Monday, 20 July 2009

Journalism, the exclusive middle-class profession

Journalists has become "one of the most exclusive middle class professions of the 21st century", according to a government report on social mobility to be published tomorrow. This will come as no surprise to anyone working in journalism or teaching it at university level. The depressing reality is that journalism is fiercely competitive but the industry is also contracting. There are few graduate jobs around this year. Often the only way recent graduates can get a job is to spend months working as an unpaid intern in a newsroom which has lots of vacant desks after a sweeping cull of reporters and is delighted to have someone keen and competent who the company doesn't have to pay. As long as this exploitation continues - and why shouldn't it if demand continues to exceed supply and companies can take advantage of new journalists who have paid for their own training? - the middle classes will dominate the industy. What working class graduate can afford to work for free?

Having got that out of my system, I'm off on holiday to the Lakes, with no internet and no mobile reception. For the next two and a half weeks, I'll be experiencing the restricted rural broadband access which so concerns Gordon Brown. I suspect the first thing I do when I get home will be to log on.

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