Enhancing the skills of tomorrow’s journalists

BA Journalism student Ida-Sofia Aari reports on January’s Enhancement Week

Date: 28 January 2014

From the BBC to the Houses of Parliament, journalism students at London Met gained real world experience during the first Enhancement Week of 2014.

Enhancement Week sees lecturers encourage students to try out different things and take them to places they wouldn’t normally have the chance to visit. Using their extensive contacts in the industry, London Met journalism lecturers make sure their students experience something “outside the course schedule”, but very much in their professional interests.  

One of the highlights of the week is a tour of the Houses of Parliament, a place where many students, especially international students, have never had the chance to visit. “It was a really nice trip,” said Hannah Thompson, second year journalism student. “I learned a lot about monarchy. Probably stuff that as a journalist I should know already!” 


It was also the second time that BBC Radio 2 hosted a very tiny group of students who were able to visit the Jeremy Vine Show on air. Only the first five lucky students got to sit with the editor of the show, just inches away of the presenter while the show was broadcast live. This visit was particularly useful for third year students who are currently working on their radio packages.

Julian Marshall from BBC Radio One came to talk about working in the radio industry. He also set the Newsbeat Challenge, which promises a week of work experience at Newsbeat for the person who creates the best one minute radio package – a great opportunity to get noticed inside the BBC. 

Boosting skills

Presenting and body language are important skills to any profession, but especially in journalism. They can be developed over the years, but they can also be learned and trained, so that is why guest speaker Lucy Richardson started the week off with a workshop to develop students’ self-presentation. Similar workshops are being held across Enhancement Weeks due to their huge demand. After all, the most important skill one can gain from University is confidence.

Enhancement Week plays an important role in developing students’ employability, as they receive real world experience and the chance to make contacts in their industries of choice. It’s no surprise, then, that London Met journalism graduates go on to highly demanding jobs after leaving their course. They also secure work placements at huge media organisations like the Press Association, Sunday Times, ITN, InStyle Magazine and the Daily Mail.

On the Thursday of Enhancement Week, Sue Ellis from the BBC College of Journalism came in and shared some tips on journalism in general, but also (to the bigger interest of the crowd), tips on how to get in to the BBC.

Insider tips

Ms Ellis stressed that there are a few things that students need to possess in the hope of getting through the tough recruitment process of the BBC. She said that if you can’t demonstrate passion for journalism, and passion in what you are doing, there is no chance of getting in.

“You can learn everything you need when you are inside BBC, but we need to see evidence that journalism is your passion,” she told the students in the London Met Journalism Newsroom.

Evidence of passion could be anything from YouTube videos and blog posts to published articles or book proposals that show an interest in getting published and a willingness to work. Ellis also said that to stand out you need to be different and bring something new to the table.

Dream workplace

It wouldn’t be journalism Enhancement Week without hard-core journalistic treats involved, so it goes without saying that the visits to The Guardian (pictured) and Evening Standard were both fully booked. A chance to visit the dream workplace and get to know some of the professionals there and take advantage of their advice is surely a motivator when the university work starts piling up again.

“Matthew Canes, journalist and our guide in The Guardian, gave us very valuable advice and his personal experiences in the industry,” said Yorva Tsiakara, a second year journalism student.

 “He encouraged us to create the biggest possible digital footprint as he thinks that this will be the most beneficial thing for us when we start to apply for jobs. He showed us a free guide on The Guardian’s education website that gives all the tools on how to blog,” Tsiakara said.

The next enhancement week takes places in the last week of February. Until then, students need to get back to their university deadlines...

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