Media Awards: A view from the next generation | Student Action Network | 13 Jul 2009 | Amnesty International UK

Media Awards: A view from the next generation

At last month’s Media Awards we asked a few student journalists along to get their take on it.

Here are the thoughts of Kat Lay, Editor of London Student

The mood in Western journalism, in blogs, books and even chats over cups of tea, is very bleak and downbeat at the moment.

All we hear about are cutbacks, with journalists mindlessly rewriting endless press releases without taking (or indeed having) the time to check facts, let alone do any real investigations.

So attending the Amnesty International Media awards a couple of weeks ago was a breath of fresh air.

The stories up for recognition did just what every hopeful journalist aspires to do – they shone a light into dark places and revealed information that someone wanted to keep hidden. By no stretch of the imagination did this constitute churnalism.

And the number of Britain-based stories on the list was a particular inspiration. There’s definitely a tendency to think that human rights issues are only news for the foreign pages, but a Guardian feature into neighbours trying to save immigrants from deportation (among others) put paid to that.

The journalists recognised in the ‘Journalism Under Threat’ category were even more of a jolt out of the cosy world where a journalist’s biggest concern is a budget cut. Eynulla Fәtullayev, Ebrima B. Manneh and Pablo Pacheco Avila all faced far more severe difficulties, and still kept publishing.

That said, the winners’ acceptance speeches almost all included a plea for commissioning editors not to cut the budget for human rights journalism. The type of story recognised by the Amnesty awards is too important to lose. Let’s hope they were listening.”

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