Who Would be a Journalist?

Writing for a living can be a dangerous game. Loved by some, loathed by others, journalists need a thick skin in order to survive.

Over the last 16 months the newspaper industry has faced unprecedented criticism. Lord Leveson’s inquiry into the practices and ethics of the press has brought to light industry scandals the likes of which have never been seen before.

Shoot the Messenger

But no matter what the Leveson report advises later today, the reputation of the British press has been damaged. For many in society a journalist is now treated with more suspicion and fear than ever before. The black sheep of writing, they have always been first in the queue for the slaughter house – just never with a jeering crowd watching everything unfold.

Times are Changing

It wasn’t so long ago that being a roving reporter was a dream shared by many school leavers and graduates. Blogging and social media platforms have helped many natural journalists find their writing voice – even if they themselves won’t use the ‘J’ word when they describe what they do. Yet according to the University Colleges and Admissions Service (UCAS) applications for undergraduate Journalism courses are down 19 per cent. Perhaps more worryingly, some regional newspaper groups have started to advertise traditional reporting jobs as ‘administrative’ – employing Multi-Media Assistants to ‘gather and prepare content’. Apart from having to somehow survive on low wages starting at just £13,400 you have to wonder if they too would be affected by Leveson’s recommendations.

Call it what you like, journalism will always exist in some form or another. What’s more, reform is needed if the UK press is ever to recover from the startling events over the last few years. Rogue reporters are the wolves of the pack. Their presence may be small but the only way to stamp them out is to find a way to bite back.

Are you a journalism student? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below

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