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Appears in Collections:Communications, Media and Culture Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Preparing Journalism Students for the Blameless Bugle and the Guilty Gazette
Author(s): McKay, Jennifer May
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Keywords: Journalism
Journalism Vocational guidance Great Britain|vHandbooks, manuals, etc.
Journalism Social aspects
Death in mass media
Grief Social aspects
Issue Date: 2007
Date Deposited: 12-Jan-2010
Citation: McKay JM (2007) Preparing Journalism Students for the Blameless Bugle and the Guilty Gazette. Ethical Space, 4 (4), pp. 51-53.
Abstract: First paragraph: When a 13-year-old girl from my children’s school drowned with her father in a boating accident a few years ago, the story prompted me, as a journalist and lecturer in journalism, to reflect again on the way journalists act. I remembered why my training on a regional daily paper convinced me I was not cut out for a career in hard news. I now teach students about how to approach death knocks and rehearse for them the arguments of news editors about why these have to be done, but I was never convinced by the latter and consequently never comfortable about doing the former. Intruding into a family’s grief and shock is, it seems to me still, a low-rent way to make a living. I know editors say the family often finds it therapeutic to talk, or may be keen to see the loved one honoured, but I doubt whether many families would choose to be pursued by a pack of baying hacks within hours of a tragic death. The justifications for death knocks are spurious, as any journalist knows deep down. And, as I’ve suggested elsewhere, (McKay 2006: 217-218) journalists are definitely not the most appropriate or helpful people to speak to in a time of great personal trouble.
Rights: Copyright Jenny McKay 2007; The editor has granted permission for use of this article in this Repository. The article was first published in Ethical Space by Abramis Academic.

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