Monday, 21 January 2008

'The conservatism of journalism students'

Martin Stabe's blog entitled 'the conservatism of journalism students' touches a nerve. He, and a few other bloggers such as Mindy McAdams and Rob Curely, believe that journalism students are 'closing their eyes to reality' - that they have a romantic attachment to traditional media. (Martin is however pleased to find that we Cardiff Journalism students blog on our lectures.)

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that some of my fellow students do have this misguided 'bah, humbug' attitude to digital media. And I've touched briefly on this before. Some turn their nose up to using a mobile phone to record content for an online feature, or think blogging is above them. I believe they are missing the point. The fact that we have the opportunity and are encouraged to use digital technology makes us both able to tell our stories in more ways to a wider audience. If that isn't enough, it (therefore) makes us more employable.
Why are some of students not embracing digital? Because it's easier not to and because the traditional media are viewed as superior. It is not helped by the fact that we choose between the magazine, print and broadcast journalism options rather than being on one unified journalism course.

How long until some of my course mates see the light? Perhaps it won't be until when they are at interviews and are asked about their experience with digital as well as traditional media.


  1. Guess which journalism students will get jobs more easily after graduating?

    Digital publishing skills are in huge demand in the industry and anyone who passes up the opportunity to experiment with these skills while at university is missing a trick.

  2. Mark, I think you're selling your course mates short here.

    People complained about the annoying bugs and idiosyncracies of Ning, the social network we were required to use for the sake of our lecture-based blogs, but I don't think anyone on the course is ignoring the possibilities of the digital age.

    As you know, we have spent a great deal of time at Cardiff learning about, chatting about and most crucially PARTCIPATING IN digital media so I think to reinforce the notion that most Cardiff journalism students are conservative when it comes to such things is very misleading (not to mention damaging to the reputation of our own course!)

    A huge percentage of our coursemates write blogs and have put a huge amount of effort into learning these new skills.

    What I'd like to see is people blogging about things other than bloging! As I see it, the medium should be used to express opinions and comment on a wide range of subjects in which the blogger has a genuine interest and not be used cynically simply to show off to employers that we have the necessary skills for the "digital age"!

    Feel free to repsond...true conversation being one of the great possibilities of the digital age and all...

  3. I still disagree Cara. Firstly, I have always said 'some' and not 'most' students aren't engaging with digital media. The fact is that some saw online lectures and classes as far less worthy and important than other parts of the course. One or two even walked out of these early! And I know for a fact that one or two don't even use social networks (other than when obliged to on Ning) and were unhappy when we were made/encouraged to join Flickr and YouTube. I find this attitude ironic considering we are constantly reminded of, and can see everyday, the growing pervasiveness of digital in the world of journalism.

    It's up to everyone to choose what attitude they have on digital media. I've chosen to embrace it because I've come to learn its value. And to clarify, this is the first blog I've ever done on blogging!

  4. Hi Mark,

    I've got to agree with Cara. I think that among diploma students those who embrace digital publishing far outnumber those who don't.

    Those who've heard comments such as Martin's above and still don't take the time to learn the skills will, as you say, realise their mistake when they come to look for jobs.