Journalism and PR students go head-to-head in WarGames

BLSS ADM wargames- 2017

BA (Hons) Journalism students from the Arts Design and Media Faculty battled BA (Hons) Marketing PR students from the Business, Law and Social Science Faculty earlier this month in their first ever cross-Faculty WarGames.

BA (Hons) Journalism

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Based on a famous oil rig spill, the purpose of the games was to put students’ skills to the test by giving them a real-life scenario and pitting them against the type of people they would be reacting to in industry. BA (Hons) Marketing students acted as PR planners and represented an oil company bidding to protect its reputation after the disaster killed several workers, whilst BA (Hons) Journalism students interviewed them and communicated the story as it unfolded. 

The first two years of the story was covered in the two-hour session. The PR planners worked to present the oil company in the best possible light through tweets and emails with information about the spill and the journalists produced an online newspaper in reaction to the information. The activity involved quick reactivity from both sets of students, as damming news articles from the journalists made the PR planners rethink their strategy and any changes to the information from PR planners forced the journalists to reconsider the angle of their articles. Second year BA (Hons) Journalism student Dom Sweeney likened the battle between PR teams and journalists as “like a game of poker with each party is constantly looking to seek out if and when the other is bluffing.”

The collaboration was arranged by both course leaders, as they wanted to give their students a new practical way of applying their skills to a real life scenario and prepare them for employability after graduation. BA (Hons) Public Relations course leader David McGee explained that the exercise gave his students a taste of how challenging it can be as PR planner to deal with journalists and how it helped them understand that pressure. He added:

Groups from different year groups of each course took part in the games which spanned over two days. Dom remarked how insightful it was to work with the students from a different specialism, as they were able to offer each other the expertise they had in their field. When asked whether participating in the games helped prepare him for employment, he added:

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