What’s wrong with this picture?

Here’s a questionnaire from the Society of Editors which sparked a conversation on Twitter today.

Society of Editors questionnaire

So – what’s missing?

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10 thoughts on “What’s wrong with this picture?

  1. Martin Stabe

    Ah, I see the holy trinity of UK journalism training is right up there in points one, two and three.

    Conspicuously absent are: numeracy, statistics, business and economics, foreign language skills.

    Reply
  2. @adambanksdotcom

    Agree with Martin about statistics (which I’m crap at). Business and economics might be a bit ambitious for mainstream hacks – better to pick up the few bits of jargon you need than fool yourself you know anything. Foreign languages can’t be taught in journalism school.

    Research and investigation are the obvious omissions – bit of a shame since they should be 90% of the job if you’re in news, and not much less in features. Of course in the absence of subeditors, or any kind of editors, or any technical or production staff, it’s inevitably getting pushed back to 10% at best.

    Why “News writing” specifically, and no other kind of writing?

    Reply
    1. Martin Stabe

      I’m not sure why business is ambitious for “mainstream” hacks. While current conventions lead every trainee journalist, no matter their future specialism, to learn about the structure of local government, we don’t expect them to equivalent basics of the structure or performance of companies. With a large chunk of newly-qualified journalists starting out on B2B magazines rather than local papers (as seems to be assumed), this is a massive failing of standard journalism training.

      The bigger trouble with this list is that things deemed “absolutely core” squeeze other valuable things out of the timetable. The best journalists I’ve encountered in my working life have been those that with specialist skills well beyond things like media law, government and shorthand — and in many cases are completely untrained in any of those!

      I listed stats and languages because they are examples the type of “non-core” skills I strongly suspect are in far greater demand in newsrooms than the pool of graduates is able to supply.

      Reply
    1. Paul Bradshaw Post author

      That was my immediate reaction. Half a dozen types of technical production skill – but no mention of getting the information in the first place (interviewing aside – and interviewing suggests you already have a story).

      Reply
  3. Simon Pipe

    Journalists don’t need newsgathering skills: they rely on other journalists to send them out on stories. Where do the other journalists get their stories? From other journalism. Where does the other journalism get its stories? From the diary. I speak as a veteran district reporter who found his own stories, but sat in on conferences at which the news agenda was decided by (mostly young) people who didn’t actually know the facts behind the brief notes in the newsgathering grid.

    Health is a field that’s not well understood, and at least as important to general news outlets as local government. Ask the readers/viewers/listeners/users which of the two they care about most.

    Reply

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