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April 20, 2016updated 07 Jun 2021 12:25pm

Studying journalism at Bournemouth: A multimedia course that gets you into a job

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Bournemouth University has been teaching multimedia journalism for 24 years as part of one of the biggest university media & communication faculties in Europe.

Based in the heart of this popular Dorset resort (with its famous sandy beach) Bournemouth offers undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in multimedia journalism.

The BA (Hons) degree is one of the few courses in the country to be accredited by all three of the main industry training bodies: National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) and the Periodicals Training Council (PTC).

The post-graduate MA has more emphasis on broadcasting and online and is accredited by the BJTC.

Asked what is the main attraction is of these courses, Head of the School of Journalism, English and Communication Dr Karen Fowler-Watt says:  “It’s the multimedia element.

“It’s a word that’s used all the time. There are a lot of multimedia courses out there where students can choose pathways and they can do elements at different times. But here we do everything all the time. There’s a real benefit to that.

“We offer a mixture of technical skills, critical thinking and journalistic skills. And students are moving across platforms all the time, rather than working in silos.

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“It’s a busy course for that reason. We work you hard.”

Students on the BA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth are taught radio, print, broadcasting and online journalism skills as well as receiving training in shorthand, public affairs and media law.

They also learn how to make interactive documentaries and produce a multimedia major project, utilising social media and showcasing their innovative approaches to storytelling.

There are around 100 places a year on the undergraduate course and the MA generally recruits 20-plus students – making Bournemouth one of the biggest journalism schools in the country.

Despite the large intake on the undergraduate degree course, Bournemouth proudly maintains an emphasis on small group teaching with a large of amount of contact time with students.

Bournemouth students have gone on to work at nearly every major journalism organisation in the UK, including: the BBC, Sky News, Press Association, ITN Reuters and various local, regional and national newspapers and magazines. Some 95 per cent find jobs within six months of graduating.*

Students have to take a minimum of six weeks of work placements on the course and this helps ensure that many already have jobs lined up before they graduate.

Fowler-Watt says: “Graduates are very confident when they leave us that they have the multidisciplinary skills they will need in the workplace.

Bournemouth offers state-of-the-art dedicated newsrooms and digitally equipped studios which conform to a professional working environment. Student journalists are encouraged to write and broadcast their work in an environment which replicates a “real world ” setting.

This includes seeing their work published in the fortnightly student newspaper The Bournemouth Rock.

Fowler-Watt says that teaching staff have up-to-date professional experience as journalists. She herself is a former senior BBC journalist who has worked on Radio 4’s World at One, File on Four and Today, as well as working the Middle East.

She said: “Our lecturers are not sitting on bar stools telling war-stories…they are relevant practitioners teaching students about things they understand.”

Overall the faculty of media & communication at Bournemouth has almost 4,000 students studying everything from marketing to computer animation. The atmosphere is “vibrant and friendly” according to Fowler-Watt.

She says: “We’ve been doing this for a long time but we are not resting on our laurels at all. We are constantly looking at how we can give the best possible experience to students.  I would say if you are prepared to work hard this is the place for you.”

Find out more about Bournemouth University’s School of Journalism, English and Communications


Bournemouth University features in Press Gazette’s print guide to journalism training, which is sent out to every sixth-form and university in the UK in September.

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