The Guardian has revealed new research which suggests that 38 per cent of its journalists went to either Oxford or Cambridge.
Readers’ editor Chris Elliott asked the 630 journalists who he said currently work on The Guardian, Observer and Guardian.co.uk whether they went to Oxbridge. He said of those who responded, 67 did and 111 did not.
Another interesting question would be how many are NCTJ trained (or equivalent)? And how many learned their trade at the coalface on regional or trade publications before going on to the nationals?
Elliott’s survey seems to confirm previous research which has suggested that national newspapers are not representative of society as a whole. Research by the Sutton Trust reported by Press Gazette revealed in 2006 that more than half the UK’s leading national newspaper journalists were privately educated, and that 67 per cent of those that had a degree went to Oxford or Cambridge.
I’ve always advised aspiring journalists that the best way into journalism was to get a good degree from a decent university, then an NCTJ qualification followed by a job in a regional newspaper or trade publication.
But on reflection I think top of the priority list for would-be hacks might be to get into Oxford or Cambridge. So make sure you get three A-grades at A-level, then apply for one of the less popular subjects.