New Semester

I know summer is over as a new semester and academic year is about to start. Autumn is on its way and winter too. But never mind it’s exciting.

Second years have progressed into their final year – how quick that’s flown and we have a new group about to start. They’ll come in all fresh and eager to learn. The group keeps growing too as I’ve been fielding clearing enquiries this morning, so if anyone wants a place there’s a few remaining!

Year 3 group next week will be appearing at the Linc Up Live event organised by Glenn Le Santo and Celia Lacey and their partnership. The students will be involved with live blogging.

Then the newbies will be reviewing a play at the Caxton Theatre  in Grimsby in October and hopefully will have more of a similar ilk. Then there’s all the local TV work to do including daily news bulletins that all year groups will be involved with. This is part of Seven’s bid for the Yorkshire and Humber region for Jeremy Hunt’s national TV schedule.

And then come June/July it’s the Lincolnshire Show and Waddington Airshow for TV, podcasts, social media and then I know it’s the summer and there’s a break before it all starts again!

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MPJ Promise of Performance

This is something I am currently working on. It’s part of our Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) accreditation process. We have to have a Promise of Performance, which outlines the recruitment process and what our course goals are. It’s essential information for prospective students and employers.

I filed a first draft on my blog yesterday and have since worked and refined it even further. So here is the latest version.

Promise of Performance Statement

BA Multi-Platform Journalism

The overall aim of the programme is to enable students to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills, which will be required to function effectively in the digital journalism arena.

The specific aims of the programme are:

  • To further high quality learning by developing the students’ interest in and knowledge of the learning process
  •  To ensure students’ develop a sound knowledge and critical understanding of the principles of digital media and the means of communication
  •  To equip students’ with the skills for employment in situations requiring personal responsibility and decision making
  •  To enable students’ to develop a wide range of thinking skills, practical and professional skills and transferable skills

Student journalists will be taught to work within the digital and multimedia industries – as print journalists using video cameras, writing for newspapers, magazines, and the internet (online news, blogs and vlogs), and video/audio journalism as well as the more traditional routes. New media is an industry that is taking advantage of the very latest digital technologies available including those mentioned above.

Recruitment

The course recruits people from 18 years upwards who are enthusiastic and motivated about multi-platform journalism.

All applicants irrespective of entry qualification(s) will be formally interviewed and have to sit two assessments. One to test ability to write and the other for the ability to spot spelling and grammatical errors. Applicants also need to ensure they have a clear speaking voice and voice quality will be assessed at point of interview.

Standard Offer

240 points from A’ Levels, GCE and AVCE Double Award or 60 Access to HE credits (of which a minimum of 45 must be at Level 3); BTEC Level 3 or Advanced Apprenticeship.  Students are also required to hold English & Maths GCSE (or equivalent) grade C or above.

Non-standard Offer

In line with the widening participation brief, the Institute encourages applications from students who lack formal academic qualifications.  All such applicants will be set an appropriate piece of work and a judgement made taking into account their academic potential and relevant experience.

Accreditation of Prior Learning

Applicants may be admitted with credit for prior certificated learning (APcL) or work/life experience or other uncertificated learning (APeL) (see section 8.3 – Accreditation of prior learning (experiential and certificated) of the Higher Education Quality Handbook which can be found at http://www.grimsby.ac.uk/About us/section8.html).

International Admissions

The Institute recognises a wide range of entry qualifications as being equivalent to A’ level standard; if students hold a qualification not listed above please contact the HE Manager for Admissions and Administration for further guidance on +44 (0)1472 315528.

International students are expected to achieve IELTS 5.5 or TOEFL (including the tests in written and spoken practice), minimum score of 525 (paper-based test).

Desirable Applicant Qualities

Applicants should also be able to demonstrate no fewer than three of the following desirable qualities:

  • Good general knowledge, especially of current affairs and/or specialist field of journalism
  • Evidence of key skills such as team working, problem solving, flexibility, tenacity, lateral thinking, enthusiasm, willingness, initiative
  • Basic competencies in keyboard skills and internet use for data searching and communication
  • Basic skills in blogging, tweeting or another web-based narrative construction
  • Prior relevant experience
  • Knowledge of British media

Current Students

2010/11

Level 4 – 0

Level 5 – Six students (3 female, 3 male). All students are white, predominantly middle class backgrounds.

Level 6 – 0

2011/12

Level 4 – 10 (4 Female, 6 male) All students are white, predominantly middle class.

Level 5 – 0

Level 6 – 6 (3 female, 3 male). All students are white, predominantly middle class backgrounds.

Duration

The course is an undergraduate programme, which runs for three years with 30 weeks per academic year.

Awarding Institution

The University of Hull

Occupational goals of the course

The BA Multi-Platform Journalism programme provides undergraduates with the essential skills required of today’s journalist working in a multi-platform driven newsroom.

It provides a mix of theoretical study and practical training and puts them in challenging situations as a way of developing their knowledge and skills base.

Throughout their three years, students are taught how to write for different publications and platforms, how to take a good photograph and how to produce radio and TV packages and then translate it into ideas for online.

Embedded into this across the three years is the knowledge and understanding of media law, ethics and health and safety.

In Year 1, students are introduced to writing and interviewing skills for print based and broadcast media. Alongside this they also learn production skills for broadcast media (radio and TV). They undertake exams in media law and politics and learn about global media markets and how to develop story ideas and be creative across the platforms.

Going into Year 2, they are introduced to the multi-platform newsroom, which sees them working for 20 weeks producing news content for the Grimsby Telegraph and local cable station, Seven TV broadcasting on VirginMedia 879 and the internet. News content includes written for print and online, video, audio and photos. They learn digital photography skills and the role of photo-journalism to tell a story. Online skills are further developed by producing regular content for a website and they learn more about the media and the role it plays in reporting global conflicts. To develop their print based skills they undertake production of a magazine and develop advanced writing skills.

It is in their second and third year, that students are encouraged to undertake work placements either in newspapers, TV, or radio. This helps in their final year as part of their professional practice, which sees them develop their networking and interview skills and gives them help and support to enter the market as a freelancer. Also within their final year, there will be a number of specialised workshops to help develop and nurture skills, including PR and Marketing.

The third year also sees students work on a final project, which is geared towards their specialism, but incorporates multi-platform elements. They also undertake the writing of a dissertation, which does not have to be linked to their final project.

Year 1

  • Writing and Interviewing in the Digital Age
  • Production Skills for the Multi-Platform Journalist
  • Global Media Markets
  • Journalism in the Field 1
  • Journalism in the Field 2
  • A Nose For News

Year 2

  • Magazine Journalism and Production
  • Multi-Platform Newsroom
  • News Writing for Print Media
  • Basic Digital Photography
  • Media and Global Conflicts
  • Online Production

Year 3

  • Dissertation Planning for Multi-Platform Journalism
  • Professional Practice for Journalists
  • Final Project Pre-Production for Multi-Platform Journalism
  • Dissertation for Multi-Platform Journalism
  • Final Project for Multi-Platform Journalism

 As part of student learning, students will attend events outside of the timetable to develop their journalistic skills, ie covering music concerts or theatre productions to develop review writing skills; covering a variety of events to develop live tweeting and blogging skills; tasting food to develop food review writing skills, etc.

All of this will encompass the multi-platform elements from writing to taking photographs, producing video or radio packages, podcasts to using and sharing it on social media.

In addition to this the students have access to a radio studio and the intention is to have a radio station to broadcast across campus, thus developing their radio production skills. There is also a soft TV news studio for producing daily news bulletins for broadcast on Seven TV and the internet.

 

CPD – what is it?

As part of my job as a media lecturer I have to ensure I keep up to date with industry professionalism. CPD stands for Continuous Professional Development and I undertake various things to ensure I stay current. It’s something all lecturers need to do in order to keep fresh and in line with what happens in their field of expertise.

Time spent at the Grimsby Telegraph working in the newsroom ensures I keep in touch with what happens within newspapers and the newsroom. I work as a video journalist producing video content for the website and writing the occasional article to accompany it. Last week, as part of reading week, I spent the week there. Check out my YouTube channel to see examples of the videos I have produced. Also for one of my videos I also wrote the article – Mayflower Wood

I have also continued to present programmes for Seven on VirginMedia 879. Check out their website for programmes I have been involved in, namely presenting Lincolnshire Living, but also I recently presented The People’s Jury.

Been involved with Social Media, such as writing this blog and using Twitter (@RoseReiki) also ensures my writing skills and knowledge of what is current and how journalists use SM is kept up to date. I am always looking to undertake various jobs to keep my skills current, including recently beginning a project to record the memories of those who worked at or can remember Waltham Windmill when it was operational.

All of this means I’m in touch with my area of expertise and ensuring I keep abreast of latest changes and movements within journalism.

Seven

Seven, or as it used to be called Channel Seven, is a local community TV station based in North East Lincolnshire. It started out in 1998 and I joined it in that year. I’d left my job as a newspaper reporter to help come in and set up the news operation. For a while I worked on reception, before moving over to set the team up. There was a small team of us – Chris McRae, Rob Dabb, Andrew Redfearn, Tony Whiley (*he went to Sky News), Lee Byatt (*who went to Sky) and Dave Ward, plus volunteers like Stuart Hall and Del, who all went out filming features and producing content for a magazine programme called Scene On Seven plus others. We worked a lot with volunteers too.

There were our regular presenters, Michelle Portess and Gary Williams amongst many others including Dave Otter (GTFC Supporters’ Club) who presented a sports slot. It relied on their goodwill to do such a thing.

There was no budget and everything was done cheaply. Staff were happy to give their time to produce the programmes as they enjoyed it and cared

Emma Lingard presenting the evening news bulletin on Channel Seven, circa 1999

passionately about the channel and its relationship with the community.

The programmes included an evening bulletin, News on 7, magazine show Scene on Seven, which went out three times a week, a music programme and a live breakfast show presented daily by Chris. Alongside these shows, other producers made a variety of programmes including a watercolour art show.

And then there were the one off specials we produced. These were usually live. I can recall a 24 hour broadcast for some charity in which I interviewed someone in a bath of beans and during the full solar eclipse we did a half hour live show with studio guests and a phone link-up with a member of staff in Cornwall.

As well as the volunteers, this was the first time students from the NVQ 4 Broadcast Journalism and NVQ 3 Camera and Edit course based at Grimsby Institute joined us. The station was their base for work experience and what an experience they got. When I left the station in 2000 to have a baby, I ended going to work for the Institute and eventually took over the running of the NVQ programme and came full circle. Students to have graced the doors of the Immingham station include Chris Nundy, Robin Small, Keeley Donovan (who now presents the weather on BBC), Leanne Brown (BBC Look North), Minna Pisto (Finnish TV), Louise Adamou, Claire Muckart, Rowan Campbell, Lisa Crawford (all BBC) and many, many more who went on to great successes thanks to the experience they gained.

Seven is broadcast on VirginMedia 879 and is the longest running community television station. What made it great is that the people who worked there cared deeply about it. They were local people. The catchphrase was “The place to go to see people you know.” And it was. We had a presence each year at the Carnival and made sure we engaged with communities and covered the news in their area. Let’s hope some more students get the opportunity to produce programmes for it and get the experience needed to get jobs.

Prospective students – tips on how to do well at interview

It’s that time of year again when I’m getting applications via UCAS for the BA Multi-Platform Journalism course. I read through each one carefully and check how many points the applicant says they hope to achieve. Everyone is invited in for interview as I do believe in meeting people and finding out more about them, than just reading a piece of paper. I also think it’s good for them to meet staff and see the place and explore it.

I wrote  a blog last year on this, giving some tips for when invited to interview. It’s surprising how many students don’t get an interview but are just offered conditional without being seen, which brings me to another blog I wrote on test drives. If you can go visit the institution and get a feel for it. If taster sessions are offered, take them up and if you get offered media work experience take it! And then there’s the question of UCAS points – another blog where I commented on the points offered on my course and the reason behind it. It currently stands at 180, but from Sept 2011 will move to 240.

The reason being I need to attract students who can write and speak English to a high standard; are well-read and can communicate their thoughts and opinions; plus here at ECM, we are unique in offering a chance to work at the Grimsby Telegraph one day a week and we have access to Seven, the local television station broadcasting on VirginMedia 879 (I’ll write a blog about that soon). Plus a large proportion of our journalism graduates work at the BBC, Sky as well as in other media outlets. Oh and we are a Skillset Media Academy! So because it’s Grimsby and you may think it’s the end of the universe – it isn’t. It’s actually very nice here and cost of living is cheap compared to elsewhere. If you have a car you can travel to Hull or Lincoln for a night out, if you don’t fancy Grimsby or Cleethorpes.

So if you want to know more about the BA (Hons) Multi-Platform Journalism course then call 01472 315550 or contact me through this blog or on Twitter @eastcoastmedia and of course to learn more about me and my ability see my youtube channel or visit my podcasts. I think you’ll find I practice what I preach and the last word can go to one of our recent industry speakers, Lee Smallwood, read what he had to say about East Coast Media in his blog.