The University is to undertake a major journalism education and research project with partners in the Czech Republic and Belgium following the announcement that it has secured a 400,000 euros funding bid for an ambitious pan-European Erasmus proposal.
The successful bid, announced by the university yesterday, will put the University’s Department of Creative Arts and Enterprise at the forefront of journalism education and research, alongside colleagues from Prague’s College of Media and Journalism, and Belgian universities Thomas More, in Mechelen, and UC Leuven-Limburg.
Head of department for Creative Arts and Enterprise, Adrian Emerson, said the awarding of the funds marked an exciting time for the university.
“We have worked really hard to make sure this bid was accepted by Erasmus,” he said. “Now we know we have the go-ahead we can really start planning some exciting research around how journalism is taught, how it’s learned and where certain vital elements of the craft come from, such as curiosity and creativity.
“The size of the bid is significant and will really put us at the cutting edge of work in this area of journalism. Very much like us, our partners in Belgium and Prague are from relatively small institutions bursting with big ideas, so we are all tremendously excited about the next three years and the ongoing research which will come out of this project.”
Mike Baker, programme leader for Sport Journalism at the university, was also delighted with the announcement, having worked for the past year alongside representatives from all three partners on the proposal. He said: “It’s really excellent news. Our students are going to benefit immensely from the great experiences which are coming their way.
“Proper journalism is hard enough in Britain, so the challenges of working in foreign countries, with cultural differences and where not everyone speaks English, are going to really develop them as journalists and hopefully widen their scope beyond south-west England. Prague is a great city, full of stories, and Brussels is right at the centre of all the issues surrounding Europe right now – I can see some brilliant output ahead.
“And it’s going to be fantastic to be able to put what we do in the Journalism and Media Centre at the University of St Mark & St John on an international stage, to prove that we can lead the way in setting a research agenda for an industry which has seen so many changes that it’s hard to know what the future of journalism education will be like.
“We’re going to be working alongside some great partners, and also with the European Journalism Training Association in Mechelen, so I’m certain that we’ll have some very interesting findings to share with our industry and academic partners over the next three years.”
A significant part of the Erasmus project will involve a series of collaborations between students from all four universities, with undergraduates from Plymouth set to engage in intense media news weeks abroad, before welcoming their counterparts back to Devon for similar experiences.
The project, to run for three years starting in September, also aims to establish a series of online resources to help other schools of journalism throughout Europe measure key media skills of their students and award ‘badges’ on an online CV which will be recognised by institutions and employers across the continent.
The University of St Mark & St John offers BA (Hons) undergraduate programmes in Journalism, and Sport Journalism, and from 2016 will be running a Journalism masters degree from its Derriford campus. The JaM Centre was completely refurbished in 2013 and houses state-of-the-art media production facilities, an online radio station and television broadcast suite.
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