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BA Multimedia Journalism

Why we're great

  • Our founding professor is Jonathan Baker, the acclaimed former BBC News editor.
  • You gain accreditation from both the NCTJ and the BJTC.
  • You create and broadcast your own online content, radio and TV programmes.

Course options2017-18

UCAS code: P500
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: P501
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Email admit@essex.ac.uk
Live chat

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About the course

This course equips you to become a journalist with the 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 editor Jonathan Baker, 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.

"The work placements programme encompasses the major employers in the local area and further afield in East Anglia, and the students are enjoying the experience of spending time in working newsrooms so early in their course."

The NCTJ accreditation panel

Professional accreditation

In addition to your degree, work experience and a professional portfolio, you will have the opportunity to graduate with a Diploma in Journalism from the NCTJ (the National Council for the Training of Journalists), the industry-standard qualification in the UK. This accreditation is an important kite-mark for editors who recruit graduates, demonstrating that your course has equipped you to work in any one of a range of multimedia roles in today’s digital newsrooms.

The Diploma signifies that you have been trained and passed NCTJ exams in media law, public affairs, essential reporting skills and shorthand, and in two areas of specialism (broadcast journalism and court reporting).

Our multimedia journalism course is also accredited by the other main UK training body, the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC).

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the University campus. We support you extending your education by providing the option of an additional year at no extra cost (2017 entry). The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year studying abroad or employed on a placement, 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.

Our expert staff

At Essex you learn from the best. Our founding Professor of Journalism and lead member of our teaching team is Jonathan Baker. Jonathan is a journalist with 40 years’ experience, more than 20 of them in senior editorial roles at BBC News. He is a former editor of the Ten O’Clock News, Foreign Editor and Head of Newsgathering. He is also a former Head of the College of Journalism, responsible for delivering all forms of journalism training to more than 8,000 BBC journalists across the UK and overseas.

Other core staff include:

  • Dr Fatima el Issawi, who has over 15 years’ experience as an international correspondent covering conflict zones and crises and is also a regular contributor on topics such as media and politics to the New Yorker, Al Jazeera, CNN, Bloomberg and Voice of America
  • Paul Anderson is a journalist, author, academic and publisher with extensive editorial experience for online and print, including his current position at The Guardian, and previous roles for New Statesman and Tribune journals
  • Tim Fenton is a former political correspondent working across radio and television for BBC news, with a strong background in broadcast journalism and reporting UK institutions
  • Sean McTernan is a media lawyer whose clients include a range of national publications and broadcasters: he teaches the Media Law and Advanced Media Law & Ethics modules

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.

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Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory modules and options chosen from lists. Below is just one example of a combination of modules you could take. For a full list of optional modules you can look at the course’s Programme Specification.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change.

Year 1

This module introduces you to storytelling and narrative. You’ll discuss the nature of news and how to identify a story, obtaining and deciphering information, editing and considering wording and tone. You will begin to learn the basics of multimedia production, and start producing content for print, online, radio and television outlets.

This looks at the history of journalism and its place in the development of democracy, giving context to the environment in which today’s journalists operate examining ethical issues such and the conflict between public interest and right to privacy. It looks at the roles and responsibilities of journalism in modern society, and the challenges facing the industry in the digital age. The module contributes to the NCTJ syllabus for the Diploma in Journalism.

This module provides a broad introduction to the law and how it affects all varieties of journalism. It covers the main legal issues encountered by journalists - knowledge you will need to apply in practice as you undertake all forms of reporting, in particular the proceedings of the courts. The module will enable you to sit the NCTJ Essential Media Law which is an element of the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.

This module provides an introduction to the workings of central and local government and social and political institutions at local, national and European levels, in the context of reporting the workings of government at all levels in an informed and engaging way. It also contributes to the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism and you will sit the NCTJ examination in Essential Public Affairs.

Year 2

You will learn through practical experience how to write and adapt news and features for different media platforms as well as their demands and characteristics. You will find news and features, pitch them in editorial meetings, research, write, edit, proof-read and determine how best to present and publish them. These skills will be tested at News Days, at least once a term, during which you will make editorial decisions and create online content and broadcast programmes in a live, real time environment.

This module develops the technical and production skills that you learn in Year 1. It is complementary to the Multimedia Journalism module in your second year and It enables you to examine in more detail the individual characteristics and technical requirements of different media, and to start producing radio, television and more advanced print and online content, both on your own and as part of a team. You will learn how to use appropriate editing software, and to produce engaging content in each medium.

In this module, you will complete your studies – begun in Year 1 - of the principal areas of the law relating to journalism, and prepare for and sit the NCTJ examination in Media Law. You will also expand your exploration of the wider constraints affecting journalism, voluntary and otherwise. These include media regulation, the Ofcom Broadcasting Code, the Editors’ Code of Practice and other expressions of good, ethical practice.

This module helps you develop your skills in research and investigation with particular reference to the new areas emerging on the web, through the Freedom of Information Act and through social media. It will also give you confidence in handling statistics-based stories, questioning methodology and assumptions.

Get yourself out there. Digital and social media provide invaluable platforms for showcasing your creative work, creating new and innovative content, and connecting with future employers, agents, and collaborators. In this module, you investigate the potential of both existing and emerging social and multi-media channels, getting hands-on in practical sessions, and gaining key knowledge of the legal aspects of web-based media.

Documentary film makers have been unveiling new and surprising truths to the masses since the 1920s, and the genre is as popular today as it has ever been. You examine different documentary forms through the work of practitioners such as John Grierson, Molly Dineen, and Agnes Varda, and gain key production skills, including the formulation of the idea, research methods, handling techniques, legal and consent issues, recording techniques and documentary editing. By the end of the module, you will have created your own individual documentary film.

Final year

This module builds on everything you have learned so far about writing, reporting and production, with a particular emphasis on the broadcast media of radio and television. You will already have had the opportunity to gain extensive experience of newspaper and online reporting, and this module will bring your broadcast skills up to the same high standard of knowledge and expertise. This module will also prepare you for the Specialist Option element of your NCTJ Diploma.

In your final year you will undertake a capstone project designed to demonstrate your understanding of the theory and practice of reporting, your ability to work across broadcast platforms, and your ability to identify, research and deliver an original story. You will carry out scoping and preparatory work necessary for you to proceed with the project. This might include exploring story possibilities, commissioning or conducting research, reading round the subject and seeking interviews and assistance from experts and protagonists.

This module represents your ‘capstone’ project. It is work that you have carried out on your own, on the basis of the groundwork carried out during the Multimedia Project Preparation module. It will demonstrate your command of much that you have learned and practised during your first two years in terms of defining a story, gathering information, conducting research, handling data, newsgathering by means of interviews, reading, and presentation across media platforms. This work will be published on the course website.

During your final year, you will be encouraged to think about a branch of journalism or of knowledge which you would like to build up as a special subject. This could be a subject area – such as politics, business or sport – or a genre – such as television, radio, web design, feature writing or long-form film-making. Your tutors will help you to pursue this interest, either in the autumn or spring term.

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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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB, including one essay-based subject

IB: 30 points, including a Higher Level essay-based subject grade 5. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email admit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 7.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

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Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.

Interview and tests

If you’re shortlisted for interview based on your application to this course, you will be invited onto campus. During your visit you’ll complete a 90 minute written test and a 30 minute interview. You’ll be asked to correct and improve a short news story, write a news story yourself and complete a brief general knowledge test. The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have.

Your interview and test will form part of a larger visit day where you’ll be able to tour our campus, meet our students and get a feel for life at Essex. All tests must be taken at our Colchester Campus and offers for the course will only be made after successful interview.

Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

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