Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Face the music

The most powerful media owner faces a Commons media committee and it will be a compelling watch this afternoon.  My old boss Stuart Purvis was on SKY news this morning  Stuart is Professor of TV at City University where, once a year I guest edit a sequence of their live radio shows.  During the interview Eamonn Holmes asked an interesting question:

'How do you teach the students about the real world of journalism?' For instance that you might be offered a 'bung' in exchange for a story cover-up or your boss might encourage you to get in with the celeb crowd with an expense account that allows you to buy Class A drugs for them?

Purvis replied that at City they try and give the students real life scenario's and teach them how to cope with the situation.  I can vouch for this, as guest Editor on the radio station you are told to pull no punches and treat the students as you would colleagues in the real world, I hasten to add that I reminded them that this was still an exercise whilst criticising a short run show that just used some fill-copy to the end of the sequence, a film review that gave too much away and during my editorial meeting someone who was eating a sandwich whilst staring at the TV.  I told them in a real editorial meeting if you had done that in front of your Editor he would have thrown you out of the meeting, the poor kid looked shocked. 

But you can only teach so much and in an environment where sharp practice is the norm it's hard to stick up for ethical practice when nobody around you has any ethics in the first place.

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