AddThis SmartLayers

Horizontal Jobs Scroller

Latest Jobs Call 01332 895994 to advertise here

Ex-editor hits out at moves towards ‘news without reporters’

Oxford reportA former weekly editor has suggested regional publishers are close to the “holy grail” of producing news without reporters.

Mike Pearce, former editor of the Thanet Times, has made the claim in a new report published by the University of Oxford into the state of journalism in the UK.

The report also states journalism has now become a “fully academised” profession, with 98pc of those surveyed with three or fewer years of employment holding at least a bachelor’s degree.

A total of 64pc of those who entered the profession in the last five years had a degree in journalism or a related field, compared with 51pc of journalists in the previous five-year period.

However the report, based on a survey of 700 journalists carried out last December, found that only 41pc of all working journalists have degrees related to journalism.

Mike was among a number of current and former journalists spoken to by the report’s authors as part of the research, carried out by Dr Neil Thurman of Oxford’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

He said: “The arrival of so-called ‘citizen journalists’ means proprietors are near their holy grail of producing news without the expense of reporters.

“Training schools have closed, on-the-job training is minimal. Background stories are rarely tackled, courts go unreported, raw copy appears, unsubbed.”

The survey also found that 77pc of journalists feel their job is more influenced by profit-making pressures than five years ago, while 86pc feel the time made available to research stories has decreased.

Other key findings in the report include:

  • Half of journalists described their political views as ‘left-wing’ – around the double the proportion in the population as a whole.
  • 52pc of those surveyed now work online, more than double the number doing so in 2012.
  • 45pc see it as “very” or “extremely” important to provide news that attracts the largest audience.
  • 76% of journalists think religion has little or no influence on their work and 61% are not members of a formal faith, a lower percentage than in the general population.
  • 83% of journalists in their mid- to late-20s earn less than £29,000 while about 20% of journalists have gross yearly earnings of less than £19,200.

The full report can be read here.

14 comments

You can follow all replies to this entry through the comments feed.
  • May 10, 2016 at 9:17 am
    Permalink

    It’s a pity editors have to be “ex” before they can make comments like “news without reporters”. It just goes to show how “free” the press really is.
    And how ironic that now that the regional press is on its last legs nearly all the journalists coming into the profession are middle-class grads. When the local press was in its heyday, the intake was straight from school with many of them being working class kids.
    A bearded sociology lecturer from some north London polytechnic in the 1970s would probably comment that this shows how, in 2016, the means of communication has effectively been captured by the middle and upper classes of British society.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(8)
  • May 10, 2016 at 9:47 am
    Permalink

    I used to know that lecturer. You forgot the sandals!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • May 10, 2016 at 9:50 am
    Permalink

    Let’s not get too excited about employing grads. Many I worked with had wonderful degrees in everything but English, were very bright but never did learn to write properly. Some of them are probably running newsdesks right now.
    Since when did a degree in, say, history, make you a good writer?

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • May 10, 2016 at 10:13 am
    Permalink

    Sunset – I know a couple of excellent ‘ex’ editors who I’m sure would have plenty to say if they weren’t still gagged by their former employers.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(4)
  • May 10, 2016 at 10:39 am
    Permalink

    So much for Governments telling people to get degrees so they can then get better paid jobs. Obviously never heard of what happens re local papers and their salaries.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • May 10, 2016 at 10:41 am
    Permalink

    Since when did a degree in, say, history, make you a good writer?
    There was a time when any degree would say a lot about you. Sadly, so little time is put into most degrees these days that you can hold down a full time job while at university, though few bother. The resulting qualifications are nearly worthless. The ease with which degrees are gained also explains why the proportion of grads is increasing. The preponderance of ‘left wing’ politics is also about what one would expect.

    The ‘virtual’ world that these people live in will eventually evaporate. It will be painful but those of us who are still around will be saying “welcome to the real world”.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • May 10, 2016 at 11:15 am
    Permalink

    Ever heard the one about the south London working class boy who left school at 14 with NO exams, got a job as teaboy/messenger on a famous music paper of the time, then moved onto a national as a sport sub, became chief sub at that same paper and then sport editor? No? Well, I’ll tell you one day but for now rest assured that such a story will never be repeated in these days when a BA in Social History or some such tosh seems to be required to be a journalist.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • May 10, 2016 at 11:54 am
    Permalink

    It is democracy that is suffering with the lack of reporters, and few events actually attended ( courts and council meetings the best examples). I’m a writer specialising in agriculture and the environment based in London. I actually attend HofC committees and many other meetings. Few do. So if a regional paper wants coverage get in touch. But it is democracy that really is suffering as the authorities can hide info and make decisions no-one will ever know about!

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(5)
  • May 10, 2016 at 1:22 pm
    Permalink

    Left school at 16 with four GCSEs, wanted to become a journalist. Couldn’t get a job, was told I needed to get a degree. Eventually got into the (low paid) profession the long and expensive way round.

    The problem is in recruitment. Let’s stop employing well-meaning, polite graduates and start finding ‘diamonds in the rough’ straight from school who are eager to get stuck in. Far better to train someone up from scratch than to teach a slightly older student, new tricks.

    It’s also a class thing, people will employ those who remind them of themselves and come from a similar background. If we have less working class people in the newsrooms in the first instance, those from other backgrounds are less likely to break through. Similar reason as to why BAME communities are under-represented in journalism.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(3)
  • May 10, 2016 at 2:32 pm
    Permalink

    Nice idea, Know It All, but it won’t happen for various reasons. One is that standards of literacy among the young have been in decline for many years. I worked with veteran journalists who left school with no qualifications – but they still had a decent grasp of English. A university education doesn’t even guarantee that these days.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(0)
  • May 10, 2016 at 3:24 pm
    Permalink

    Kendo. I am with you. The finest reporter I ever worked with in nearly 40 years only had a few O levels ( and no shorthand) but could write news, reviews, court reports, sport, etc etc better than most graduates (some were superb) I came across. Most grads wanted to write essays and sadly those in charge now are some of those very same people. That is why writing style and grammar , especially on weeklies, is frankly pathetic.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(2)
  • May 10, 2016 at 3:29 pm
    Permalink

    Don’t knock grads. Sure they can’t write at first despite all their certificates, but they can be taught and they are fast learners. The problem…no old hands left to show them. Just people only a few years older than themselves still making the same mistakes they made at 22. I know, I see it in my local rag (and it is a rag) every week.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(1)
  • May 10, 2016 at 4:24 pm
    Permalink

    What a load of nonsense. You don’t need a degree to be a journalist nor a photographer. The key to the job is knowing how to ask the right questions and how to speak to people, I have worked with many people with degrees, who didn’t have any people skills whatsoever. I had to do a dreaded vox pop with a reporter many years ago who refused to approach people as they were too nervous, so I had to do it. With degrees now costing a minimum of £27k upto around £45k if living away from home, you’d be a fool spending that amount to end up in a low paid reporters job. There are cheaper ways to do it, like High Bury College in the South.

    Report this comment

    Like this comment(10)

Advanced search

View Jobs by Category

Job Alerts Please log in or register to sign up for job alerts