Tag Archives: University of Sunderland

The new Student Publication Association needs to converse with existing communities

Josh Halliday, an undergraduate journalism student at the University of Sunderland and InJournalism editor, takes a look at a new student organisation. A version of this post originally appeared on his blog. A disclosure: he launched Euro CollegeJourn, an online student community, earlier this year.

The UK-centric Student Publication Association will be a ‘national representative body’ for student publications ‘which supports student publications and their contributors by offering guidance, knowledge sharing, links in to the industry and become a forum for all involved,’ according to notes from a preliminary meeting last week, which I have permission to quote from.

These early developments suggest that online resources will be central to the SPA (or SJA according to their website.) Such online resources will seek to provide information and resources regarding good practice and legal issues.

Member publications will have the option to upload their content to the SPA website allowing for ‘affiliated publications’ and industry experts to see their work and, presumably, offer feedback and advice.

There is also plans for an ‘alumni association’ to allow for ‘strong industry contacts to be sustained and have a base of knowledge and experience which affiliated member publications can use to their advantage’.

Regarding the set-up, there will be nine regional representatives whose job it is to report back to a central body, enabling the Association to make ‘informed decisions about how it should operate and run itself’. The regions represented are: London and East Anglia, South East England, South West England, the Midlands, North East England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland.

Now my take. Any organisation which acts as a forum for student journalists and student journalism can only be a good thing.

I think the SPA would do well to get in touch with, and be inspired by, CoPress in the US. CoPress are, in their own words, an ‘organization dedicated to providing college news outlets with the technical resources and support network they need to innovate online’.

Look at what they’ve done with a wiki, a forum, published conference calls, engagement with the online community through social media; all ‘best practice’ essentials, in my opinion.

I admit, when I received the email from the SPA, it concerned me that it was the first I’d heard of their plans.

It would have been good to see mention of it on Tomorrows’ News, Tomorrow’s Journalists, a purpose-built forum for student journalists.

Similarly, with Euro CollegeJourn. Even though my project is currently on a summer hiatus it would have been good to see Association members involved with it.

In the hope the SPA will join the existing and evolving online conversation. I’ve reserved a Twitter account especially for them. It’s @StudentJournUK – take it, it’s yours.

Nonetheless, I wish the Association every luck. What better time can there be for meaningful collaborative work between journalism students?

What would you like to see a representative body for student journalists and student publications do? How could they help you out? Leave a comment below.

Sunderland survey results: What do journalism students want from their training?

Ninety-one per cent of journalism students think web-based skills were ‘vital’ or ‘important’ skills for journalism students, according to a recent study on the future of journalism education.

More than half the respondents were in favour of learning coding skills too.

But some of the most interesting ‘data’ from the University of Sunderland’s survey comes in the individual responses from students:

  • “At the moment I’m spending so much time mastering ways of presenting information that I’m not spending anywhere near enough time understanding what story should be told. I’m learning slick presentations of slim stories. This can’t be right,” said one student.
  • “I don’t think newsgathering and writing should be in the same category. Journalism doesn’t revolve around the print product, it revolves around reporting.”
  • “I feel there is already too much emphasis on web-base skills, as you can find good stories without using the web. Having to learn web-coding as part of the course would, I feel, take away from actually going out and finding stories.”
  • And in response to the question, ‘what would you like to see added to your course curriculum’, popular topics: more online, more specialisms and more business/entrepreneurial training [see Newcastle University’s plans on this topic].

(Interesting to compare some of these student responses, which were gathered by contacting journalism schools and online, with the results of the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ (NCTJ) recent skills survey.)

More responses to the University of Sunderland’s survey, which had 144 responses, can be seen below, courtesy of @joshhalliday’s blog:

Tom Walker Trust opens foreign reporting prize

The Tom Walker Trust has a great opportunity to journalism students looking to break into foreign affairs.

The Trust, which was founded in honour of the former Times journalist, is offering a £1,000 prize and four weeks of work experience on the Sunday Times’ foreign desk as part of a new award.

Entrants are asked to submit their idea for a foreign news story for the chance to work with a senior correspondent and complete their assignment.

The deadline is July 1 and the winner will be announced later in the month.

To enter, please send an email to Val.Harper [at] sunday-times.co.uk and attach your CV with your entry.

(via University of Sunderland’s Journalism and Public Relations blog)

#collegejourn coming to Europe

Following sucess on the other side of the Atlantic, online discussion #collegejourn, which brings together students and journalism academics for debate under a common hashtag, is coming to Europe.

To participate in the inaugural Collegejourn Europe discussion, drop into Meebo.com at the altogether more Euro-friendly time of 8pm (GMT) on Sunday (March 22).

If you want to get the ball rolling before the debate, send any topic suggestions towards the #collegejourn hashtag on Twitter or to Josh directly.

(via the University of Sunderland’s Journalism & PR blog)