Journalism docorate offers a chance to think

London’s City University, famed for its media courses, is launching a doctorate in journalism on 25 June, writes Jean Morgan.

This is not for beginners. Candidates will need to have 10 to 15 years, experience in journalism and to have published a substantial body of work.

Open to staffers or freelances, it will stress good journalistic practice while maintaining standards equal to a normal doctorate level. Dr Iain Stevenson, senior tutor for research in City’s department of journalism, told Press Gazette: “It’s a million miles from media studies. It’s about enhancing journalistic skills and ideas.”

Professional doctorates are a fairly new idea in Europe, but have been around in the US for quite some time.

Stevenson explained: “They are different from normal PhDs in that they are meant specifically for people who have reached a certain point in their mid-career, who have done a substantial body of work and who would like to take some time out to reflect on what they have done and to do some substantial work related to their specialty and their interests. They will recharge their batteries by being in an academic environment.”

Depending on whether they would take a career break or would work part-time for the degree, it is likely to take 18 months to two years to complete.

Stevenson said the key words would be “reflective practice”.

“In the hurly-burly of being at a newspaper, magazine, broadcasting studio or internet site, there is never enough time to stop and think about what you do and what your motives are.”

Selection, which will be strict, will be by an advisory panel, which includes the man who fostered the idea, Professor Richard Keeble, now at Lincoln University, Stevenson, Rod Allen, head of City’s journalism department, and the department’s director, Linda Christmas. Around half-a-dozen will take part in the first programme.

Jean Morgan

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