Everybody In – the AMPA way to publication

With the support of a number of working journalists (special thanks to AMPA colleague Richard Horsman) my colleague Diane Kemp and I have just launched an e-book on inclusive journalism.

So, apart from a shameless plug – Everybody In is available free from Leanpub at https://leanpub.com/everybodyinbook  – why do I mention this on the AMPA blog?

In short it’s because the book from its conception to publication was an example of what AMPA seems to me to be about – using practice as a basis of research and to examine theoretical thinking. In this case the book blends thinking around issues of difference (protected characteristics if you prefer). The journalists who have been so wonderfully supportive of the project then reflect on their personal and professional experiences of one of those areas before we offer practical suggestions on how genuinely inclusive approaches to reporting can be embedded in our news coverage. (Really you should just reads it).

Furthermore the business of publishing in this way – while it may not meet the conventional rigour of peer assessed books, chapters, papers etc – would appear to be an excellent way for practitioners to showcase their work. Everybody In has the backing of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council’s industry members. In a letter to BJTC accredited courses they – the BBC, ITN, ITV News, Reuters and AP – say: “We believe that “Everybody In is a great resource to inform, stimulate, and educate. It provides a real insight into some of the issues that journalists will face every day. We hope you will use the e-book as a basis for discussion and debate”. Now there’s an endorsement of practice and theory in harmony.

The BJTC is supporting further publications with a similar approach and a conversation has already begun with practice colleagues in our own school about how they should be encouraged to publish themselves. One of our colleagues, Paul Bradshaw who is widely acknowledged as a leading practitioner and thinker in the who area of online and data journalism, already has a number of e-books to his name.

This then could be a valuable route for practitioners to highlight their work and for students in other institutions to benefit from practical expertise and thinking currently available in one place only.

Dare I suggest in closing that with the Teaching Excellence Framework now looming large in the thinking of universities, now might be an ideal time to explore this idea.

Proud practitioners’ big day out

Welcome to the Association of Media Practice Academics – or whatever we end up being called. The final name aside, the fact remains that a group of very interesting people who teach (and research) journalism and media practice for a living got together yesterday (July 7th) and decided to create a new body to represent their interests and promote their work……and that’s a big step. 

Now the big day is over I can admit that I had some fear that we would be a group of disgruntled (or in, my case, grumpy old) media types complaining that we knew best about all sorts of things and that those ‘academic’ sorts were all just a bit up themselves. 

For those who weren’t there let me assure you that it was nothing like that. This was a small but representative group of people proud to be teaching practice based courses and modules, proud to be able to point to real success stories in terms of our students being highly employable, and proud to say we love the areas of ‘media’ we teach and practice. 

Yes, there was the odd moan about some of our institutions and perceived unfairness but I defy you to get any group of academics together and avoid that. 

At the risk of a Biblical stumble, I’ll venture a little more pride. I was proud that we didn’t point the finger at those responsible for the way we feel about our position within the academy but looked at what we can do to help celebrate all that’s good about practice teaching and to support those who are already involved in or looking at new approaches to research which embrace practice rather than simply tolerating it. 

The many colleagues around the country who have expressed support for and interest in AMAP (or whatever we’re called) will shortly be receiving details of the suggested ways forward and aims for the organisation which concluded our discussions at BCU. In the meantime I just wanted pause and reflect on what was achieved at the first Media Practice Academics Conference and how historic an event it may prove to be.