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Mackenzie under fire over ‘hopeless’ course slur

A regional daily’s reporter has defended a university’s journalism course in the wake of criticism from Sun columnist Kelvin MacKenzie.

The former editor of the red-top labelled Bournemouth University’s journalism school as ‘hopeless’ in a piece about government plans to lift the cap on tuition fees.

But senior reporter Steven Smith from Bournemouth’s Daily Echo hit back at Kelvin’s comments in a piece defending the university – where he graduated from a multimedia journalism course five years ago.

Steven said Kelvin had been a guest speaker when he attended the university and the National Council for the Training of Journalists named the university as having the best undergraduate course last year.

In Kelvin’s column, he claims the move to allow higher university fees would mean more students staying at home to study, without paying a penny for their board.

He continues: “The only good thing to come out of the Browne Report is that a number of universities will simply go to the wall.

“Hopefully it will be led by the hopeless journalism college at Bournemouth University.”

Steven’s piece says: “You’ll be pleased to know that I’m a graduate of Bournemouth’s ‘hopeless’ journalism school.

“So are several of my colleagues, as well as former classmates who now work for the BBC, Sky, Bloomberg, countless national magazine titles, news websites, radio stations and, dare I say it, public relations firms.

“In the fiercely competitive world of journalism – which has become even harder to get into in the five years since I started out – I guess we must have got something right.”

His article includes comments from previous students, including reporter Kimberly Middleton, who won two awards from the NCTJ in the summer for being the best candidate for the News Report and Logbook in her NCE.

She said: “The multimedia course was great. I learned every discipline a journalist could need, including writing for a newspaper, magazine and online as well as radio and TV skills.”

Steven told HTFP: “We did try to get in touch with Kelvin to find out why he thought it was hopeless but he has not got back to us. It seemed to be a bit of a targeted comment and we were hoping to find out why.

“As soon as I saw it, I was a bit miffed by it and quite keen to be the one to write it. To be honest, I quite like Kelvin MacKenzie but I don’t know why he has a gripe with Bournemouth University.”

Stephen Jukes, dean of the media school at the university, said: “We are one of the very best media schools in the country. We are proud of what we do and our record speaks for itself.”


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  • October 20, 2010 at 11:24 am

    Poor old Kelvin’s just jealous – he still has ink flowing in his veins – despite the paunch and thinning hair – which is good, but he’s reduced to haunting the late night paper preview on Sky News (one of the funniest sections, by the way, because he just goes off on a riff and starts jibbing the anchor) and the Good Morning sofa, which probably frustrates the hell out of him. He’s also a master of the incendiary remark, hurled in only for effect. So don’t take it personally – have a laugh and move on.

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  • October 20, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Does anyone take what Kelvin says seriously. However there are far too many hacks coming out of colleges who still can’t put together a clear, concise news report. They can do everything but write. Maybe someone should teach them before they turn up for their first proper day’s work in the real world of hacking.

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