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Lecturers should spend more time in newsrooms too, says digital chief

HiggersonA regional digital chief has urged journalism lecturers to spend more time understanding the modern newspaper industry.

David Higgerson, left, digital publishing director for Trinity Mirror Regional, says many journalism students are not getting the work experience they expect because they are not being properly versed in how modern newsrooms operate.

His comments follow last week’s article by former Northcliffe editorial director Alan Geere calling on fiftysomething ex-journalists to spend time in modern newsrooms – claiming they are spectacles to be “marvelled” at.

On his blog, David said Alan’s experience echoed similar stories he had heard from academics and ex-editors after recent newsroom visits.

He wrote: “All too often we get people coming to us on work experience who end up by saying ‘It’s not at all how I was told it would be at university.’

“There are exceptions of course, such as students who have learnt from people like Andy Dickinson [of the University of Central Lancashire], Paul Wiltshire [of the University of Gloucestershire] or Paul Bradshaw [of Birmingham City University] to name but three academics who spend time understanding a modern industry and how they can equip their students to thrive in it now.

“And it’s the universities which put stock on how much time their teams spend in our industry which produce the students most likely to flourish in our industry.

“It’s not about rose-tinted glasses when looking at our industry. It’s about making sure the sepia-tinted ones aren’t colouring your view either.”

David concluded: “So next time someone tells you local journalism isn’t what it once was, ask them when they last spent time in a local newsroom beyond a fleeting hour for a meeting or two.

“Far too often the answer will be a good while ago. And that’s a real shame.”

4 comments

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  • September 18, 2017 at 9:44 am
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    Hmm, has Mr Higginson got any newsrooms left? Or even staff to staff them? Pot? Kettle?

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  • September 18, 2017 at 10:46 am
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    Agree with David’s comment 100 per cent. Doctors, emergency services; etc have to keep their skills up-to-date and so do teachers / lecturers. Times change.

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  • September 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm
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    I completely agree, but, editorial staff should also spend time in the ad department and vice versa.

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  • September 18, 2017 at 2:18 pm
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    Mr Higgerson perhaps needs to spend time in modern Universities!
    He will find academics not only fully conversant with modern news practices, but also leading the way in developing skills and innovation in multimedia news gathering and dissemination.

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