Wednesday 6 January 2010

On the gulf between academia and journalism

So it's been a while since I've posted here. 2010 is deadline year and the ratio of PhD to blogging is increasing in the PhD direction each month, week and day.

Which is a shame because blogging is great and many good things have come out of this blog and my Frontline blog.

I often think, too, that far more people will read my blog posts than my PhD. In a way the blog might be more useful to people than the PhD especially as by the time the PhD is published, (if ever), the world will have moved on a-pace and its relevancy significantly reduced.

I wonder if I should have put more of my research out on the blog along the way.

(Although I place the utmost importance on making sure participants agree to publication which does make it more difficult and there are various other contractual issues in my case that might not affect other PhDs.)

Professor Tim Luckhurst, I see, has called for journalism academics* to connect more with journalists by writing short essays rather than writing long papers that they don't have time to read.

This seems fine for established academics, and generally I agree entirely, but I've been told that not being published in the right places, and in the right format won't get me a job in academia come the end of the PhD.

If I say in an interview: I've published a lot of additional research on a blog, I've been told that will probably count for nothing. I might even be laughed at. To be fair, a lot of my blogging wouldn't come anywhere near 'research' but you get the point.

Generally, I ignore these warnings in the hope that they are unfounded (and I'm not certain exactly what I want to do at the end of the PhD anyway).

But if Tim Luckhurst really wants to change the institutional culture of academia then I would suggest there is a hell of a lot of work to do.

It's interesting Luckhurst notes that Piet Bakker's blog is slightly more useful than his recent research paper, because if I really wanted to get on in academia (from what I've been told) I would have spent far less time blogging, twittering and generally engaging with journalists and far more time writing papers that journalists will probably never read.

*I suppose you could stick me in this category even though I'm in a War Studies Department and generally disciplinarially confused.


Unknown said...

I hope the blog, my Twitter and my articles are interesting. Academics can multitask!

drbexl said...

Hear Hear... also disciplinarinarily challenged (currently on short term contracts teaching history, media studies and promoting e-learning!)! Think we need to be at the forefront of new education (then I keep realising that I need to pull back and publish 'properly'!)

Daniel Bennett said...

@Piet I think you must be better at it than me!

@drbexl Glad the post resonated - seems you have plenty going on there.

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