For the Week 5 Media Futures class, we’re going to be looking at applying for jobs and how to rework and angle your CV. One of the things I want you to do is look at some current job ads and think about what kind of CV and covering letter you would put in if you were to apply.
Here’s a few ads for jobs and internships to look at:
One of the things we should get time to look at in the workshops in Week 3 is the news cycle – what drives it, and how it’s been changed by new media technologies. About four years ago, Radio 4 broadcast Making News, an interesting series hosted by The Independent’s Steve Richards on how news was changing. All of the episodes are still worth a listen, if for no other reason than it will give you an introduction to longer forms of documentary on radio, which I imagine many of you haven’t listened to that much.
Episode 2, The Endless Cycle, is a a good introduction to current debates around the news cycle. The episode focuses on how online news, in particular social media, have combined with 24 hour news channels to speed up the news cycle and create an environment in which it can be hard for journalists to step back and spend more time actually reporting and investigating stories. Things have only got worse since then, especially now that politicians and other people in power attempt to deliberately play to the speed and outrage that dominates the news cycle now.
This is something to think about in connection with ‘hamster wheel journalism’ analysed by Dean Starkman in the Columbia Journalism Review (this piece was referenced by Felix Salmon in his blog post Teaching Journalists to Read, which you wrote about in Week 1. Starkman argues that the speed of online media and the modern news cycle is squeezing out in depth journalistic storytelling. It’s quite an old post now, and not everyone agrees with him, but he makes a powerful case here.
One thing you could for next week’s class (Week 3) is read two pieces by Andrew Sullivan about blogging and consuming information and media online and make some notes about them. Ed will discuss the pieces in the class on Monday October 9th.
The pieces we want you to read are:
I mentioned ‘Why I Blog’ before – it’s from a while ago, when Sullivan was feeling very optimistic and positive about blogging and ‘thinking in public’. In the second piece, which was published last year, he takes a rather different view about online media…
Last week I asked you to start logging your media consumption and to think about how much of it was actually journalism. We’ll talk more about this on Monday during Session 2. One thing we will discuss is a deliberately provocative piece by Ralf Dobelli – Avoid News. The subtitle to the piece is ‘Towards a Healthy News Diet’ -Dobelli’s suggestion is that to move in that direction, you need to radically cut back on the news you consume.
He has also posted a kind of FAQ at the end of the piece, in the form of an imaginary interview with himself, in which he deals with objections to his idea. We’ll look at these in class and discuss them in more detail.
One of the things this module is designed to do is to get you reading/consuming more journalism. According to Felix Salmon, who used to blog about finance, journalism and online media in general for Reuters, most journalists don’t read widely enough, especially online. Have a read of his post Teaching Journalists to Read and think about what he says and whether you agree. It was written quite a while ago now – is it still relevant?
Another piece we will discuss in the first class is My Blog, My Outboard Brain by Cory Doctorow – this piece is over ten years old now – but is still relevant and interesting. Doctorow is an SF writer/online activist/blogger for Boing Boing. This is an early piece about what he gets from blogging.
One last piece we may get time to look at is Why I Blog by Andrew Sullivan – a journalist who started blogging early and built his own mini-media business. This is a piece he wrote a few years ago, when he felt very optimistic about blogging. It’s fair to say he has changed his mind a bit now – and we’ll look at a more recent piece by him later in the module.
One thing we might do today, to start things off, is look at a couple of ads for The Guardian. ‘The Three Little Pigs’ was done quite recently – in 2012 – and won lots of awards. ‘Skinhead’ was made just over thirty years ago – in 1986 – and also won awards, I think. Have a look at both and have a think about what the vision of journalism presented by each one and how those visions differ.
I’m doing a presentation on digital literacy today at the Digital Edge event at the Marylebone Campus – I’m going to talk a bit about useful strategies for working and living with media and technological change – things I’ve learned from thinking about how to teach new technical and digital skills to the Journalism students at Westminster.
A lot of my approach to this has come from Doug Belshaw and Henry Jenkins, who I namecheck in the presentation. If you’re interested in finding out more:
- Doug Belshaw’s blog is a good place to start
- His slides and presentations are online too and are really interesting
- He gave a TED talk a while back about digital literacies
- Henry Jenkins was one of the academics involved in Project New Media Literacies – their blog is a good introduction
- Edutopia has a good video interview with Henry Jenkins on how new media affects teaching and learning
- The ideas Jenkins helped formulate re core competencies for digital literacy are explored in a short report (PDF), which is worth a read
- Elearn did a good Q&A with Jenkins as well
One other thing – the SMELL test I mentioned comes from an interesting piece on the PBS website by John McManus – it’s a nice way of summing up the ways journalists try to evaluate and verify the content they research.