Wanna be a Doctor of low-cost news coverage?

A CITY University journalism PhD in alliance with Sky News is billed as an opportunity to "explore concepts around citizen journalism in the mainstream news media, using... participant observation." It appears at first glance to be a move by Sky to recruit hundreds of "citizen journalists" to do Sky's coverage of the next general election for them on the cheap.

As well as recruiting several hundred (presumably unpaid) citizen journalists who "will be expected to write stories, take pictures and record video," the Sky/City PhD student will "manage their contributions and ensure a mix of skills and  party affiliation, background and expertise" among contributors. The skills profile of the applicant Sky seeks suggests they will already have some journalism experience or training, although the course information doesn't go into what sort of degree they need. The student will work at the Sky News website four days a week with one whole "remaining day" a week to write their thesis. There's no mention of any duties in salary administration for the manager of this army of citizen journalists, which leads us to suspect that all of them are supposed to work for free.

It could be that elections are becoming so dull that news organizations can no longer persuade their regular staff journalists to cover them. We've heard unconfirmed rumours that some local papers are paying people in Bangalore, India to watch webcasts of council meetings and report on them, not just to save costs but because their own staff can't bear to sit through them.

[Site map] Last modified: 04 Sep 2007 - © 2007 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editors of the time
Send comments to the editors: editor@londonfreelance.org