A Goldsmiths, University of London lecturer has been named president of the world’s oldest professional body for journalists.
Professor Tim Crook, convenor of the MA Radio at Goldsmiths, was the UK’s first broadcast legal affairs correspondent for LBC/IRN. He has also worked for the BBC, ITN, NPR USA, CBC Canada RtE Ireland and the Independent newspaper and has been a lecturer at Goldsmiths for over thirty years.
He was announced as the new President of the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) at an event in London on Thursday 12 March.
Professor Crook received international awards for his live broadcasting on LBC when Diana, Princess of Wales died in 1997. He was the first UK radio broadcaster to confirm and announce the news.
As a result of a European Court of Human Rights challenge in 1986, Professor Crook won a Freedom of Information Campaign Award allowing reporters in Britain to challenge Crown Court reporting bans and decisions by courts. The Broadcast Journalism Training Council also gave him a special award for services to journalism and training last year.
Professor Crook developed the teaching of media law and ethics which have become the foundation of contemporary reporting. His books range from textbooks on media law, to 2010’s 'The Secret Lives of A Secret Agent: The Mysterious Life and Times of Alexander Wilson', which formed the basis of BBC series Mrs Wilson.
At Goldsmiths he leads the MA Radio and in addition to teaching radio journalism and drama also lectures on scriptwriting, propaganda and is the College historian.
Founded in 1884, the CIoJ is the oldest professional body for journalists in the world, and now includes groups for freelance journalists, press photographers, journalists working in media relations, and broadcasters.
At his confirmation speech at the Hospital Club, Professor Crook discussed the role of journalism in an age of uncertainty, and set out what he would like to achieve for the CIoJ and profession of journalism over the two years of his presidency:
“Journalism is the first draft of history and becomes the archive and memory of the nation. Without it, we lose the archive, the memory, the heritage, the identity and the necessary relationship between the present and the past that can be so educational and reassuring in times of crisis like the present.
“If journalism is truly a profession, those entering it should be experiencing security of employment, an industry with career paths and real professional development opportunities. The journalism workplace should be thriving with a constant striving for equality and diversity. All forms of bullying must be eradicated particularly in high pressure competitive environments.
“Parliament and politicians need to problematise less and look to their own constitutional obligations rather than waste time plotting revenge and clipping the wings of the messengers that give them the power of voice and representation in our democracy.”