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  1. 1

    Mu Lin

    IMHO, when you write “you can either write or you can’t,” it seems to me that your definition of journalism needs to be updated: to be a reporter nowadays is way more than simply “writing.” The (ongoing) future of journalism is multimedia, multiplatform, digital or whatever you call it. The (reinvented) journalism profession is a promising area for future students. 

  2. 2

    S Copteros

    With all due respect to Mr Bullard; what a load of rubbish! As a lecturer at the Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies, I know what goes into educating Journalism and Media Studies students – and both ‘Journalism’ and ‘Media Studies’ are the operative words. Mr Bullard seems to think that we’re a technikon, imparting ten useful skills and sending students out into the media grinder. What a monochromatic view from someone supposedly so experienced. Beyond imparting strong technical skills to our students through various specialisation streams that range from writing & editing, to radio, TV, online, photography,and health and economic journalism, the media studies aspect of our courses and degrees equip students to THINK about the media, its role in society, the voices it represents, and how it is changing. The slow death of the newsroom that Mr Bullard speaks of is but one tiny aspect of media developments in the world right now. Citizen journalism, public journalism and the fusion of social movements, online commuters and news dissemination platforms are but three of the most interesting current developments in the evolution of media right now. And the discourse around Media & Citizenship being currently pioneered by the Mellon Group in our school is truly making an impact on how media is thought about, executed and discussed. I would suggest that Mr Bullard’s myopic view of journalism education needs a rapid and relatively serious refresh, if he to not sound like the bitter old lags he writes about.

  3. 3

    S Copteros

    And perhaps, had Mr Bullard studied my Media & Ethics course he would have kept his job at the Sunday Times

  4. 4

    Clive Williams

    How about a view from the people who have to suffer the joys of being subjected to what journalists THINK we want to hear or read, what journalists THINK is good for us to have to swallow… Have the journalists ever bothered to find out if we actually CARE about what they THINK we ought to THINK or BELIEVE? I THINK not!! University academics who teach journalism are too caught up in their own intellectualizing to bother about us, and this carries through to their lecture hall prodigy who go out into the field and report on whatever!
    I tell you what we do want from journalists – the facts, without opinion, without rhetoric, without private or hidden agendas. Let us make up our own minds, thank you. If you believe that the ‘great unwashed’ masses – the illiterati, or ignorati – are incapable of making up their own minds then you DO have your own agenda. And you are inflicting it on us! And so you insult us! We are your readers, your listeners. Let those who are incapable of forming an educated opinion remain so. We do not need the media to create that opinion for them.
    And that is one of the issues that Mr Bullard alludes to, as far as I can make out. Not so much what is happening in the allegorical newsroom (or any modern day digital age equivalent), but the effects thereof on ME, on US – those whom you try so desperately to persuade, or to dissuade – through your own bias, prejudice, politic, laziness, slovenliness, whatever!
    ‘I read it in the newspapers, it must be true’ holds no more; not for many years has it held. And in this age of digital media, even less so! ‘Believe nothing, question everything’ used to be the exclusive preserve of the cynic, but is now everyman! And this thanks to the manner in which we have been our daily media bread.
    The voice that the media represents belongs to those who pay the bills! Media THINKS otherwise, I am sure. They have to, in order to justify their profession (we would like to hope that it may still be a profession).
    There may be many brilliant journo’s out there who do excellent work; and we hope they remain untainted by the agendas of big corporate and big politics, but hardly! Instead, we the average-joe’s, have to put up with media-ocrity!
    Before you rush to label this post as another load of rubbish; it is the observation of just such an average joe! Not a journalist; not an academic. What you are reading above is a reflection of what you represent to me – as I said – your reader, your viewer, your listener!

  5. 5


    Deeply dull and unoriginal.Run out of ideas David?

  6. 6


    I’m not sure why the Media chose to publish this drivel. Just as the skills a good journalist develops over time are valuable in  a multitude of different jobs, so too, the knowledge acquired and the skills developed during a journalism degree are also widely applicable. It seems David Bullard knows very little about what students actually learn on these courses and is projecting his own wasted years on other students.Perhaps if he were to take a three year journalsim degree he might learn a little about the value of research. This uninspired,lethargic rambling by Bullard – it would seem that at last David has nothing left to say – is beneath themediaonline which generally provides a useful read.   

  7. 7


    When I read articles with arguments as well constructed as this, “I just want go out and get slaid”. 
    Alternatively I can watch rugby with no sound and hope that the traditionalist dimwits will finally move on…

  8. 8


    With all due respect @S Copteros, Rhodes School of
    Journalism produces the worst newspaper reporters in the country. Look at any
    staff compliment that entered the workforce in the last 10 years and you will
    see the most clueless, inexperienced bunch comes from your school. They
    literally have no practical training and spend the first year trying to play catch
    up to the reporters from a technikon. Your school might have been the best in
    the heyday but it certainly is not anymore. Over the years I have seen this and it is getting worse.

  9. 9

    S Copteros

    @Monica N – Wow! What insightful commentary on our school, backed up by solid evidence. Clearly a well trained journalist. Of course internships at media institutions as part of the curriculum from 1st year onwards, the fact that we are one of a handful of media schools on Earth to own our own publicly disseminated newspaper (Grocott’s Mail) where students also intern throughout their degrees, that we run our own Cue TV, Cue Radio, Cue and SciCue publications, the fact that our graduates have just won CNN’s African media awards and Discovery’s Health Journalism Awards, that we were part of the parliamentary submission process on the state of the media, that we have collaborative relationships with all major broadcasters and publishing houses, that we have our own newsrooms, radio and television studios, host the Highway Africa African media conference, had our students staffing the COP17 Summit’s daily online ezine etc. etc. etc. cannot count as the pragmatic hands-on experience that Monica clearly has, which is so evident from the way she so eruditely criticizes our school.      

  10. 10


    As an RU alumnus with a son there now and reading The Oppidan Press regularly, I hail much of the “newer” mindset, especially at my alma mater. Yet I worry when S’s rantings come across like Tourette’s Syndrome instead of a showcase display of “what we mean”. Having employed & mentored fresh graduates, I’ve always been distressed at how competently RU grads (and others) could argue the esoteric stuff and how grossly unprepared they were for the real world. It’s delightful to see this gradually changing. There remains an unfulfilled need for the old-style cadet schools. I suspect we’re being inundated with “officers” from Westpoint and not enough “grunts” who know how to fight with live ammo. Here in the US you grind away as a gopher for at least five years before one of your ideas is even heard, let alone makes it on to the Diary. No, David, a journalism degree is never bogus, but, S, bylines should still be earned, the 5 Ws & H and keeping copy Right, Bright & Tight still rule supreme and heaping scorn on the rules of South African English grammar, spelling, syntax and punctuation should still get your magnum opus thrown back at you. 

  11. 11


    A pretty old and stale argument that gets trotted out everywhere around the world these days, not only in South Africa. Business knows better than academia, blah blah etc. Seeing as he’s written this article, I’m confused as to whether he followed his own philosophy…did he study journalism or not? I can’t quite tell if he got any training, and he certainly can’t write…

  12. 12

    David Bullard

    Loved the comments. I’m afraid the jokes on you Salvamea (what a lovely name). No I didn’t study journalism or creative writing but I’ve been making a very good living from it for 18 years on a very ad hoc basis. Not bad for someone who can’t write eh? Maybe there’s hope for you.
    And Strato Copteros (not such a lovely name. Sounds like a bacteria), before I enrol for your course can you tell me where I can read your “freelance” writing. Nobody I have spoken to has ever heard of you, But that doesn’t mean your fibbing I know. And thank god I didn’t attend your Media and Ethics class…I might still be writing for that downmarket sunday rag.

  13. 13

    David Bullard

    Correction….”you’re fibbing”…..whoops….more ammo for the anonymous trolls.

  14. 14


    @S Copteros get your head out your arse and take a whiff!

  15. 15


    @S Copteros And it does not have to be backed up by solid evidence … not sure if they teach this in your Media and Ethics class but people are allowed an opinion.

  16. 16


    I would say the better the training, the more dangerous the journo. A well trained journalistic imbecile could do a lot of of damage.

    Weed out those with no talent, train the rest.

  17. 17


    And many other degrees that we know, generally in human sciences, legal and health.

  18. Pingback: Thanks Mr Bullard, I’m sticking with my bogus degree « janwillembornman

  19. 18

    Ivan Ayliffe

    Citizen Journalism is gutting established/organised press anyhow. I certainly wasn’t relying on any of the news channels to find out who won the US election because 1) It’d be late, and news is only valuable when it’s just that: NEW. 2) I’d rather get my news from sources that don’t have an undercover agenda, and tend to have more backbone.

  20. 19


    David Bullard does not know what he is talking about I
    would recommend that he takes a 3 year degree in journalism because clearly he
    needs it for his behavioral check. Firstly Journalism is not only about writing
    and thinking of your audience as passive receptive’ incapable to differentiate right
    from wrong one needs to learn how to write in such a way that would convey clarity
    without insulting anyone and also showing respect to your audience, in fact writing
    is secondary. Taking a three year degree in journalism gives one a clear understanding
    on how to report on issues in accurate ways with reference to the laws within
    the constitution, research skills which one cannot miraculously learn overnight,
    journalism ethics also the true meaning of journalism and only if only Mr.
    Bullard took a degree in journalism he would have not been fired from Sunday
    Times as he would have learned from “ the journalism degree” section :16 of the
    constitution which addresses the correct ways
    for one to engage in freedom of expression. Furthermore Bullard is
    missing another point which is: not every young person is ignorant like he was
    when he was a student and some of us value knowledge whether is knowledge in English,
    Drama or journalism therefore a 3 years degree means 3 more years of knowledge.

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