People often ask me: why study a course like journalism at a university that specialises in the creative arts? Let me tell you why.
As a 17 year old sixth form student, my heart was always set on going to university. I already had an idea about the type of topic I would want to study, however, the University for the Creative Arts cemented my decision that journalism was the career path that I wanted to go down. One course and one university had persuaded me to make one of the biggest decisions of my life.
As well as it being one of the biggest decisions, it was also one of the best. When I came to an open day in November 2017, I knew this was the place I wanted to be. The atmosphere, the facilities, the lecturers. This was everything I needed and more.
I was very anxious, but excited, at the thought of going to university. It was vital that I picked somewhere where I thought I could settle in quite quickly and be comfortable. That’s when I went to see what the University for the Creative Arts had to offer.
The thought of being in a huge lecture hall was something I dreaded. When I realised that the vast majority of the teaching would be done in a classroom type format, I was thrilled!
Journalism is a very small course at the university, making it simpler to get one-on-one time with your lecturers. Your teaching staff will also know your name and that makes such a huge difference when settling in to the university.
This individual time that I got to spend with my lecturers was so valuable to me. They know your personality, what motivates you, what you specialise in and how to get the best out of you. It also allows you to get valuable feedback in both verbal and written form.
The benefits of a smaller course do not stop there. Having a tight-knit course has allowed me to form several close friendships, which can only help when you need to work together with fellow students.
The university seems to have struck a perfect balance between teamwork and independent work. Whilst you never feel like you’re isolated in any unit, you are also given the chance to work independently to show exactly what you can do.
The TV and radio studios that are available to students throughout their time at UCA allow you to enhance your broadcasting skills. Not only are you able to use these facilities during lectures but also in your free time to do whatever you like. Podcasts and radio shows are just two things you can do in the radio studios.
The TV studio is very useful to see the different types of roles you could carry out if you wanted to go into television. Would you like to try being a director for a TV programme at UCA? You can do it. Autocue? Sound? Camera operator? Floor manager? TV presenter? These are roles that you can test yourself in during your time at the university. The television unit in year one will allow you to do this.
Using your initiative at the university will take you very far. Second year journalism and TV students collaborated in year one to set up a radio station on the Farnham campus. This is something we can put on our CV, while developing our skills.
The importance of displaying your work online and getting yourself out there is also highlighted. No stone is left unturned at UCA, you are encouraged to make use of all platforms: print, broadcast and online. Our close relationship with the Farnham Herald, a local newspaper, has ensured that journalism students like me have managed to get pieces published to add to our working portfolio.
There’s an emphasis on building portfolios throughout your three years at the university, as you may have guessed from the previous few paragraphs. The curriculum means that you won’t be bombarded with written exams, another reason why I came to the university to study journalism.
Instead, you get to build collections of work which will help you when applying for jobs or internships in the future. Radio, TV and online portfolios can allow you to get your work out there in to the world. Who knows, someone in the industry could come across your work and offer you a great opportunity.
As part of the course, we are required to undertake work experience. I chose to do an internship at Snack Media, last summer, giving me the chance to be a sports writer for a few months between the end year one and the start of year two. Being able to show what I can do in a work environment was of great benefit.
Everything we do at UCA prepares us for the future, we don’t just do assignments for the sake of it. You can test out several different roles to determine exactly what platform you want to go in to.
There’s a chance you may want to work in television when you start first year, but come out wanting to do radio instead when you leave. That’s the great thing about journalism, it’s so flexible.
I’m currently midway through my course here at UCA. This university has given me the appetite to go on and work my way up the journalistic ladder. If I do go on to have a successful career, I have my lecturers, course colleagues and the institution as a whole to thank for that.
When I leave the university, I won’t think I’ll be well equipped to go out and start my journalist career, I know I will be.
The University for the Creative Arts has everything you need to allow you to become a successful journalist. Will you come and join us here in Farnham?
By Andy Jones
Find out more…
“I’ve learned new skills and improved both my broadcast and written journalism. You get a lot of hands-on work, rather than sitting in a classroom listening to a lecturer. This helped me as I learned by doing things rather than listening to someone talk about it.”
Emma Woodgate, BA (Hons)
Journalism & Media Production
At UCA, we deliver cutting-edge courses that provide the skills and expertise needed to start your career. Our Media and Journalism courses are often taught in small groups and with a more creative angle than traditional degree courses.
You’ll be taught by our knowledgeable lecturers, many of whom have worked for the likes of BBC Radio, LBC, The Guardian and some of Britain’s largest magazine publishers. You can draw on expertise from specialists in areas such as photography and film to enhance your projects, as well as fellow UCA students on other courses, who provide a rich source of collaborative opportunity.
You’ll learn skills in a very hands-on environment, working on live briefs and newsroom simulations that give you industry experience before you graduate. There are many opportunities to undertake internships and placements at big names in media. We run several trips – our students visit BBC Radio Surrey, ITN, BT Sport and the Houses of Parliament – and invite regular guest speakers to keep tuition varied. We also provide many chances to network and get your foot in the door of a very competitive industry. We’ll encourage you to aim high and believe that your drive will help you achieve great things – many of our graduates now work in newspaper, television, online, music, PR and media industries all over the world. We have a great range of programmes in the field – you’ll learn how to develop strategies to engage audiences through different media platforms, as well as strengthening your skills as a creative thinker, effective writer and confident producer.
UCA is ranked the top creative specialist in all three major domestic league tables simultaneously:
- The Guardian University Guide,
- Complete University Guide,
- The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide
and awarded Gold under the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF).
With more than 6,000 students studying over 110 creative courses across four campuses, we generate unique communities of artists, designers, makers, writers and researchers.