The article below quotes the current head of journalism studies at the University of Queensland as rejecting Windschuttle's critique of such courses. The former head of Journalism at the University of Queensland, Prof. John Henningham, however, would likely support the thrust of Windschuttle's criticisms. An experienced journalist himself, he was so dissatisfied with the university offering that he took early retirement and started his own private J-school. See here
Keith Windschuttle, the controversial author and historian this week appointed to the ABC board, believes graduates from university media courses over the past 20 years have been taught anything but good journalism. In a paper first delivered in 1995 and reprinted in The Weekend Australian today, Windschuttle says journalism is committed to reporting the truth, without favour, to inform the audience - but the media theory taught in universities denies these principles. "The methodologies and values of journalism are undermined, contradicted and frequently regarded as naive by the proponents of media theory," he wrote in 1995. "I haven't changed my views at all," Windschuttle said yesterday, "There are some real ex-journalists teaching but they are swamped by those teaching cultural studies nonsense."
Michael Bromley, professor of journalism at the University of Queensland, said yesterday that Windschuttle's argument was very old and outdated. "In some places around the world they didn't even have the argument because it seemed so pointless," Professor Bromley said. "Journalism is about the social world. It is about people's social experience and social reality and the things they talk about. "Good journalists can pick up on those things and report them fairly and accurately. If life changes and things move on, and people are less interested in politics and more interested in Kylie Minogue, then who are we not to report that - or pull a face and say that should not be featured."
ABC TV reporter Quentin Dempster, who was favourite to take up the role of staff-elected board member before the position was abolished by the Government, said Windschuttle's views on media courses could prompt "a debate worth having". "If Keith could give more specific examples of the journalism which has been debauched in such a way, that would be useful to engage the journalism academics around Australia," Dempster said yesterday. "One of the things that has always concerned me about journalism is the influence of commerciality on journalism and editorial judgment and story selection and things like that. If Keith could be more specific and give us some examples it would be a debate worth having."
Dempster said he was opposed to Windschuttle's appointment. "I've got no problem with Keith Windschuttle or anyone else, at a personal level, being on the ABC board," Dempster said. "What his appointment continues, however, is a pattern of jobs for political and ideological mates that has been followed by both the Labor Party in government and the Liberals in government - and I'm sick and tired of it. "We want to make the ABC better."
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