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Drive to find journalists of the future

PUBLISHED: 16:32 02 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:58 16 September 2010

IMAGINE doing a job where every day is completely different from the last.

A job where one day you could be reporting on a royal visit to the area, the next a high-profile murder trial and the day after be asked to battle it out with the UK's newest thumb-wrestling champion - who just happens to be from Norfolk.

IMAGINE doing a job where every day is completely different from the last.

A job where one day you could be reporting on a royal visit to the area, the next a high-profile murder trial and the day after be asked to battle it out with the UK's newest thumb-wrestling champion - who just happens to be from Norfolk.

That is the job of a journalist - a trade which offers a fresh challenge around every corner and is as far from being as boring as you could possibly imagine.

And now a drive is being launched to find the journalists of the future - those young people who are equipped with the necessary talent to get involved in what is an exciting new era for the industry.

City College Norwich has teamed up with Archant to find the latest breed of journalists, those able to thrive in newsrooms geared-up to provide content across multiple platforms.

Starting this month, the college is offering a two-year Foundation Degree in Journalism, with the two best students having their fees repaid by Archant and being offered positions within the editorial team.

The course will equip students with not only the traditional skills and values of a journalist, but also those needed to meet some of the new challenges in the newsroom, such as researching and writing for the internet and mobile devices, writing for multi-platforms and working with content sent in by readers.

The aim of the course is to prepare students so they are ready to step straight into a newsroom, which is why the college has been working with Archant and its team over the past few months to ensure it is as relevant as possible.

Jo Pretty, head of the college's School for Creative Arts, said: “This course is designed to equip graduates with the relevant skills to achieve academic results and the professional and technical skills required by today's journalists.

“Due to the continued emergence of new technologies, the industry is undergoing considerable change. Through this opportunity the graduates will have up-to-the minute knowledge of the industry. We are pleased to be working with Archant on this exciting new degree.”

The course, taught within the college's School of Creative Arts, will be conducted by former senior journalists with more than 50 years' experience in the news industry in newspaper, website and broadcast journalism.

Over two years students will look at all aspects of journalism. They will be able to find and write news stories, conduct interviews, understand media law, ethics and public affairs and use shorthand.

They will be trained not only in newspaper reporting and writing skills, but also writing for websites and new media and will be able to film and edit video for the web. Broadcast skills are included in the course so that graduates will also be able to work in radio or television.

Archant's involvement does not just end with offering advice and guidance on the course, however.

The graduating students will be given real work experience through delivery of some of the modules at Archant's premises in Norwich and across Norfolk and Suffolk.

This work experience will be key to the course and will provide students with real-life experience of the industry.

There will also be regular visits to the college by members of Archant's team to discuss the industry. And in an exciting partnership between Archant and the college, the most-deserving two students at the end of the two-year course will not only have their fees paid for them by the company, but also be given that first step on to the journalism ladder, with a job in one of the firm's newsrooms.

Peter Waters, editor of the EDP, explained why, despite the current financial climate, now is a great time to get involved in the media industry.

He said: “There have been many stories about the demise of newspapers, but that is simply not true of the best ones. At the Eastern Daily Press we take very seriously our responsibility to serve our local communities, and provide our readers, whether they be in print or online, with quality journalism and a superior news and information service.

“Nonetheless, journalism is changing, becoming more diverse in its delivery and more technologically enriched, and to that end we need new talented people who will help us develop our products to meet the requirements of a rapidly evolving media scene and changing lifestyles. This new degree course has been designed to achieve that.”

Robin Ghurbhurun, the college's vice-principal for innovation, added: “This innovative partnership with Archant continues to build upon our commitment to developing real work-based qualifications alongside leading employers who can provide the best possible placements.

“We aim to deliver a modern portfolio of journalism/media-related programmes exemplified by our newly created flagship degree. Our focus is to develop today's students, tomorrow's journalism.”


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