Behind the Headlines

Behind the Headlines

Facts, context and comment about issues raised in the media

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  • Postgraduate finance

    Postgraduate finance | 25 Jan 13 | 0 comments

    Access to postgraduate study has been in the media a lot lately. On 6 January leaders of 11 UK universities told The Observer they were deeply concerned about the government’s ‘neglect’ of postgraduate students, following revelations that public funding for postgraduates would be reduced. Oxford’s own Will Hutton wrote in the paper about the fact that “within two years not one British graduate studying for a taught master's degree will get public support and the funding available to those undertaking a research-based doctorate will be cut by a fifth”, and argued that “the implications are obvious. Unless [postgraduates at UK universities] can win one of the few scholarships, or the support of a business or a charity, or have rich parents, they simply will not be able to embark on their study or research without crippling levels of debt.”

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  • Merit, not money

    Facts, context and comment about issues in the media | 11 May 11 | 0 comments

    Admission to Oxford: merit matters, not money

    Plenty of heat but rather less light has been generated in the latest political and media storm over who goes to university and how they get in.

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  • How the Bate's instruments of torture split the media

    Facts, context and comment about issues in the media | 17 Dec 10 | 0 comments

    How the Bate's instruments of torture split the media

    Andy Lamb, Museum Manager at the Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, based in the Music Faculty on St Aldate’s, installed a particularly creative exhibition in October 2010. The exhibition drew the attention of arts correspondents at The Times and the BBC - but also whet the appetite of a Guardian humour columnist.

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  • Foreign correspondents we have known and loved

    Facts, context and comment about issues in the media | 15 Dec 10 | 0 comments

    Foreign correspondents we have known and loved

    The study ‘Are foreign correspondents redundant?’ by Richard Sambrook, a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University’s Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, triggered a number of British journalists to write about real-life doyens and fictional characters in books and films that have defined the role for many of us.

    In a column in the London Evening Standard , media commentator Roy Greenslade revealed that as a cub reporter he wanted to be Fowler, the veteran British correspondent in Graham Greene’s The Quiet American who ‘exhibited the values of instinct, local knowledge and good sources’. Greenslade looked up to the other world-weary, real-life foreign reporters of the time such as James Cameron and Rene Cutforth. He shared the ‘thrill’ of his first week at the Sunday Times working an ancient telex machine so that Marie Colvin, ‘a reporter to admire’, could file her exclusive interview with Colonel Gaddafi from Tripoli.

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  • Not just black and white

    Facts, context and comment about issues raised in the media | 07 Dec 10 | 0 comments

    These issues are not just black and white

    Oxford University was all over the media today - for making a major contribution to the understanding of the benefits of aspirin.

    This kind of research excellence, and the contribution it can make to human wellbeing, defines what Oxford is about. Yet elsewhere, in the fees debate, the Guardian’s headlines imply that when it comes to undergraduate admissions, Oxford and Cambridge aren’t about excellence but about exclusion.

    Exclusion isn’t in the interests of world-class universities. If you want the best people, then by definition you want them whatever their background.

    Yet under the banner ‘the Oxbridge whitewash’, the Labour politician David Lammy makes a series of allegations about admissions policies at the two universities, all set against the background of the political battle between his party and the coalition government over tuition fees.

    He deploys information culled from an FOI request to Oxford and Cambridge. It so happens that Oxford has been doing research of its own in this field, which it is making widely available. It has done this because the University is concerned to ensure it attracts and recruits the very best students, whatever their background. How else can a university remain world-class but to apply the same excellence criteria to admissions that it applies to research?

    This analysis was given to the Guardian over a week ago. 

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