Hope for our fine profession

I’m putting the finishing touches to the script for tomorrow’s Young Journalist Awards ceremony. This is something we’ve been running in conjunction with Staffordshire University for a couple of years now – giving primary and secondary school pupils as well as college students the chance to have their stories published in The Sentinel and online. It’s all about encouraging the journalists of the future and I don’t think there has ever been a greater need to promote our fine profession. In this age of 24/7 broadcast media, regional newspapers particularly face their most difficult challenge to date as they struggle to remain relevant and desperately try to get to grips with the internet revolution. There is hope, however. I think people are starting to appreciate that there’s something about having a quality, tangible news product in your hand – something you can pass around and share, cut out or keep. You see, we don’t all spend every waking hour glued to a PC or mobile phone. Blogging and broadcasting is all well and good but, for me, print journalism will always be where it’s at. There’s very little room for error with print journalism – particularly when it has your name on and readers can come in to your office waving the paper at you.  Anyone can write a blog – as you can see – but not everyone who does is a trained journalist. They haven’t all sat in council meetings, inquests and court hearings. They haven’t all covered a football match or done a death-knock. They haven’t all had their ears chewed by a News Editor on deadline. The truth is you have to earn your stripes in this game. We should beware the ones who haven’t… and cherish those who have.

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