Monday, April 27, 2009

Attention Journalism Students

Don't do it.

"News Ltd is set to launch The Punch, its biggest digital venture since it created, within the next few weeks, Mumbrella can reveal...

The scale of News Ltd’s ambitions for The Punch are large, with plans for a roster of high profile politicians and sports stars writing regular blogs, with a total team of up to 250 contributors.

One of the potentially controversial aspects of The Punch is that many of those writing for it are said to potentially be student journalists, being asked to write for free, and edited by a small team of more senior executives. Mumbrella understands that journalism schools have already been sounded out. Again, a News Digital source today denied this...

UPDATE: News has now conceded that “a few” journalism students will be invited to write. But it insists that this will be “most definitely not a lot or anything like a significant percentage of the posts”."

Do you really want to work for people like this?:

From "The Prince", 'Weekend Australian Financial Review' [25-6 April, 2009]:

"It's a wonderful feeling to wake up each morning knowing your job is about shedding light, dispelling confusion and ushering in the golden age of information.

This is the happy lot of the public relations professional. The Prince understands Australia has about 30 million of them each richly deserving a salary about 10 times the pittance paid to lowly newspaper hacks.

Thursday morning's glow would have been even more splendid than usual, with Justice Ian Gzell's revelation that it doesn't really matter what they say in their endless labours to spread truth. When understandable errors creep in, there is no comback for a professional PR. Actually, they can say anything at all without regrets. It's company directors who need to worry.

Even when a press release issued under the PR chief's name turns out in hindsight to be "simply false in every important particular" - as in James Hardie's former chief spinner, Greg Baxter [now News Ltd.'s Director of Corporate Affairs], put it - it's not the flak's problem.

Baxter and his offsider at Hardie, Stephen Ashe, worked with outside PR firm Gavin Anderson & Co, chiefly with Jane Rotsey and Brian Tyson. They did their job commendably - Baxter won an award as corporate spinner of the year - but it seems they were all duped, either by the directors or Hardie executives - or maybe they didn't grasp the finer actuarial points of transferring Hardie's asbestos liabilities and the claim that the new foundation was "fully funded"...

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