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Give Gerry Kreibich a nice Christmas surprise

Former journalism lecturer Gerry Kreibich is appealing to his old students to come forward with their memories of life at Richmond College.

Gerry taught in Sheffield for around 18 years and is putting together his memoirs for a new book charting the pioneering days of journalism lecturing.

Tentatively titled It’s a great Intro…, the book has ten chapters on paper already and Gerry is looking to include a chapter of student memories.

Former trainees include Tim Blott, Glasgow Herald & Times managing director, BBC environment and science correspondent David Shukman, Ipswich Star editor Nigel Pickover and television presenter Jeremy Clarkson. And there’s also HoldtheFrontPage publisher Patrick Astill.

Gerry, (71), said: “Everyone seems to have some overriding memories of the college, whether it’s sitting in the canteen looking at the girls go by or lugging the typewriter in for the old prof test.

“I’ve been asking people to contribute just 100 words – and there have been some crackers so far.”

The idea of the book is to cover the early days of journalism lecturing under the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

The college, which was first called Richmond and later Stradbroke, was among the pioneers.

Gerry said: “At 38 I was a provincial newspaper man through and through. On the Friday I was working in newspapers and then on the Monday I’d begun as a lecturer.

“I’d worked on the Warrington Guardian, Manchester City News, Newark Advertiser and Derbyshire Times.

“I’ve also been editor of the Matlock Mercury for three years – a very exciting time. Journalism was my life and my living and always has been.

“The teaching was quite laid-back – the NCTJ gave loose guidelines at the start – and it was great fun.

“We were making it up as we went along and proved that what we did actually worked.

“Things have changed a little. When we set up there were not so many courses around and I used to tell that year’s intake that it would be hard work, but they’d get a job at the end of it. Some would get more than one job offer, but the number of courses and qualifications has changed all that and there aren’t enough newspaper jobs for all those who get through their exams.”

Contact Gerry (pictured): he’s on gerry@kreibich.freeserve.co.uk.

And here are some that have been sent in already:

  • Nigel Pickover (now Evening Star editor in Ipswich): ‘I was a sponsored trainee, sent to college by the local evening title, The Star, but my first taste of real journalism was the pocket-sized Richmond Reporter, bought by students and staff in its hundreds. We broke stories later picked up by the nationals, we ruffled many feathers in college, we had many good laughs – and we learned the awesome power of the printed word…
    ‘We worried about a fellow student who rarely turn up for lectures. It turned out he had used bogus certificates to blag his way on to the course, and he was rumbled when he didn’t turn in for the umpteenth time after a night shift at the local Batchelor’s pea-processing factory…’
  • Richard Keeble (now professor of journalism at the University of Lincoln): ‘It was an odd experience for me. I had been employed straight from Oxford University in 1970 as a sub on the Guardian Journal in Nottingham. The course was, in effect, introducing me to vital skills I had somehow avoided… I was predicted to do well in the Proficiency Test, but I failed it first time…’
  • David Shukman (now a widely-travelled BBC reporter): ‘I arrived in a mood of profound cynicism.
    ‘My long-held dream of being a journalist had not involved sitting in a classroom listening to lectures – I was eager to get out into the real world, ideally on a distant foreign assignment. But back then I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and I soon realised that the people around me – teaching staff and fellow students – could enlighten me in ways I’d never imagined…’
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