UEA can expect a journalism undergraduate course by September 2020. The course, which aims to build off the success of the current ‘Broadcast and Digital Journalism’ postgraduate course.
The degree will leave its graduates with a Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BCTJ) qualification – the qualification sought after by leading broadcasters such ITN, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
Students that currently wish to gain experience in journalism as a part of their course have a limited selection of modules from which to choose, and there are few other institutions in the Norfolk/Suffolk area that offer an equal level of qualification.
The course intends to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical journalism, and while it will offer journalistic ethics and media law training, it also aims to provide more streamlined modules such as political journalism as well as implementing the 15+ days of newsroom conditions which are required under the qualification.
These days will directly emulate a newsroom environment, giving students first-hand experience of producing, presenting and directing their own broadcasts.
Utilising Norwich’s capacity as a media hub, the course will give students access to Epic Studios in Norwich where UEA students currently work in a newly upgraded professional media suite.
The studio is complete with professional grade radio editing facilities, multiple studios capable of producing high quality, feature-length documentaries as well as newsrooms to simulate a professional news environment as best as possible.
Speaking to the Master’s students who already use the studio, it’s clear that the aims for both the studio and the practicality of the course have been met. They told Concrete about the workshop days they’ve completed, which require them to work under professional newsroom conditions, producing real-time broadcasts to give them a hands-on experience.
One student, who had a journalism undergraduate degree from another university, praised the mix of practicality and theory which allowed him to gain the hands-on experience required in a journalism job, and they all shared their appreciation of the employability value of the course.
Mark Wells and Clare Precey, the coordinators of the current postgraduate and future undergraduate course said ‘UEA has never had a complete journalism program… just lots of aspects handled separately. This is a chance for us to have a complete journalism course aimed at developing professional journalists.’
Between them they have worked with the BBC, the EDP, Radio 1 and a variety of programs and broadcasts, and have very clear aims for the course.
Building off Mark’s comments, Clare told us how she ‘gets news editors coming to me on a regular basis asking if we have news journalists trained and ready to go because they have shifts they can offer them. But they need to be properly trained in radio news and software, able to write bulletins and record interviews. We’re providing people who are ready to go into these jobs…’
The new course is expected to be an option in the September 2020 enrolment to UEA, but you can look at the work of the current Master’s students on twitter @UEA_Journalism or online at www.ueajournalism.com.