Following the article in The Independent by Kelvin Mackenzie last Friday, for which Harriet did much of the work and wasn’t initially credited, she clarifies the incident and gives her thoughts on what Mackenzie had to say…
Perhaps he’s right: “There’s nothing you can learn in three years studying media at university that you can’t learn in just one month on a local paper.” What about one day working alongside you, Kelvin?
We had always planned to place this piece in a national and discussed this when we met, but under a couple of conditions: one, after XCity had been circulated and, two, with my byline. Sadly none of these were met.
I’m still unsure where my name ‘fell off’. Whether it was in the hands of MacKenzie or down the line at The Independent. Now, though, I’m not sure it matters.
MacKenzie managed to stir up double the debate on Friday. The content alone received quite a moan. But that was always going to happen. The second wind came when certain tweeps discovered it was not his piece at all but mine, a young student journalist’s. The irony is that if MacKenzie had kept to the embargo and my name had been put on it in the first instance, XCity and I wouldn’t have got nearly half the publicity, which now leaves me slightly grateful.
Plus, after the online outrage, a line was added to the article on The Independent’s website crediting both XCity and me.
I don’t think journalism courses are a waste of time. Clearly, I’m doing one. They are expensive and I can’t really afford it. But I’m now in a position I wouldn’t and couldn’t have been in without the backing of my education. I’m a trained journalist. I wasn’t seven months ago. I don’t think any paper or magazine would consider me without the training I have received on my course.
MacKenzie told me: “You’ve made an error [doing a journalism course] as it may well have worked out for you anyway.” Well, I don’t think it would. City has given me a level of confidence with which I can enter the field. Not to mention grounding in media law, 100wpm shorthand and the opportunity to pitch to a panel of commissioning editors and create a 108-page magazine.
It may not have prepared me for a situation like this. But thankfully (genuinely) MacKenzie gave me a crash course. I promptly learnt the importance of strict copyright and embargo and what to expect from national newspapers.
I spoke to MacKenzie on Friday to enquire about the article. He ended our conversation with one of his suitably cryptic messages: “Remember the adventure started here.” Well, I definitely will. Friday gave me a taste of how exciting this industry can really be.
And this reminds me of the first thing MacKenzie said to me back in February: “Half the point of journalism is getting everybody irritated. The art of throwing mud pies.”
He’s certainly still got a bloody good arm.
Harriet Thurley graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2007 and is now rapidly approaching the end of the MA in magazine journalism at City University. She was picture editor for the 25th anniversary edition of XCity magazine and has experience working in both regional and national publications (that’s life! Grand Designs, Yours, R Magazine and Didsbury Life). Find her on Twitter.