The future of journalism is bright.

The inhabitants of Planet Fitba could be forgiven for having an extremely low opinion of my trade.

However, that would be like thinking that you knew everything you needed to know about Celtic strikers because you had been Wayne Biggins in the hoops.

I spent most of the month of January marking essays from students at the prestigious City University in London.

They are reading for an MA in International Journalism.

Most of these post graduate students were from the UK, but some were from countries as diverse as Brazil, France, Germany, Indian and Spain.

The questions put to them covered issues like the protection of sources, the right to privacy and the use of subterfuge in investigative journalism.

The succulent lamb fuelled Churnalism of the Laptop loyal and the stuttering waffle of the football phone ins should not be taken for best practice in my trade.

I am particularly impressed with the “next gen” of journalists.

The authors of these essays provided ample evidence of a firm grasp of the skills, and crucially the values, that will make them fine reporters.

They know that they are coming into an industry at a time of turmoil.

The writing is on the billboards for the print sector, and traditional broadcasting organisations are also facing challenges, but any democratic society needs a free press and an unshackled media will always need reliable journalists.

Although I didn’t detect anything distinctively Caledonian about any of my essay writers I know through this window on the world that there is a bright young crop emerging in Scotland.

I was recently contacted by a journalism student in the West of Scotland asking me about where her next step was in this evolving craft.

It is heartening for an old stager like me to be holding impromptu tutorials late at night through Face Tube, or whatever they call it…

When the Rangers financial story is finally put to bed I intend to look back over the coverage of the demise of Scotland’s establishment club by the mainstream media.

In the main I will be surveying cowardice, incompetence and venality.

If the Scottish hack pack was a football team, then it would be appropriate to use well-worn clichés like “dead wood”, “clear out” and “major surgery” in any story about them.

Why did the biggest sporting story in Scottish history have to be dragged into the public consciousness by bloggers and citizen journalists while the sports desks played safe?

It might even be subject worthy of an essay question for those fine students.

Leave a Reply