanding that Theology is King of Sciences; and the very best and the brightest will have a major interest in it.

    well that's my, unqualified, opinion - a whisper over many waters - or a galloping ramble. cheers.

  2. PhillipGeorge(c)2011November 6, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    how embarrassment - two typos -
    so here is an addendum
    Roald Dahl
    and "moral to the ......"

    Ludwig Wittgenstein is credited with saying facing death in World War I [twice decorated for bravery] 'saved his life' - he might have died of boredom trying to correct Russell.
    Wittenstein is a good place to revert to when "words fail me",
    and one needs a morally cogent narrative to lift one's morale.

  3. The trouble is that 90% of the seat-warmers teaching in journalism schools are from Fairfax and ABC backgrounds and think the industry has never been so healthy ... when newspapers are slowing disappearing up their own orifices, thanks to the Google Adsense monopoly, most current journalism graduates are illiterate and can't make sentences with subjects, verbs and objects (let alone spell - speaking from experience as a journalism tutor) and are churned out without functioning ethics that are supposed to separate facts and opinions. It will take us a generation to recover from the damage being caused by the professional trash currently drawing a salary in much of the journalism industry. In the meantime, journalism consumers have never been so educated and know exactly who's bullshitting and who can be trusted and who can't. Yet huge tracts of the media elite are still preaching down to their audience, believing they're too stupid to know the difference.

  4. PhillipGeorge(c)2011November 6, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Anonymous, people preaching at you is like death and taxes.
    It will be either a Lee Rhiannon, Bob Brown or a Sheikh Omar, or a Jonathan Holmes, or a Michael Gawenda; or hopefully a David Pawson, or even more hopefully, some acerbic erudite elliptical, parabolic, hyperbolic, eccentric - funny how big geometry is with morality questions.

    Like sands through the hour glass, so are the.....

  5. As a student of theology who never studied for a degree or any other form of qualification in the subject, all I can say is that it (theology) is the most dismal waste of time ever conceived by the religious mind. God assures me that anybody caught taking it seriously is not going to get to heaven.