BA Multimedia Journalism

Overview

This course equips you to become a journalist with the news awareness, story-getting and story-telling skills to flourish in today’s multimedia journalism environment.

We live in a connected world with instant access to whatever news we want, whenever and wherever we want it. We don’t have to wait for the newspaper to hit the streets or for the evening news bulletin; anyone with a smartphone can be a reporter, able to record, edit and publish whatever they like.

The challenge for professional journalists in this digital age is to provide news and information that can be trusted, meeting the demands created by new technology and changing habits without sacrificing core professional values. Our degree has been designed with the future needs of this rapidly changing industry at its heart, informing our curriculum, programme design, facilities and staffing.

Led by former BBC News Online Managing Editor Tim Fenton, our course places a strong emphasis on good writing, independence, accuracy and ethical practice, the values that have always underpinned the best journalism. But at Essex we go further, applying those values to the new world of social networks and mobile technology.

You will gain a thorough training in the theory and practice of journalism:

  • Benefit from opportunities to work in the field, both independently and alongside practicing journalists across a range of media
  • Be mentored by a leading professional in a chosen specialist subject, such as business, arts, literary, political or sports journalism
  • Find, tell and publish your own ‘real’ stories across different media, building a substantial portfolio of work to show to future employers
  • Study topics including the art of storytelling, the history of journalism, and multimedia production
  • Work towards the industry-standard NCTJ Diploma in Journalism as part of your degree
  • Gain an essential understanding of media law and how the UK works

As a student at one of the UK’s leading social science institutions and a pioneer of literature and writing, you are uniquely placed to acquire a deep understanding of the world you report on as well as to develop your own powerful journalistic style.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university

Our expert staff

At Essex you learn from the best. Our course director Tim Fenton, is a former managing editor of the BBC News Online website and a journalist with more than 35 years’ industry experience ranging from sports reporting for local radio to presenting and producing national current affairs programmes on TV and radio.

Other core staff include:

  • Penny Wrout, a former BBC correspondent and producer for TV, radio and online with more than 20 years in the journalism business, including seven years in charge of the BBC’s social affairs coverage of London. As well as teaching broadcast and online journalism at Essex, she continues to work as a freelance documentary film-maker and multimedia arts producer.
  • Paul Anderson, former editor of Tribune and deputy editor of the New Statesman, who has worked as a journalist since the early 1980s. He combines teaching print and online production at Essex with working as a print/online subeditor on the Guardian, running a small publishing company and freelance writing about politics and history.
  • Dr Fatima el Issawi, an international correspondent with more than 15 years’ experience covering conflict zones for a wide range of broadcast and online outlets including Agence France Press and the BBC, teaches journalism theory and international reporting. She is the author of Arab National Media and Political Change, published by Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Dr Alexandros Antoniou is lecturer in media law. His research interests lie principally in the fields of communications law, intellectual property asset management and cybercrime.

Throughout the course you will also hear regularly from visiting lecturers and teachers who are leading figures in different branches of journalism, and who provide an important link to an extended network of industry practitioners.

Specialist facilities

As a journalism student at Essex, your material will be published on a dedicated website, but you will also spend time gaining on-the-job experience with a range of professional news operations, creating and publishing ‘real’ stories and building up a portfolio of published and broadcast work.

You will work in a purpose-built newsroom with access to television, radio studios, and computer software that allows journalists to create and edit content across all media and platforms quickly and professionally. The university’s Media Centre is equipped with state-of-the-art studios, cameras, audio and lighting equipment, and an industry-standard editing suite.

You will have the opportunity to contribute to student journalism, which includes a magazine, a radio station and a television operation.

You can also benefit from our experience in film production and creative writing as well as our University’s wider expertise areas such as politics, sociology and human rights:

  • View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre
  • Hear writers talk about their craft and broaden your knowledge beyond your course at weekly research seminars
  • Our on-Campus, 200-seat Lakeside Theatre has been established as a major venue for good drama, staging both productions by professional touring companies and a wealth of new work written, produced and directed by our own staff and students
  • The Lakeside Theatre also runs regular practical workshops, enabling drama enthusiasts to get involved in both front-of-house and behind the scenes

Your future

Essex journalism graduates are equipped to embark on any one of a number of career paths within the industry.

You graduate with all the core skills of a professional journalist, underpinned by the Diploma of Journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists, which you attain as part of our course. This is an industry standard and is recognised and valued by editors when recruiting staff.

You will compile an impressive portfolio of published work and complete a detailed multimedia project in your final year, allowing you to offer real evidence of your range and capabilities to future employers. You also develop knowledge of a specialist subject – such as business, politics, international affairs or sport – giving you a head start if you want to pursue a career in one of those areas.

You will be multi-skilled, familiar with production techniques in television, radio, online and newspaper journalism, and with the option to gain advanced skills in specific areas in your final year.

Digital technology encourages entrepreneurship, and allows young journalists to work outside traditional employment routes with established media organisations in favour of creating their own niche brand online. Our BA Multimedia Journalism course gives you the skills and confidence to succeed in whatever path you choose.


Why we’re great

  • Our journalism teaching staff have a broad range of up-to-date, hands-on industry experience.
  • You draw on expertise from across the University by specialising in your favourite subjects.
  • You create and broadcast your own online content, radio and TV programmes using our on campus facilities.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Teaching will mainly take the form of lectures and classes of about 20 students
  • Opportunities for placements
  • Mentoring from professionals in your specialist subject
  • A typical timetable involves a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your modules every week

Assessment

  • Your final mark for each module is determined half by coursework and half by examination
  • A mark for class participation is included in your coursework mark

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