Essentially, I think Greenslade is displaying exactly the same sort of myopia that I criticised in Caesar – his post suggests the same reflexive association of the words journalist and journalism with the national newspapers. And I don’t accept that his anecdotal experience of his City students reflects the whole truth. I work alongside City graduates in a B2B company doing multimedia journalism. I have guest lectured to Cardiff’s journalism postgraduates at JOMEC for the last couple of years, and I know for sure that they don’t all aspire to be on national newspapers – because some of them are on a broadcast track, some of them are on a magazine track, and some of them came to talk to me afterwards about their ideas for a self-run hyperlocal news site. All of them equally aspire to be journalists – but they subscribe to a broader definition of the term.
I would suggest that even the use of the term digital native in the post title is difficult. There is much to quibble with in the very idea of a digital native. And its use here symptomatic of a false dichotomy set up in Greenslade’s post – between a career in the nationals and entrepreneurial journalist online. I work for a B2B publisher that still makes a significant chunk of its revenue from magazines. The paper kind. I am not a digital fundamentalist, and to suggest that was the argument I was making is to completely ignore the “broader church” point of my post.
There are more journalism students out there than there are jobs in newspapers. There are more students than there are available jobs in all traditional media. In that context, to conduct discussion in terms that suggest that there’s the national newspapers and not much else is doing thousands of journalists, our profession as a whole and those very students that started this conversation a terrible disservice.