Journalism: the first semester

It’s been an incredible first Semester for the new BA (Hons) Journalism courses and newly-appointed Director, Marverine Duffy who has been spreading the word far and wide about the virtues of the new courses. We caught up with Marverine to hear all about the amazing things she and her students have been up to in the first semester of the year. 

Marverine Duffy
BA (Hons) Journalism Course Leader

Journalism first semester blog primary

Four new undergraduate courses were launched in September 2018: BA (Hons) JournalismBA (Hons) Sports Journalism and BA (Hons) Music Journalism, with BA (Hons) Fashion & Beauty Journalism due to start in September 2019. From the activities and successes of the semester so far, it seems like undergraduate Journalism at BCU is now firmly on the map!

Meeting Jeremy Paxman

At the annual West Midlands Journalism Charity Lunch, guest of honour Jeremy Paxman had the pleasure of meeting several of our BA and MA Journalism students: Lydia Johnson, Fahima Khatun, Kirsty Card, Emily Lowes and Laura Sanders, as well as Ross Hawkes, Deputy Head of the School of Media, and Alison Honour, the new Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of the Arts, Design and Media Faculty.

Jeremy Paxman and Alison Honour- first semester Journalism blogHe also challenged me over BCU’s Journalism education, to which I responded with gusto in a room full of 250 lunch guests. He reckons there are no jobs in the profession, where evidence shows that in 2017 73,000 people in the UK identified themselves as professional journalists (compared to 64,000 in 2015).

Paxman 3- Journalism first semester blogPanellist on Channel 4 debate for Birmingham Press Club

The prospect of Channel 4 deciding to move some of its London operation to the West Midlands was a hot topic up for debate by the Birmingham Press Club. I joined other guests at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth, including, Oli Hills from Birmingham Updates, Marc Reeves from Birmingham Live, and host Garry Newbon to discuss the move.

Birmingham Press Club- Channel 4 debate - Journalism first semester blogAppearing on BBC’s Newsnight programme

I was also asked to appear on BBC's Newsnight programme, commenting on a passage I’d written in a book 30 years ago. Oprah Winfrey’s chat show had just launched in the UK and I was excited about the prospect of a British version ever happening. Well in the 90s along came Trisha Goddard.

Ian Wright offers advice

In London a chance encounter at BBC’s New Broadcasting House with legendary England footballer Ian Wright led to some sound advice our Journalism students. He spoke about the importance of doing your research and how to handle spontaneous moments when live on air.

Ian Wright and Marverine Duffy- Journalism, first semester blogLocal and national media commentary

There’ve been contributions in the way of expert comment in the local and national media on topics such as Birmingham's Channel 4 bid and coverage of Meghan Markle by the UK press

Student publication successes

Two of my first year BA (Hons) Journalism students – Jessica Sohal & Hussein Yusuf -  have been working alongside some BA (Hons) Media & Communication students as volunteers at Aston Villa Ladies Football Club matches: helping to film games, interview players and write up match reports. 

Adam Pink, Dan Rundle and Feron Jayawardene, also first year BA (Hons) Journalism students, wrote articles for the Birmingham Film Festival magazine. 5,000 copies were published and distributed around the city in advance of the five day festival held at Millennium Point. There were also contributions from final-year BA (Hons) Media and Communication students, Kellie Sadler, Kerry Obihara and Steven Pascall.

Finally, Ella Wellington and Esther Ogunfeitimi had articles about air pollution in Birmingham and an awareness campaign about osteopetrosis published in The Phoneix Newspaper - the West Midlands paper that connects communities in a bid to inspire a new generation.

AVFC journalism first semester blog BFF Journalism first semester blog Visit to ITN headquarters for dates with Jeremy Vine and Jon Snow

And to cap the year off, some of our final year students got the chance to be the audience on The Jeremy Vine Show, as well as get a tour of Channel 4's news studios. To top it off they then got to spend some time getting advice and insight from Channel 4's legendary news presenter Jon Snow.

Jeremy Vine and Journalism students- first semester Journalism blog Jon Snow and Journalism students- journalism first semester blogAll a very successful year indeed! Let’s see what 2019 brings!