Tim Crook

Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Plumbers, button pressers, or academics? The media practitioner’s lot in UK Higher Education

In Opinion on July 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm
An image raising the issue of the divide between trainers and educators in British Universities.

Goldsmiths, University of London used to teach the trade of plumbing, but it is unlikely there was ever a Professor of Plumbing. From ‘Goldsmiths’ College: A Centenary Account,’ page 66.

An important conference takes place at Birmingham City University Monday 7th July that explores the role of the professional media practitioner in British Higher Education.

I’m giving a paper asking the question asking whether the divide between practice and theory academics is the same as when I started teaching in universities in 1990.

I go further. I want to know if there has been any progress since the operation of the first British University diploma course in journalism that ran from 1919 to 1939.

I’m interested to know if anything has been done to bring down the walls and end a growing perception that media practice academics experience an apartheid in prospects, work loads, status, and promotion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Statutory control behind the harlot’s screen. Subtle politics in law.

In Opinion on December 1, 2012 at 6:39 pm
Hacked Off campaigners give their reaction to LJ Leveson's verdict that the British press safeguards democracy and also wrecks havoc on the lives of innocent people.

Hacked Off campaigners give their reaction to LJ Leveson’s verdict that the British press safeguards democracy and also wrecks havoc on the lives of innocent people.

Former British Prime Minister of the 1930s Stanley Baldwin once said the power without responsibility abused by press was the prerogative of the harlot through the ages. Lord Justice Leveson in 2012 recommends that politicians should enter the harlot’s boudoir and direct the press how to behave behind a screen or two. They might do it via a cadre of Ofcom handmaidens, but the effect will be the same.

Well it’s happened. Sir Brian Leveson has given his verdict on the culture, practices, and ethics of Britain’s press and conduct with public, police and politicians. Like all good criminal judges he weighed the mitigation before punching with the sentence, though at the end he conceded ‘the ball moves back into the politicians’ court. They must now decide who guards the guardians.’ Read the rest of this entry »

The Statutory Dilemma, Leveson Inquiry and Media Law and Ethics Reform

In Opinion on November 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm

The Leveson Inquiry Report- much anticipated and controversial history

The NUJ’s policy for ‘statutory underpinning’ of print regulation is one of the more troubling issues in my near 38 year career in journalism. It has been hard enough being in a University Department (Media & Communications, Goldsmiths) surrounded by colleagues who are at the very centre of the Hacked Off and Coordinating Committee for Media Reform that advocates the surrendering to Parliament of a vitally important constitutional independence.

My colleagues also back statutory ‘right of reply.’ In my opinion these are authoritarian measures of reform.

They will do nothing to improve media reporting and publication standards. They are antithetical to my professional existence as a journalist. Read the rest of this entry »

Unpaid work experience and internship in the media- Postmodernist slavery?

In Opinion on January 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm

The TUC’s campaigning animation against unpaid ‘Dogsbody’ internships

There is growing discontent about the injustice of ‘work experience.’ It is being recognised that working for nothing, particularly if you have spent tens of thousands of pounds already on legitimate and accredited education and training schemes is unjust, unfair, exploitative and an attack on personal and social dignity.

Slowly and inexorably some sections of the media and political elite are beginning to recognise that the abuse of interns is immoral and a political time-bomb. Catherine Bennett in today’s Observer has written a studied analysis under the title:  ‘Sure, you can ‘work’. Just don’t expect a job at the end of it: From Smythson to Poundland, the exploitation of the young desperate for internships continues unabated.’

Working for nothing is immoral. And unpaid internships and work experience is exactly that. It is a misnomer to suggest that it is a ‘voluntary’ arrangement.  Mainly young people agree to do it because they have no choice. Some do it because they can afford to do so. Most borrow more and surrender additional swathes of self-respect because they hope there may be a job at the end of it or the citation on their CV that might help them secure an interview for the job that they want, or now increasingly need. Read the rest of this entry »