Peston’s message to young journalists: multi-skill

Posted on September 8th, 2009 by Bernie Russell

Robert Peston blogged his lecture at Edinburgh, which shamefully slid under my radar amidst all the Sturm und Drang over James Murdoch’s speech.

It’s well worth a read.

One key quote for us:

Certainly my strong advice to any young person thinking of becoming a journalist is to acquire all the skills, don’t think of themselves as wanting to be broadcast journalists, or radio journalists or print journalists: increasingly it’s all the same thing. What matters is what has always mattered – the facts, the story. The skill for a journalist is unearthing information that matters to people and then communicating it as clearly, accurately – and if possible as entertainingly – as possible.

Spot on.

Another key quote

There already appears to be a consensus that in the provision of regional news there has been a massive market failure that will require state intervention and subsidy to rectify.

Spot off.

There’s no such consensus. Not outside medialand, anyway.

How is it a ‘market failure’ when businesses go broke because they can’t make a product people want at a price they’re prepared to pay? I’d say it’s quite the reverse.

And why should people subsidize failing media businesses? What about pubs, bakeries, video-rental shops, clothes shops?

It’s bad when businesses go broke. But it’s worse when they’re kept alive by hand-outs.

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