talk to uts students

talk to uts students - I want to tell you two stories I...

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I want to tell you two stories I think are relevant to our purposes. The first concerns a question asked at almost every interview of people seeking a job in journalism: why do you want to be a journalist? Most people’s answer is ‘because I love to write’ or ‘because I love working with people’. Wrong answer. Journalists hear those answers all the time, but they’re cynical people and they hate it when you say that. Let me tell you the perfect answer: I want to be a journalist because I’m a stickybeak and a gossip. Can you think why that’s the perfect answer? Because that’s what journalists are and what they do. The media only ever hire trainee journalists for one reason: to be reporters. And reporters are people who get their kicks finding out really interesting things about other people and then broadcasting those things to the world. The human species has been interested in stories and gossip since we lived in caves. And ‘news’ is just a modern, mechanised, commercialised form of gossip - whether it’s gossip about a bank robbery, a cricket match, the economy, BHP’s plan to takeover Rio Tinto or the latest adventures of Paris Hilton. The second story comes from a guy who worked on the Herald for a long time and now teaches journalism at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Chris McGillion. One day he asked the woman in charge of all the recruiting of journalists for News Limited what kind of person they were looking for. She replied, someone who knows when the second world war ended. What did she mean by that? Someone with good general knowledge. Someone who knows a bit about a lot of subjects. Someone who knows a bit of history, someone who knows ‘the story so far’ - that is, someone who’s taken the trouble to find out about what happened in Australia and the world before they were old enough to start taking an interest - the story so far. Journalists are curious people, people with a thirst to find out about things, people with broad interests and broad knowledge. A good candidate for serious (or hard) journalism would be interested in and know a fair bit about history, politics, current affairs. Someone who’s already a voracious consumer of the news media. But these days newspapers and commercial current affairs programs also contain a lot of lifestyle sections. So we also need candidates who know a lot about the subject matter of soft journalism: fashion, restaurants, music and CDs, dance clubs, television, films and DVDs. In fact, all of those things come under the heading of fashion, of knowing what’s hip. Increasingly, the media is in the fashion business - telling people what’s the latest in every leisure area. One of the things this means is that the other subjects you’re doing in your degree
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talk to uts students - I want to tell you two stories I...

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