#EmptyShelf17 #26: Becoming Reverand by @revmattwoodcock

Becoming Reverend: A diaryBecoming Reverend: A diary by Matt Woodcock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I met Matt whilst teaching MediaLit at Cranmer Hall a few years ago – he made a comment about how pimped up my laptop was (it was a chrome covered HP) … He’s certainly a larger than life character and starting the book with an unfortunate blocking of the toilet does set the tone – Matt is definitely a lads lad, but with a real concern to bring others into contact with Jesus by BEING HIMSELF (as God made him), and to see the church grow by pioneer ministry. I recognised a few ‘characters’, laughed at some of his particular insights, and enjoyed the way he has sought to challenge himself to sit/listen/experience things that he’s not comfortable with in the name of being part of something bigger than himself.

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Ask questions of digital data

The importance of learning to ask ‘probing questions’ of digital data:

The digital revolution has led to significant changes in news reporting. One is the use of social media as a tool for gathering and disseminating information, and another is the mining of data for stories.

Data journalism is hardly new. As early as the mid-1800s, Florence Nightingale used statistics to explain conditions in the British Army. But in the past decade, the rise of personal computers and an increase in open data policies – particularly by governments – has made it possible to access and manipulate huge datasets in the hunt for discrepancies and information of public interest.

Ask any serious news editor what skills they would like to see in a new recruit and you are likely to be told that, along with the fundamentals of how to spot a story, how to verify it and how to communicate it effectively and legally, a knowledge of data journalism skills is a definite advantage. And if those skills are well developed, eager young journalists may find their way straight into the investigations team.

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Can journalism survive in an internet age?

Interesting book review:

We’re witnessing either the end of journalism or the birth of a golden age – depending on your point of view, or more likely depending on whether or not you are a journalist. This is the key theme of this fascinating study by David Ryfe, who takes what appears to be his disadvantageous position of being a journalism academic who has never been a journalist and turns it to good advantage.

After several years teaching journalism courses, Ryfe decided it was time he “got his hands dirty”, or at least watched others getting their hands dirty, by undertaking an ethnographic study of the newsrooms of three local daily newspapers. There he didn’t just watch and note but also reported on press conferences, wrote up news releases and got bawled at by angry news editors.

What emerges from his work are three differing accounts of how US newspapers, all in economic decline, have sought to come to terms with the impact of the internet and social media on both the economics of the papers and the daily news routines of their journalists. It all makes for fascinating but depressing reading: nothing that the newspapers tried seemed able to arrest what appeared to be an inevitable, internet-hastened decline.

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Breaking the News Mould @timeshighered

The fragile balance between journalism and academia:

Journalism with academic analysis can create material with impact – but will the REF consider it? asks John Mair

Imagine that you are a cub reporter sent out to a story about an equine accident by your news editor. You get to the scene, the horse has bolted, the stable door is open, and all you have left to report is dirty straw. This would not cut the mustard in any local paper, so why should it pass muster in journalism-academe?

“Hackademics”, as journalists-turned-academics call themselves, get hugely frustrated with the glacial pace of academic publishing. By the time they have their story printed – on, say, the Arab Spring or phone hacking – what they say is largely historical. Their work has no effect on practice.

The 2014 research excellence framework will not help. What will it measure apart from weighty tomes from those in ivory towers, treated with little respect by the media industry? It does seem to be Old Boys judging fellow Old Boys. Tellingly, the two most influential journalism books in the past decade – Andrew Marr’s My Trade: A Short History of British Journalism and Nick Davies’ Flat Earth News: An Award-winning Reporter Exposes Falsehood, Distortion and Propaganda in the Global Media – were both written outside the academy.

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Reboot camp

Journalists: need new media knowledge!

Aspiring and seasoned US journalists alike are looking to tech-savvy graduate schools to help them survive and thrive in a new multimedia environment. Jon Marcus reports

Jennifer Hellum’s first semester as a graduate student in journalism school taught her, among other things, how to function with almost no sleep.

That experience came courtesy of the “boot camp” for new students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, covering news reporting, writing, radio and television journalism, online media and other topics, four days a week, beginning at 7.45am, for 16 weeks.

Even for Hellum, who already had an undergraduate degree in journalism, “boot camp was exhausting in a way I had never known”. But by the end of it, she says, she and her fellow students “were competent multimedia journalists”.

The Cronkite School – part of Ari State University, and named after the broadcast journalist – is among 113 US journalism schools working to prepare students for an industry in dramatic upheaval.

More than a quarter of US newspaper jobs have disappeared in the past decade as circulations nosedived by an average of one-third, according to the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. Some newspaper companies have lost as much as three-quarters of their value. Several are in bankruptcy or have closed. Advertising revenue has dropped by 43 per cent in the past three years.

Yet students continue to come to journalism schools. Overall enrolment fell by half of 1 per cent last year, the first decline since 1993, but the number of first- and second-year students rose slightly, suggesting that the numbers will at least remain level.