Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

Often, where I pass my day, we have students who choose to spend some of their work experience in a radio station as part of a school or college course. This being the case one might assume that as aspiring journalists of the future they would have a basic grasp of current affairs and historic knowledge which may have an impact on our world today. Sadly it’s often the case that the media is perceived by its ‘sexy’ delivery processes. Microphones, cameras or a front page. The amount of work involved in reaching that ultimate goal comes as a shock when it’s realised that, just as in school or rehearsal for any performance, one must be prepared to put in the graft for a single moment in the sunshine. A few months ago I had the privilege of interviewing the Archbishop of Canterbury with particular reference to the Popes ‘invitation’ to any disillusioned Anglicans that they may shift their ‘allegiance to the Catholic Church. I’d mentioned this in passing to one of these media students and was met with a question that left me almost speechless. “Who is the Archbishop of Canterbury?” Now, regardless of ones religious views, faith or age, a part of the British establishment is embodied within the Church of England, the head of which is the Sovereign. Hearing a teenager ask who the Beatles were is simply a natural reminder of ones own age and a shift in the generations. However one has to wonder how anyone can prepare a piece of editorial for broadcast without having a basic grasp of the political, social and economic landscapes in which they live, from any perspective and, rightly or wrongly (for who are we to judge) religion and politics plays a huge part in changing hearts and minds. It’s also worth noting that four Archbishops of Canterbury have served as Treasury First Lords: Prime Minister in all but name. Roger Walden, George Abbot, William Laud and William Juxon. It’s an office which has affected the history of our nation in remarkable, sometimes dramatic ways.Therefore an aspiring journalists head has to contain the basic software provided by the education system before they should be allowed to step inside an editors office otherwise a great deal of time will be spent on a re-education process which is frankly not the job of a working environment. Then one has to wonder what these children are being taught about the British media if it doesn’t include the basic general knowledge required to perform a job. It’s a bit like teaching someone how to be the perfect builder without reminding them that they may need a head for heights. It’s a sign of the times when even professionals who have spent years in newsrooms or in front of a microphone express their exasperation at the thought of yet another media studies students arrival. We’d rather have one dedicated well educated, articulate individual than fifty who’ve never heard of ‘1066 and all that’

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