Friday 8 April 2011

'Close all journalism colleges' says MacKenzie

Fresh from duffing up the Guardian in the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie launches another broadside at journalism colleges in the Independent today.

MacKenzie, who admits to gaining one 0-level, repeats his call for all journalism colleges to be closed down.

He claims: "There's nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can't learn in just one month on a local paper. You cover a car crash, what's there to know? A golden wedding? A court case? University may be enjoyable: you make friends, drink a lot and occasionally turn up to lectures but you don't need any of those things to be a journalist. With the possible exception of the alcohol."

MacKenzie adds: "The best way to become a journalist is to go down the route I was forced to follow as not only did I not sit A-levels I only got one 0-level despite taking 15 of them over two different examination boards. Only a special kind of talent can achieve that result.

"So my advice to any 18-year-old is try and achieve three decent A-levels, go to a local paper, then to a regional, and then head out on to nationals or magazines by 21-22...Learning on the job may be a highwire act but it will be a lesson you will never forget compared with listening to "professor" Roy Greenslade explaining why Wapping was a disgrace. No amount of academic debate is going to give you news sense, even if you have a PhD. It's a knack and you've either got it or you haven't."

He also claims: "There are more than 80 schools in the UK teaching journalism. These courses are make-work projects for retired journalists who teach for six months a year and are on a salary of £34,000- £60,000. Students are piling up debts as they pay to keep their tutors in the lifestyles they're used to. I'd shut down all the journalism colleges today. If you want to be a print journalist you should go straight from school and join the local press."

  • The trouble with the local press route into journalism is how are regional newspapers going to take on trainees when they are cutting staff? Look at today's news. Midland News Association, publisher of Britain's biggest selling regional, the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star, is planning 90 redundancies. (see post below).
  • MacKenzie first called for all "waste-of-time media colleges" to be closed in his Sun column last July.

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