Tuesday, 21 July 2009

High cost of training is making journalism a profession for the middle class elite

The fact that journalism has become a middle class, graduate profession as the Unleashing Aspirations report is expected to show today is not news.
The Guild of Editors produced a report years ago showing that school leavers were no longer entering journalism at the local level and entrants were increasingly middle class - the story was headlined in Press Gazette "Middle Class Spread".
As Alan Milburn, who chaired the panel of experts who wrote the report on the barriers facing entries to professions, said on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning there was a time when someone could start as a messenger boy and end up as a Fleet Street journalist.
The switch to graduate entry into journalism has been a fundamental change. But, I think there has been an equally fundamental change since then.
Tom Welsh, the first director of journalism at City University, told me that all the students on the first post-grad course in 1976 got local authority grants and had their tuition fees paid.
This is not the case now. It is the high cost of post graduate training, plus the fact that many students are carrying debts from their degree courses, which is putting up a barrier to stop students from poor families entering journalism.
Proper funding for students on post grad courses is the way to stop journalism becoming an elite, middle class profession.

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