Making a rehash of it

December 31, 2009

Sally Feldman may regret the passing of local newspapers, but if people wanted to read about "frying eggs on pavements, confronting noisy neighbours and tackling trespassing tree-huggers", local newspapers wouldn't be in decline ("Go find those marrows", 26 November). Making her students report this stuff digitally is not going to make any difference, especially since most local rags already run such stories on their generally drab websites.

University journalism departments should be looking for the new forms of news that will attract readers and serve their needs, rather than rehashing the old in new wrapping.

Similarly, falling back on the hackneyed thinking that categorises Google and Twitter as second-rate forms of communication should have no place in a journalism department.

As Brian Winston noted in his book Media, Technology and Society: A History - From the Telegraph to the Internet (1997), no one knew what to do with the telephone at first, and you can bet your bottom dollar that news editors all around the country were berating their reporters for wanting to use these useless devices that kept them in the office rather than pounding the streets.

Tim Holmes, Course director, Postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism, Cardiff University.

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