Media inflation

October 23, 1998

In my piece ("Don't knock the messengers", THES, October 16) defending media studies from the ravages of journalistic antipathy, I too became a victim. The article gives the impression that I subscribe to the notion that there are some 30,000 students taking media courses in British universities - there are not and I do not.

That the figure is an exaggeration can be seen from the diagram, based on Higher Education Statistics Agency figures, that accompanied my piece. It shows that there were about 26,000 media undergraduates. Closer inspection reveals this included over 4,000 students studying "information science" - which is either librarianship or information technology, not media studies. The figure is probably about 22,000, not 30,000 and certainly not the 35,000 the TV industry's training body Skillset frequently quotes.

Ivor Gaber Professor of broadcast journalism Goldsmiths College, London

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