Stewart: IRN and ITN must stick together

ITN news broadcaster Alistair Stewart has urged IRN and ITN journalists "to stick together" in the light of job cuts across the organisation.

Presenting the IRN Awards, Stewart said the two broadcasters were going through "enormously tough times together", and he urged journalists "to stick together and continue to celebrate quality" in journalism.

At the beginning of April, ITN announced it had secured the contract to produce ITV News until 2012 but with the possible loss of 64 jobs.

Stewart highlighted the "enormously important relationship" between IRN and ITN, and said that despite radio and TV broadcasters often chasing the same story, they retained the same goals.

He said radio journalists worked on a "wonderfully intimate" medium. Radio broadcasters, he said, were charged with "the burden of capturing that solemnity"

when describing the arrival of the bodies of the four British soldiers in Iraq in the UK last Thursday.

"It's a service of incomparable importance and value to the public in grasping what's going on," said Stewart. You don't have the graphics or the trickery."

Stewart also advised students to follow a non-journalistic degree course and do "real practical journalism". He said: "It's heartbreaking the number of people turning up from Bournemouth or Cardiff [University] and they are worth nothing to us."

Stewart advised that having a set of cuttings and a 2:1 degree outside journalism would stand a student in better stead than "the person with a diploma" and no practical journalism experience.

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