Like many students at the end of their final year, rather than having a clear plan for my post-graduation life, I was at a bit of a loss. I had decided against doing a law conversion (a bullet well and truly dodged in hindsight) and now had a tough choice. What to do? I flirted with several notions: applying for a relevant job, moving home and working at a supermarket for a while or, carrying on with my education.
I decided upon the latter. A Master’s would allow me enter a new field, use the skills I had gained through my undergraduate degree and open up a whole new career path – in my case journalism. Thus a Master’s course fitted me very well, suiting what I needed career wise and also to benefit my own self. For me, the Master’s programme has functioned as a great gateway between uni life and entering the big bad world.
The teaching and work is far more strenuous and independent, with an emphasis on an application of your knowledge and skills. Socially a Master’s is not just an extension of undergraduate life, much as I hate to say it. Your workload and changing environment means the hedonistic days of your undergrad cannot be replicated, but neither are you as restricted as you would be in a 9 to 5 job. A Master’s, then, gives you numerous things – a higher qualification, a chance to specialise or adapt your skill-set, and a buffer between uni and the ominous world of work – all of which can only be of benefit.
I chose to stay at Newcastle for my Master’s for numerous reasons. It’s an incredible city and I was not willing to leave just yet, the support network offered via both the academic staff and student services was brilliant and finally it is ranked very highly for my specific course, Media and Journalism. Since starting in September all these reasons have again been proven true, apart from the Newcastle I remembered now seemed awfully quiet after third year. But I soon made new friends and Newcastle did not disappoint!
Several of you may have questions relating to my Master’s programme specifically, so I’ll fire a few points off. All of the different Media and Journalism Master’s courses are largely overlapping in terms of modules. Both subjects have a core set of four or five modules which are largely shared, such as Media and Law, Media Analysis, Multi-Media Journalism Principles and Practices, and an academic skills module. Each course will then have two or three of its own specific core modules. Each separate programme then has a choice from a plethora of different modules from across the School of Arts and Cultures, including film making, documentary, and some third year modules. Newcastle also offers numerous opportunities for trainee journalists to practice their craft, from the widely respected student newspaper The Courier to the hyper-local news service Jesmond Local, for whom I write.
The Media and Journalism courses, including International Multi-Media Journalism (IMMJ), are weighted around 60/40 in terms of media to journalistic teaching, yet the two are very complimentary. Media modules give you a detailed knowledge of media theory and the processes behind the creation of the news. The Journalism modules give you a solid grounding in numerous aspects of journalism, such as print, radio, online and TV, along with all the corresponding equipment and technical nuances required to be a quality journalist in 2016.
People often ask the differences between Media-Journalism and IMMJ – and there are only a few. The latter is more oriented around the use of film and social media in journalism, culminating in a 60 credit group project over the summer. Media and Journalism encompasses more media theory and culminates with a 60 credit dissertation over the summer months. I know people on both courses, as we share numerous modules and there is little difference between the two. Most importantly, both courses will stand you in good stead for a career in journalism.