Sex Trade and the South London Press

A series of tweets exchanged with the good @CllrMarkBennett led me to believe that I have been giving the South London Press something of an easy ride of late. It’s a rum state of local political affairs when a council cabinet member is calling for the flagship paper to offer a more critical analysis of Lambeth politics.

The failure last week of @streathamnews to identify the difference between council press releases and hard news copy is insignificant when compared to the SLP’s poor presentation of the local news agenda, both online and offline.

It took five days for the SLP to report online about the major local meeting to decide on the future of the Streatham Hub. The location of the meeting was a mere 0.6 miles away from the Leigham Court HQ of the SLP. Clarification would be appreciated over the issue of SLP representation at the meeting.

But it’s not the sloppy reporting of the SLP that leads me to believe that the publication is probably best put out of its misery. The proud old masthead is being put to shame as the South London Press has now become nothing but a means for local prostitutes (and their pimps) to advertise their trade.

Two pages of ‘adult leisure’ adverts are carried in both the Tuesday and Friday print editions. You don’t need a scented handkerchief over your nose to understand what type of leisure is being offered:

Pandora’s Hot Box – massage and escorts

Relaxing Tooting Broadway Massage – luxury flat, discrete and classy [sic]

or even Dulwich Dolly’s – mature at it’s best.

SLP, 16/02/10

The defence from the SLP in being funded by the exploitation of women is that at least it is supporting the local economy. The print edition for 16th February carries prostitute ads for Suki in Streatham, right on the doorstep of the SLP’s Leigham Court HQ – which must make the SLP the pimp for poor Suki of Streatham.

It is widely accepted that the availability of online advertising is the reason why local newspapers such as the SLP are haemorrhaging both readers and revenue. Why then is the SLP happy to carry prostitute ads in print, but not online?

It’s fine for readers to physically make that phone call in response to a SLP prostitute ad, but to provide a direct online link to the sex trade is maybe seen as being culpable in the continuation of the exploitation of women.

Or maybe I’m just reading too much into the situation – the SLP online is poor; if it takes five days for a hard news story to appear on the website, then it’s no wonder few businesses, legit or otherwise, care to take out online ads.

Don’t even go behind the paywall – no one else does. I wonder if the prostitute ads actually appear for the punters that pay for the privilege of looking deep into the seedy bowles of the SLP online, page for page?

@langrabbie offers further analysis by stating:

SLP deliberately don’t have “real time” website publishing so people who might be in stories have to buy dead tree copy.”

This tells you all you need to know about the SLP: it just doesn’t get the modern interweb. Looking further up the dead tree hierarchy, and you get a sense of just how the SLP has managed to fail the local people in South London so poorly in recent years.

If you want to understand the real reason why the SLP is so poor at providing the electorate in South London with a deserved online analysis of the news agenda, then look no further than dear old Sir Ray Tindle.

The 83 year-old founder and chairman of Tindle Newspapers, Streatham born and bred, may understand the newspaper industry but he fails miserably when it comes to the modern interweb:

We have never followed trends“, such as “moving to the tabloid format“, [Tindle Newspapers] only embraces the internet in destinations where he knows there is an appetite for it.

The young people don’t buy papers, they read their mother’s paper. They then get married and then they want a flat, then they want a house, then they want a pram and a car. There’s no need to convert the paper into a jazzy thing.”

There’s also no need to convert the proud name of the South London Press into a jazz mag, Mr Tindle. And if by admission your target audience is “mothers,” then cripes – where the hell does the ‘adult leisure’ advertising fit into all of this?

@lambeth_council actually has some high morals (steady) over the seedy advertising that the SLP accepts. The council has recently put in place a prostitution strategy [pdf] to try and remove the sex trade from the borough.

Streatham has traditionally been the centre of the sex trade in Lambeth. The council took the decision to withdraw all advertising from the SLP, as a statement that such a seedy way of funding the newspaper will no longer be tolerated at the Town Hall:

I’m glad Lambeth withdrew advertising,” said Councillor Mark Bennett, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety. “It’s wrong to support a paper that profits from exploitation and sex-trafficking.”

It’s also wrong to support a paper that has become exceptionally poor in reporting local news online.

I have personally tried to address the failure of the South London Press, offering my online support to help transform the website into a genuine campaigning proposition. The tools are out there to deliver hard news copy that doesn’t take five days to turn around.

In return I received a thanks but no thanks from Hannah Walker, the Editor-in-Chief at the SLP. Fair enough. I was pricing myself probably north of the peanuts the SLP pays it’s journos.

Hannah is probably too busy anyway with her high profile responsibilities, sitting on the Editor’s Code of Practice Committee at the spineless Press Complaints Commission.

Oh the irony of the Leader of Lambeth Council submitting a complaint to the PCC about reporting in his local patch, only for the Editor in Chief of the paper also sitting on Code of Practice Committee of the PCC.

@cllrstevereed

I wonder if Hannah and her high-powered professionals ever discuss the funding of the SLP by prostitute adverts during their PCC board meetings?

Such a damning criticism of the South London Press isn’t meant to belittle the work carried out by the jobbing journos on the ground. This is a tough news patch to cover, with stories that often leave a high emotional impact upon staff.

As my minor run in with the SLP last year proved, the professional training that journos receive at the SLP is far from the norm of conceived industry practises.

As if being paid peanuts out of the prostitution money pot isn’t bad enough, SLP journos are then expected to supervise work experience kids that clearly aren’t suited to the job.

[Worth repeating a point of order: I wrote a weekly sports column for the SLP for four years. I was sporadically paid for a period of around a year, and then the payments dried up. I calculated that I trousered approximately £160 for around four hundred hours work in total. You can see why I went back to the autonomy of blogging.]

It’s a wonder that the paper actually appears twice a week (or even once a week online) such are the demands placed on the poorly paid staff. Perhaps this is why crucial council meetings aren’t attended?

I can’t say I really blame the jobbing journos, although attendance at Cabinet once a month would spoon feed the SLP with enough copy to fill it’s first five pages per week alone.

Hey hoe – I suppose that is what the cut and pasting of agency copy is here for, as the front page splash for this Tuesday so clearly demonstrates.

SLP, 16/02/10

Ah yes, about that cut and pasting of agency copy to fill a sorry excuse for a front page:

“A porn dealer who turned to drug smuggling after the internet ruined his magazine business…”

Overlooking the warped irony of the reporting by the SLP of a publishing business being ruined by the internet, there really is hypocrisy of the highest order taking place here.

Ever quick to demonise pornography and drugs, the SLP clearly has no issue in taking the filthy wonga from this very same industry to finance it’s own operation.

Ah, just another #hyperlocal young (ish) upstart, wanting to lay the online boot into BIG (ish) local media, comes the cry from my critics. Yes, and no. I truly believe that the next three months in Lambeth are crucial to the long term regeneration of our area.

The electorate had the choice on May 6th to make political decisions that will have a direct consequence on the “financial tsunamiaffecting Lambeth PCT, the opening up of education to the private sector, and yes, leisure and the whole Streatham Hub farce.

For the flagship local newspaper to simply transcribe @audioboo recordings for its news copy (as seems to possibly be the case,) is a betrayal of the relationship between reporter and reader.

BIG (ish) media ‘aint for me, both as a content producer and consumer. I couldn’t work with the restrictions placed upon reporting, not to mention the painfully slow turn around of content as the daily news cycle becomes a weekly rehash online. Being paid out of the money gained from the exploitation of women in the sex industry would sit uncomfortably with me as well.

Which all leads to the conclusion:

What the hell is the point of the South London Press?

As long as (i) it is being continued to be funded by the exploitation of women in South London and (ii) major news stories are ignored online, then the South London Press can no longer be considered as a proper newspaper.

Come back @streathamnews, all is forgiven.

13 thoughts on “Sex Trade and the South London Press

  1. Interesting read. Some things I agree with, others not because they are just factually incorrect.

    That begs the question: surely if you are criticising a paper like this then shouldn’t you make sure you don’t undermine your own argument by getting your facts right??? Otherwise it just looks like the pot is calling the kettle black.

    This for example:

    “As my minor run in with the SLP last year proved, the professional training that journos receive at the SLP is far from the norm of conceived industry practises.”

    Is wrong and insulting to anyone who works there. SLP reporters are employed like any serious local/regional paper anywhere in the country: they have to have full industry qualifications or gain them as a trainee in 18 months.

    In any case, as it happens the “run in” you refer to sounds pretty shameful on your part.

    It was with a work experience kid who was probably about 16, whose first language wasn’t English and didn’t come from the area. The SLP was doing him/her a favour for by letting them come into the office and you just picked on him/her. I don’t know, but I’d imagine that person is probably put off journalism for life after reading your scathing blog.

    I’ve been in newsrooms, and work experience students are a pain but you help them to do them a favour and because you were helped when you were a student. That’s how journalism works. Sometimes you get someone in who hasn’t a clue but you only find out when they come in because you can’t put work exs through rigorous tests. Besides the idea is if they’re keen then they get a chance and if they fail they fail.

    But after that “run in” (I’d call it coming up against a bully) I wonder if the SLP decided to restrict the work experience kids they let in to stop loudmouths like you slamming them? I wouldn’t be surprised because any business isn’t going to take a risk on a school or college kid damaging their reputation with judgemental people like you out there. If so there’ll be wannabe journos out there you’ve harmed the careers of.

    As I said, you make some interesting points, some I agree with but I don’t agree with that.

  2. @Not an SLP reporter (no really, I’m not) – can I call you NaSLPr(nrIn)?

    It would be nice to know who I am talking to.

    Thanks for your comments – they have been well received.

    My “run in” with the SLP wasn’t instigated by me. My blog addresses the political issues where I live, and consequently the reporting of them by established media. Having found myself caught up in (a very, very minor) part of this process, it was natural for me to blog about it.

    It is old ground to go over the ethics of letting lose on your patch someone who by the admission of the SLP (i) didn’t know the area and (ii) didn’t have English as their first language.

    As I responded back in the comments, pity the poor kid that thought a stint at the SLP was a foot in the door of journalism. There really is no need for this route anymore.

    Find stories, get a blog, publish. If you’re any good, you’ll get noticed and get commissioned.

    I notice you didn’t care to comment on the funding of the SLP by the exploitation of women, or the failure to report hard news stories after the event. The former is indefensible, whereas the latter goes against the heart of journalistic principles.

  3. “As I responded back in the comments, pity the poor kid that thought a stint at the SLP was a foot in the door of journalism. There really is no need for this route anymore.”

    Yes there is, obviously. Presumably you don’t want to work on a local newspaper, but if you do (like I once did) then that is the only way to get your foot in the door. Why? Because local newspapers don’t just employ anyone – you have to have the industry qualifications (which is probably why your offer was refused).

    If you don’t know what qualifications these are then a) you shouldn’t be mouthing off about matters like this, and b) you should take a look at this: http://www.nctj.com/ to find out more.

    “Find stories, get a blog, publish. If you’re any good, you’ll get noticed and get commissioned.”

    Commissioned? If you’re 18 and you want a news reporter’s job on a newspaper what you want to do is get work experience and bag a trainee job, get fully-qualified and then maybe get a job on a national. A blog might help – a little bit – but at the end of the day no editor is going to give you a contract if you don’t get good stories, pass your exams and have all the skills.

    Fact is to coin a cliche, good journalists are trained not born. They learn how to write, they learn media law, they learn shorthand. I haven’t seen your CV but these could be good reasons why your SLP application went into the bin.

    Do you really think the SLP would want an untrained person making basic errors like writing ill-informed offensive comments that could possibly be libelous, like your comment about the training of SLP reporters.

    I can’t believe I’m talking through these basic points on here. Anyone in journalism would know all this. It’s not hard to understand, it’s just you’ve been so bombastic, ill-informed and over the top in your criticism that it seems someone needs to balance it out.

    :I notice you didn’t care to comment on the funding of the SLP by the exploitation of women, or the failure to report hard news stories after the event. The former is indefensible, whereas the latter goes against the heart of journalistic principles.”

    As I did say – please read my post more carefully – there are are some of your points I agree with and some I don’t.

    As for the “failure to report hard news stories after the event” I probably agree but you’ve got to appreciate the SLP is fighting for its life like every newspaper in the country. To publish online or not to publish online is a massive debate in the industry and the SLP seems to be taking one side while other papers take another. It is a matter of opinion and there’s no certainty at the moment, most papers are just waiting to see what’ll happen.

    At the moment, the SLPs policy seems to be not to publish until the paper comes out to encourage sales (whether it does or not is debatable and no doubt something they will have debated). The Local Guardian series doesn’t have that debate because it is free, and doesn’t get revenue from sales – it has the advantage in that respect.

    However, as I hope you know, News International, Johnston Press and a load of other news organisations are trying to find a way to bring in paywalls which (in the case of Johnston weeklies) could amount to the same thing as what the SLP do in keeping news back but with a charge. So to say “it goes against the heart of journalistic principles” seems to be overstating the case to me. I agree in an ideal world the SLP should publish stories as they get them but its more complicated than that. I reckon they should keep good stories for the paper and just publish all the time sensitive stuff online. So, for example, if a police incident happens in Stockwell then they should put a story online with the basic information from the police press release but if they get an exclusive line they should keep it for the paper.

    Have to say, I’m finding the fact I’ve got to explain this to you quite disturbing considering the strength of your assertions. It turns out when someone responds to you you’re a lot less sure of yourself.

  4. @NaSLPr(nrIn) I accept the dinosaur model for traditional journalism entry is still used by Tindle Newspapers. It seems to work well for them internally, although with not such spectacular results in the end product.

    I don’t want to play down the key issue here of how the SLP is funded by local prostitution. I think it is useful though that we are having this conversation about training for what still remains a highly influencial job.

    It’s a changing world, with the pace often moving at a speed that makes the very definition of journalism open to debate. Is there really such a career path in the digital age?

    To succeed, then content providers need to be able to adapt across different platforms. I know some journalism courses, such as @paulbradshaw’s excellent MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, address the skill set that is now needed for the job.

    I just don’t see any evidence of how the SLP is embracing digital publishing, or even the career paths of employees in this area. Online delivery is now equally as important as your 5 W’s.

    Interesting times, interesting debate.

  5. “@NaSLPr(nrIn) I accept the dinosaur model for traditional journalism entry is still used by Tindle Newspapers. ”

    And every other major newspaper group, Northcliffe, Trinity Mirror, Johnston, Newsquest etc etc. Tindle is no different, which probably means it isn’t the “dinosaur” model you think it is. Facts, facts, facts, basic journalism.

    “I just don’t see any evidence of how the SLP is embracing digital publishing, or even the career paths of employees in this area. Online delivery is now equally as important as your 5 W’s.”

    This we agree on. But the SLP isn’t meant to be a digital publisher is it? It’s a newspaper, clues in the name: n-e-w-s-P-A-P-E-R. That’s how they make their money, that’s how they survive.

    Look, I think the overall problem I have with your posts here is that you’re just shooting your mouth off without looking at the bigger picture. The SLP isn’t perfect, but what paper is? I think you should accept it for what it is, and try and make it better by ringing it up with information, helping it and championing it rather than slagging it off. That is constructive. Not these bitter rants.

    And regarding the sex ads, it’s not exactly perfect I agree. But the SLP wouldn’t survive without them and then South London would have lost a part of its history while the sex ads would just go somewhere else. The SLP has been going since 1865 (according to its website) and it would be a tragedy if it went under.

    Seeing as your blog purports to talk about the “politics” in your area I would think you should know this: weirdly, in my opinion it is Lambeth Council and it’s very expensive pravda paper Lambeth Life that have forced the SLP into a corner and made it impossible for it to give up the sex ads. And the council has done this deliberately.

    The council wants to kill the SLP so it stops reporting what it calls negative news about what it gets up to (what everyone else calls scrutiny). A good example is the incredible fraud that’s been uncovered in the housing department. And the council is winning, with a bit of help from gullible people like yourself.

    The Local Guardian – sensing an opportunity – has got in on the act, using the SLP continuing to use sex ads as a stick to bash its competitor with.

    So, don’t get suckered into that. Disagree with the sex ads (as I do) but at least understand the background. Then you might have a more informed blog.

  6. “To succeed, then content providers need to be able to adapt across different platforms. I know some journalism courses, such as @paulbradshaw’s excellent MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University, address the skill set that is now needed for the job.”

    Never heard of it, but I’ll take a look. Traditionally the main centres for journalism were Cardiff (where I went) and City University in London. Then there’s the Press Association training school in Newcastle. Have to say I don’t know whether those are being left behind though.

  7. @NaSLPr(nrIn) Is there such a thing as a newspaper anymore? I despise the term ‘digital convergence’, but it is the reality as to where we are right now, and certainly where the industry is accelerating at such a breakneck speed.

    The Guardian is a content provider that produces award winnning audio output, video packages and also a newspaper. Likewise for The Times, Telegraph etc. Project Euston seems to be the digital future for the previously ultra conservative Telegraph group.

    And it’s not just on a national level either. The Birmingham Post has been transformed from an ailing local title, to a become a genuine digital content provider that serves the local community, as well as allowing the local community to shape and create content.

    There are some great collaborations taking place online and offline around the West Midlands right now. Created in Birmingham is another fine example of content being sourced and shared by users. Ultimately it is the community, digital and print, that benefit from this collaborative way of working.

    It’s such a shame that South London can’t be served with a similar model. The area is ripe in activism and people that care passionately about this patch. We just need the momentum from Tindle Newspapers to participate with us in this shared way of working to help stimulate the local community.

    It is not my role to ring up the South London Press with information. I don’t want to add to the churnalism already taking place at Leighahm Court. I prefer to go out there and actually source my content. The cut and paste of agency copy masquerading as a front page splash in the SLP yesterday was poor in the extreme.

    Your justification for the SLP continuing to actively endorse the sex trafficking of women in South London, just so that a local paper can remain in business, is really quite offensive.

    I’m pleased that you have mentioned the housing fraud. I blogged about it over here and here. As for my “gullability” in supporting Lambeth Life, would you care to read my various posts that I have offered on the council publication? (Clue: My opinion of Lambeth Life is at least consistent with what I think of the SLP.)

    The linear model favoured by Tindle isn’t working. It is shameful that Sir Ray blames the loss of £500,000 ad revenue on the introduction of Lambeth Life.

    “Young people don’t buy papers, they read their mother’s paper. They then get married and then they want a flat, then they want a house, then they want a pram and a car. There’s no need to convert the paper into a jazzy thing.”

    Looking closer to home, and how hopelessly out of date his world view is might help to explain the losses. £500,000 per year includes the income gained from prostitute ads, don’t forget.

    Meanwhile…

    @paulbradshaw’s
    Online Journalism Blog is another useful starting point to find out about the rapid change in ethos from reporting to collaboration.

  8. “Is there such a thing as a newspaper anymore?”

    Yes, in your local corner shop. Millions are sold every day.

    “Your justification for the SLP continuing to actively endorse the sex trafficking of women in South London, just so that a local paper can remain in business, is really quite offensive.”

    Please, for the love of God, read the posts carefully and you won’t go off half-cocked. Did I justify it? No. Did I agree with you it is distasteful yes.

    But at the end of the day it is very naive to be surprised and appalled that the SLP is carrying sex ads when the advertising market is in the state it’s in and the council has cut its own ads and set up a rival. Very naive.

    I don’t want it, you don’t want it, but there’s nothing that will be done until the financial situation improves. The best way to help the paper get over this and stop using sex ads is to go out and buy it regularly, obviously, and let it know rather than damaging it further.

    “It is not my role to ring up the South London Press with information. I don’t want to add to the churnalism already taking place at Leighahm Court.”

    As a concerned member of the community, then I think it would be your role to ring up the local paper. I certainly do. And how would telling them stuff add to the “churnalism”??? That sentence doesn’t make sense.

    “The cut and paste of agency copy masquerading as a front page splash in the SLP yesterday was poor in the extreme.”

    Not really, and not unusual for any paper at all. Get your facts right. The SLP like every paper in London employs an agency to cover the courts for them called Central News because they don’t have enough reporters to cover them all. Trials go on for a long time, you can’t have a reporting sitting in a court room for weeks on end. If you don’t like the story then fair enough, but using agency copy is not bad per se. One thing the SLP does which is good is indicate it is agency copy by crediting it to “Court Reporter” which very few other papers do. So in that sense, the SLP should be applauded. The BBC doesn’t do that when it reads out agency copy, nor does ITV, Sky or most of the national, regional and local papers. You really don’t know much about journalism, do you?

    “I’m pleased that you have mentioned the housing fraud. I blogged about it over here and here.”

    Yeah, the housing fraud that you know about because it was uncovered by the SLP who’ve been banging on about that department for years. Yeah that housing fraud. When your local paper is gone you’ll really suffer.

    “The linear model favoured by Tindle isn’t working.”

    I agree, they could do things better.

    “It is shameful that Sir Ray blames the loss of £500,000 ad revenue on the introduction of Lambeth Life.”

    If the figures add up, then why is that shameful? Again, going off half-cocked.

    “Looking closer to home, and how hopelessly out of date his world view is might help to explain the losses.”

    To be fair, he is in his mid 80s. My grandad’s the same, as I’m sure your’s is.

    “£500,000 per year includes the income gained from prostitute ads, don’t forget.”

    You seem to be defeating your own argument there. Either that or you don’t understand figures. That figure you’re quoting is how much is lost from council advertising, it’s got nothing to do with sex ads. Presumably if the paper banned sex ads and added the amount taken onto that figure the cash loss would be higher – therefore losing the SLP even more money. Could any paper deal with that? I don’t know.

    Look, if you think your blog is journalism you are having a laugh. It is just a series of rants by another self-important local. If you ever do put something up here worth any interest a qualified journalist will snap it up and make a quick buck off it by selling it to the nationals. And they might just be from the SLP, you never know.

  9. @NaSLPr(nrIn) We’re just not going to agree here, are we? I appreciate your industry knowledge and take your well made points on board.

    My perspective is that local matters. I hope one day, you too may understand my view.

    Take it easy,

    Jason

  10. Then you should be supporting your local paper, trying to make it better. Not thinking you’re above it – because you (and I) are not.

  11. As someone who has scoured the “dead” pages towards the back of the SLP for almost twenty years looking out for statutory traffic and planning notices, can I just note that “sex ads” have been in the SLP since some time before Lambeth Life moved to becoming a fortnightly paper actively seeking advertising.

    They have become more prominent as classified advertising has fallen due to a move to digital media and overall pagination has fallen in the recession.

  12. The sex ads issue is a bit of a red herring IMHO – the SLP’s carried them for donkey’s years. Would ad income from Lambeth public notices outweigh the ad income from Sandra’s of Streatham? Perhaps Lambeth and its neighbouring councils could get together with the SLP and talk.

    The core remains Jason’s unhappiness with the way his local paper appears to be asleep on the job at covering local issues. I think he’s entitled to say that without what looks like anonymous SLP insiders taking a high-handed pop. Court agencies have been there for years but why isn’t the SLP at these council meetings? These things matter, and across south London there’s a problem with the way local councils are covered (esp compared to Camden New Journal, for example).

    Should the SLP have a proper website? That’s a question for Sir Ray, but with four lively boroughs covered by the SLP and others covered by it’s Mercury/Post sister papers (which he gives away FREE), it does look like he’s missing out on an opportunity.

    (declarations of interest: Green candidate in Greenwich, occasional contributor to greenwich.co.uk hyperlocal site who does the odd council meeting)

  13. This debate risks sliding into the either/or, print vs. digital, us vs. them groanings we’ve been rehearsing for years now. To the non-SLP-reporter who says you should support your local paper by buying it, I’m not sure I follow that. Surely getting off your arse and filling the gaps you see in their coverage is a more useful course of action? As for tipping off the newspaper on what you’ve found – an analogy would be asking local newspaper reporters to call up the BBC if they have a great story. They don’t – they expect the BBC to find their own stories, or at least copy them from the newspapers and add some pretty pictures.

    Everyone here seems to agree that Tindle’s digital strategy… well, there isn’t really one. I recall talking to a very talented journalism graduate (of another university) who had been offered a job on a Tindle newspaper and was hesitating because they felt the paper had no idea about the web, and taking the job would leave them unemployable longer term. I advised them to stay where they were (running a hyperlocal blog and working with community organisations), and they now have a fantastic job with a national newspaper website.

    In the short term Tindle may do better than publishers who have a more proactive web strategy. But in the long term they’re leaving themselves vulnerable on all sorts of fronts. If you believe news is about the paper it’s printed on rather than the journalism and advertising it distributes, then you are taking a big gamble – that advertisers are going to continue to pay monopoly rates for newspaper ads regardless of how many people read them. Any glance at where ad spend is going in the UK gives you an idea of how risky that gamble is. Yes, it’s much less lucrative, but it’s there.

    Don’t get me started on council newspapers that sell advertising.

    PS: Thanks for mentioning the MA Online Journalism – to the non-SLP-reporter who’s never heard of it, that’s probably because it’s barely a third of the way through its first year. You may, however, have heard of the journalism degrees at University of Central England, which is what Birmingham City University used to be called before someone decided they wanted ‘Birmingham’ in the name. (that said, the media school’s biggest reputation has until now been in magazine and broadcast journalism – I’m not sure how many students have gone on to work for regional newspapers in the south-east).

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