Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism - MA
Our MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism is a cutting edge course designed to give you the video, online, audio and social media skills needed to work within a growing number of jobs in the media and beyond. Accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, you’ll study under internationally renowned course leaders in a city with a vibrant cultural sector....
Studying with us in 2021/22
It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.
Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Our MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism is a cutting edge course designed to give you the video, online, audio and social media skills needed to work within a growing number of jobs in the media and beyond.
Accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, you’ll study under internationally renowned course leaders in a city with a vibrant cultural sector. You’ll learn exciting new skills in online and broadcast journalism, interactivity and data journalism, social media storytelling, and multimedia production.
What's covered in this course?
Like journalism itself, this practical course is fast and dynamic, and you’ll be expected to work in a range of newsroom contexts within weeks of starting your course.
Under the guidance of award-winning journalists who have worked with organisations ranging from the BBC and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism to commercial radio and magazines, you’ll develop a keen eye for a story. You’ll also develop advanced newsgathering and data journalism techniques that help you establish the facts, experience how to work within a range of newsroom contexts and tell those stories across a range of online, broadcast and social media platforms.
You’ll have access to some of the industry’s most respected journalists who are working in the field now, learn about the legal, commercial and ethical contexts surrounding the future of journalism. During your study you’ll have the opportunity to work in a live newsroom context as you make a name for yourself in your chosen sector.
You’ll also have access to the facilities at the university’s new Parkside campus, including radio and TV studios, and audio and video editing suites. You’ll have access to video and still cameras, audio recording equipment and mobile journalism kits to get out and capture the story. You’ll be expected to find and report stories regularly, experimenting with new formats and platforms while exploring and testing the latest research into this exciting period in journalism’s development.
As the course progresses you will develop more specialist skills and connect with others already in the industry, building your reputation as you prepare to enter the industry.
“The course was an instrumental part in getting my first job in the industry. It enabled me to practice and improve my skills and the tutors challenged me throughout the course to fulfil my potential. BCU has close links to the top journalism organisations in Birmingham and teach in line with the most up-to-date industry thinking. The emphasis on mobile also sets the course apart from others in the country." Katie Brooks, Trends Reporter, Birmingham Live
Why Choose Us?
- Our unique partnership with HuffPost UK will give you the chance to receive tutorials and masterclasses from the HuffPost UK team, as well opportunities for placements and visits to their bureaus.
- You will be taught by a team of passionate professionals with vast industry experience with our staff having worked for the BBC, regional newspapers and radio stations as journalists, producers, reporters and more.
- Course director Paul Bradshaw is the author of a number of books in the field, including Mobile-First Journalism, the Online Journalism Handbook, and Snapchat for Journalists.
- You’ll have access to some of the best minds and practitioners in multiplatform journalism as the school regularly has visiting guest speakers and lecturers. Guest lecturers have included Twitter’s Joanna Geary, The Times’s Julian Burgess and Jonathan Richards, and Trinity Mirror’s Alison Gow.
- Graduates have gone on to jobs including broadcast journalist, documentary maker, political editor, video journalist, trending reporter, art editor, radio station manager, newspaper reporter, magazine journalist and multimedia reporter.
- You’ll have the chance to work on live projects to gain industry experience. Students have worked with The Mirror, Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Reuters, Centaur magazines, BBC and ITN.
- The BBC’s newly launched Data Unit in the city, as well as a Guerilla Unit that focuses on new interactive forms of storytelling, regularly work with students and the university.
- Employers including national broadcasters, newspapers, websites and magazines regularly contact Birmingham City University to promote new roles demanding the online skills you will learn on the course.
- You’ll be joining a course accredited by the BJTC.
You should have a 2:1 or higher in a related discipline from any UK university.
Applicants must have proven experience in journalism or media production (for example, video, audio, web production or print).
Good spoken and written English are vital. IELTS level 7.0 or above.
You should have evidence of your passion for new forms of journalism, along with a strong and inquiring mind and a tendency not to take no for an answer!
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £7,700 per year
Starting: Sep 2021
- Full Time
- 1 year
- £13,200 per year
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Free Adobe Creative Cloud licence
Students studying on this course can request a free licence to install the entire suite of applications on up to two personal devices.
Specialist equipment (mandatory)
This course requires the purchase of specialist equipment, including a suitable data plan on your mobile phone in order to report using that device or to generate a hotspot for a laptop.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.
You may want to experiment with apps that aid your production, some of which may have a cost associated.
Personal stationery and study materials (optional)
Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.
Accommodation and living costs
The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.
Applicants should submit a portfolio of examples of their media production work. That might include examples of journalism online, in print or video or audio. The more varied this is, the better. If you have any other relevant work, such as photography, web or print design, film making, research, or running online communities, then please include that too.
Students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.
Your postgraduate personal statement is going to shine a light on your personal experience, academic success, personal skills and any other factors that will support your application for further study.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Your passion and motivations
Studying a postgraduate course usually means you want to specialise in something. So what’s driving you?
Why this course?
Show that you’ve researched the course offering. What is it about this particular course that appeals to you? Is it the lecturers? The modules? Etc.
What makes you a good postgraduate candidate?
Tutors want to know that you can handle postgraduate study, so show them how your undergraduate experiences or work life has equipped you for a more advanced level of study. Key areas to address are research and group work but this can vary depending on your chosen course.
Relevant academic or work experience
Add anything relevant that relates back to your chosen course and shows how your skills will contribute towards your learning. What extra-curricular activities have you taken part in? What awards have you won? What employment or voluntary experience do you have that has helped you develop transferable skills? How do these specifically relate to the course you are applying for?
You should also mention your future plans and how a postgraduate qualification fits in. Try to look beyond your postgraduate study – do you plan to jump straight into a specific career or follow your studies with a research degree? Lastly, use plain, professional English and, where possible, utilise the language of your chosen industry.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 160 credits):
This module provides practical skills within a range of conceptual frameworks in the context of media integration and convergence. Students will build a flexible and adaptable skillset and a basis to critically apply modern newsgathering, production and distribution technologies.
Law, Regulation & Institutions focuses on key areas of the law and regulatory systems as they relate to the media, as well as allowing you to research those institutions which are important sources of news. The module will examine the ethical, regulatory and legal constraints under which journalists work. It will look in detail at issues including defamation, contempt of court and various reporting restrictions, human rights law, including the conflict between rights to privacy and to freedom of expression and copyright. It will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the limitations imposed by law and regulation on reporting and also look at those areas of law that work to protect journalists. You will develop a critical perspective on key debates in media law and regulation. The module will also introduce students to the core institutions of public life, particularly in the fields of politics, criminal justice, education, health and social welfare and business. You will conduct your own research into these areas as sources of news.
Within the context of media integration and convergence, Narrative: from media to interactive media aims to help students to build a flexible skillset that provides a basis to critically adapt to both new and developing storytelling technologies.
The purpose of this module is to enable you to develop professional attributes and subject skills through experience in the work place, and to critically reflect upon your learning in that context. You will normally be expected to arrange your own placement, with support from academic staff and BCU Careers. It is also possible to fulfil this module via a shorter placement duration and a linked ‘live’ project set by the employer.
The module is intended to help you develop and consolidate your ideas for your MA Major Project. By providing a common module that comprises of all MA Media cohorts, Research in Practice aims to facilitate a shared skillset that aids the successful completion of the MA Major project, as well as the potential for routes into PhD progression beyond. It is also designed to encourage interdisciplinary discussions across MA awards.
The purpose of the module is to enable you to undertake a sustained, in-depth and theoretically informed research project exploring an area that is of personal interest to you. It is important that we can support you appropriately, so you will be guided towards choosing a research topic which is relevant to your discipline and in which your lecturers have expertise. The outcome may take the form of a written dissertation or a practical outcome with accompanying reflective, critical and contextual material. The main consideration when choosing your topic is that it must be relevant to your programme and you should consider the relevance of this topic to your future academic or professional development.
In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
Specialist journalism and Investigations aims to facilitate a flexible and adaptable skillset that provides a basis for students to critically adapt to any chosen field of reporting. It also provides a basis for the successful completion of the master’s route project, and introduces potential avenues of practicebased inquiry for routes into PhD progression beyond.
This module provides opportunities for students to extend and challenge their use of narrative forms to cover longer and more complex production and subject matter, while maintaining the rigour of deadline and accuracy (known as long form journalism).
Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
The course is completed full time across three semesters covering one year.
The first semester focuses on a broad range of skills. You will explore how to tell stories across different platforms using a range of media, including text, audio, video and visual journalism. You will also be building crucial research skills.
You’ll benefit from a blend of academic learning and practical application, exploring and applying the latest industry and academic research on cutting edge newsgathering, production and distribution techniques. Alongside this you will develop essential understanding of the legal and ethical contexts surrounding modern journalism.
In the second semester you have the opportunity to explore one or more aspects of production in more depth, as you pursue specialist reporting through data or multimedia.
The final semester sees you developing a project to build your reputation as a practitioner in your field. Previous examples have ranged from live working news websites and documentaries to e-books, investigations, broadcast packages and portfolios of work for clients.
Classroom activities and projects
As part of your study on the course you will experience:
- Live newsrooms within various contexts, from online-only to broadcast newsrooms with associated online presence.
- Data-driven investigations that put a human face and establish the facts on topical issues.
- Experimentation with new forms of storytelling, from virtual reality and bots to interactivity and new social media platforms.
Final project displayed at the Birmingham Museum
"Within + Without: Body Image and the Self is a documentary I created during a freelance experience with Birmingham Museum whilst studying. I interviewed people in the street about how they constructed their own body image and whether they thought there was enough diversity in the media and originally this was just supposed to be part of the documentary, but the museum thought it would be a great addition to an exhibition and featured it as an "art piece" in itself. It truly feels amazing to exhibit my work at the museum and I still can't believe it! I’ve learnt skills ranging from sound to editing techniques and graphics, and seeing my own work in Birmingham's first museum is just incredible."
The course has links with a range of media organisations, leading to students working with the BBC, ITN, Mirror, Health Service Journal, Period Living, and the Centre for Investigative Journalism among others.
Enhancing employability skills
Our MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism course focuses on developing graduates at the cutting edge of contemporary professional practice, with a critical knowledge of the field leading practical application.
In addition to specific technical skills, students will also develop highly employable qualities in adapting to new technologies, and work towards building their contacts and reputation in the field. Opportunities to work with industry clients often lead to employment or the establishing of new enterprises.
Students undertake a placement with one or more organisations as part of the course. Previous students have undertaken placements or projects with clients including the BBC, Centaur magazines, ITV News, the Birmingham Mail, Oxfam, the Centre for Investigative Journalism, Free Radio, Galaxy FM and Sky.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Link to industry
The course has strong links across all aspects of the media industry, including online, broadcast, magazines, newspapers, NGOs and new media startups. The school of media hosts the annual industry event Rethink Media, while Paul Bradshaw organises the annual Data Journalism UK conference in the city and is regularly invited to speak at industry events all over the world.
The school’s global reputation in multiplatform journalism leads to frequent approaches from media organisations looking for cutting edge expertise or student input into new projects. Examples range from Al Jazeera involving students in the design of a ‘news game’ and The Telegraph recruiting students to liveblog news events, to Centaur magazines inviting students to improve their social media performance and the BBC testing out new Snapchat content in class.
Trends Writer, Birmingham Live
"In my current role I write about anything people are talking about. The course prepared me for this because it allowed me to practice my writing skills for a year in a safe environment. It also built up my confidence so that I was able to walk into the Birmingham Live interview and know exactly what I was talking about!
My highlight of the course was actually the final project because it gave me the chance to focus on one of my interests and experiment with different techniques. I focused on engaging young people and wrote a series of articles about shoes - I even interviewed a ballerina from Birmingham Royal Ballet about pointe shoes, which was really exciting!”
Broadcast Journalist, Free Radio
"When I first started my course, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. Within weeks, that had completely changed! The hands-on experience and encouragement from tutors to try new things led me into radio journalism - something I had never considered before.
There were so many opportunities to explore and learn. Whether you’re an experienced journalist or have no experience (which is what I had!) you’ll be able to develop skills that are used in newsrooms across the country.
Since graduating I’ve worked for three different stations in the West Midlands, in both reporting and news reading roles. Getting to train with the software and systems that are used professionally made sure I could jump straight into a role and be confident in it."
Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
The course regularly attracts Spanish-speaking students and we have a strong network of contacts in the Spanish-speaking world. Previous students have undertaken projects based in Spain and some of the course material is also available in Spanish. Paul Bradshaw is even learning to speak the language!
We have a growing network of contacts in Nigeria. Two members of staff – Paul Bradshaw and Yemisi Akinbobola – won the prestigious CNN African Journalist of the Year award for an investigation published in Nigeria, and the pair plan to do more in the region.
Canadian students have done particularly well on the course and undertaking projects in Canada as part of their studies enabled them to build their reputation in that jobs market. One now teaches journalism in Canada.
Facilities and Staff
When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses.
With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.
You will learn in our state-of-the-art facilities - including the £62m fully-digital Media Centre - located on the City Centre Campus. You will enjoy access to extensive studio and workshop space including four TV studios, six radio studios and broadcast-standard edit suites, as well as cutting-edge equipment and software.
Facilities include the largest TV floor of any university in the UK, a ‘green screen’ and the MILO motion control camera - we are one of just two universities in Europe to offer MILO technology.
Mobile journalism kit
On the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism you will be finding and reporting stories using the latest mobile technology. You will be able to book out mobile reporting kit including iPads with a range of mobile journalism apps pre-installed so you can live stream video, publish direct to social media and edit multimedia on the move, along with mobile-compatible microphones. We also provide frames which allow you to attach tablets to tripods, lights and lenses, as well as special 'gorillapods' for flexible positioning of mobile kit on the move. You can book out microphone adapters to connect broadcast quality microphones to your mobile phone or tablet, and portable audio recorders for podcasting on the move.
Course Leader (MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism)
Paul Bradshaw leads both the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University, and works as a consultant data journalist in the BBC England data unit.
He is also the founder of the investigative journalism crowdsourcing site, Help Me Investigate, which was shortlisted in 2010 for Multimedia Publisher of the Year and won the Talk About Local Investigation of the Year award the same year. His other awards include the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards 2016 for an investigation into Nigerian football agents, and the BBC England 2017 Data Journalism award for a story on discrimination in the housing sector.More about Paul
Professor Diane Kemp
Professor of Broadcast Journalism
Diane worked for BBC radio and television as a broadcaster, reporter and producer and for a number of commercial radio stations before joining the University. She is course director of several postgraduate broadcast journalism courses and is deputy chair of the UK’s national accreditation organisation, the BJTC.More about Diane
Deputy Head of School and Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies
Dave Harte is Associate Professor in Journalism and Media Studies. He researches the emerging trend of local community ‘hyperlocal’ news websites and has published widely on the subject. Within the School of Media he leads on teaching and learning initiatives and teaches modules on Journalism Studies, Social Media, and Alternative and Community Media. He supervises PhDs in the areas of journalism and community media.More about Dave
Dr Sarah Wood
Head of Birmingham Institute of Media and English
Sarah Wood holds degrees from JMU, the University of Liverpool, and Birmingham City University, where she gained her PhD. Her research interests are in feminism and science fiction.
She has an article on Octavia Butler forthcoming in FEMSPEC and is working on further studies of Butler as well as of Nalo Hopkinson and slave narrative.More about Sarah
Course Director MA Events and Exhibition Management
Prior to joining Birmingham City University Duncan spent over 20 years working in the events and exhibition industry.
Working for a various of clients on a wide range of events he has worked throughout the UK, Europe and in the USA.
Since 1999 Duncan has been a Director of a Midlands-based events production company.More about Duncan