Politics and history students jumped at the chance to join student journalists on one of two fresh industry-approved courses introduced at Brunel.
Brunel University London is currently the only centre in Britain to offer The National Council for Training of Journalists (NCTJ)’s certificate in foundation journalism.
Some 25 students studying politics and history degrees at Brunel wanted to make the NCTJ certificate course a free add-on to their degree.
“We’re staggered at how enthusiastic and engaged they’ve been and the degree to which they took it up,” said journalism lecturer Steve Cohen.
NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher said: “Brunel has long-standing association with the NCTJ and we are delighted to support the university’s desire to innovate and add value for students.
“Journalists have a tradition of studying for degrees in the social sciences and humanities before they move into journalism,” she added. “At Brunel, they now have an opportunity to gain an introduction to journalism skills which will be useful in their future careers as well as progression to achieving the diploma in journalism alongside their degrees.”
Students taking the certificate – a taster in basic journalism skills – interview a police officer and start to hunt down their own stories from week one. With a focus on community reporting, it’s unlikely to lead to a journalism career in itself, but will help people set up a website or blog. “It’s been a great experience and environment to learn something new,” said Komal Ajimal, 18, studying politics.
Brunel’s other new NCTJ course, the Level 3 Diploma in Journalism, is open to second-year journalism students as a gateway to the National Qualification in Journalism, the NQJ. Starting in September, the diploma is an intensive one-year course students will study alongside the second year of their degree at no extra cost. The idea is that students get their diploma before starting the final year of their degree. The plan is to offer this diploma to politics and history students in the near future.
“Almost every student who did the certificate has said that they now want to do the diploma,” said Steve, running the courses alongside Rachel Sharp, both former Newsquest editors. “And we are now looking to see if this would work next year.”
“The two courses will complement each other,” said Steve. “It is really exciting for us. This is still a work in progress, but we are thrilled with the enthusiasm the NCTJ courses have generated. And if you are a politics student and you have this on your CV as well as your degree, that will look great.
“Both qualifications add extra value to our courses.”
Find out more about journalism at Brunel
Hayley Jarvis, Media Relations
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