Working in the media

May 29, 1998

THE HEADINGS on two articles on media studies mined hackneyed veins of antagonism ("Out to Lunch on Journalism" and "A Mickey Mouse Degree", THES, May 15). The confusion between cultural and media studies as broad fields of higher education and media training for employment is again reinforced.

As Rod Allen shows, tighter accreditation by professional bodies is unworkable and unacceptable, except in carefully defined and limited contexts, even among very vocational courses. Marya Burgess cites our study demonstrating that graduates are exceptionally successful in the job market, but counterpoises this with the predictably dismissive attitudes of senior news organisations. Journalism is not "the media" and not the only employment target.

Cultural and media studies in UK universities take exceptionally high-quality students and have an enviable international reputation - ask any big academic publisher. Most courses neither seek nor promise to produce ready-made, technically proficient media practitioners as the rapidly changing range of industries makes this pointless. Inappropriate external professional accreditation would only reduce the variety of curricula offered and thus student choice.

Peter Golding Chairman Standing Conference on Cultural, Communication and Media Studies in Higher Education

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