I’ve always been irritated by that old saying about those who can and those who teach. It seems like a smug and wholly false assumption about what teaching is all about.
To help disprove the lazy thinking behind it, I wanted to mention that with the support of a number of working journalists my BCU colleague Diane Kemp and I have just launched an e-book on inclusive journalism.
So, apart from a shameless plug – ‘Everybody In’ is available free from Leanpub at https://leanpub.com/everybodyinbook – why do I mention this on a site about journalism, news, teaching the subject and so on?
In short it’s because the book from its conception to publication was an example of something close to my heart – using practical journalism as a basis of research and to examine theoretical thinking. In this case the book blends thinking around issues of difference (protected characteristics if you prefer). The journalists who have been so wonderfully supportive of the project then reflect on their personal and professional experiences of one of those areas before we offer practical suggestions on how genuinely inclusive approaches to reporting can be embedded in our news coverage. (Really you should just read it).
Furthermore the business of publishing in this way – while it may not meet the conventional rigour of peer assessed books, chapters, papers etc – would appear to be an excellent way for practitioners – journalists, producers, PR specialists and so on – to showcase their work. ‘Everybody In’ has the backing of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council’s industry members. In a letter to BJTC accredited courses they – the BBC, ITN, ITV News, Reuters and AP – say: “We believe that ‘Everybody In’ is a great resource to inform, stimulate, and educate. It provides a real insight into some of the issues that journalists will face every day. We hope you will use the e-book as a basis for discussion and debate”. Now there’s an endorsement of practice and theory in harmony.
The BJTC is supporting further publications with a similar approach and a conversation has already begun with practice colleagues in our own school about how they should be encouraged to publish themselves. One of our colleagues, Paul Bradshaw who is widely acknowledged as a leading practitioner and thinker in the whole area of online and data journalism, already has a number of e-books to his name.
This then could be a valuable route for practitioners to highlight their work and for students in other institutions to benefit from practical expertise and thinking currently available in one place only. It also highlights the way universities like BCU and courses such as those in Birmingham School of Media have a close working relationship with professional practitioners.
Dare I suggest in closing that with the Teaching Excellence Framework now looming large in the thinking of universities, now might be an ideal time to explore this idea.