Posted by: PR@leedsmet | December 7, 2010

Synergy between PR and journalism

BA Journalism is now into its third year. Here journalism student Sana Abubacar profiles her course leader.

Annisa Suliman

An exemplary tutor, always ready to help whether giving advice or imparting knowledge.

These are just some of the things journalism students are saying about their course leader, Annisa Suliman.

“She is always available to provide help and support, whether it is with her lecture material as well as course related things. Her lectures have inspired me to challenge myself and to look deeper into my subject,” says Darcy Amamou, a final year journalism student.

Annisa became the first BA (Hons) Journalism course leader at Leeds Met in 2008. A media professional with extensive experience of print and PR, she previously taught at Teesside and York St John universities.

As course leader she is responsible for course development, overseeing content, delivery and assessment to ensure a coherent programme that offers students a strong experience, academic underpinning and relevant traditional and multi-media production skills.

The BA (Hons) Journalism course was created by members of the PR and Communications subject group in consultation with industry specialists in 2008. An extremely popular course, it recruited 38 students in its first year, increasing to 83 in its second year and this year new student numbers reached 104. In just three years Journalism has overtaken recruitment onto BA Public Relations.

“I think schools and colleges are responsible for suggesting journalism rather than PR as a possible career option for young people who are good at writing. The previous Government’s target of getting 50% of young people into higher education has meant that most professions now require a degree. So, it’s the most natural thing in the world to try and make a career out of your best attribute,” says Annisa.

She adds: “Although Journalism is more popular than PR at the moment, the fact that we have PR and media professionals teaching alongside each other on shared core modules is a bonus for students. In our subject group we’re very aware of the points of connection and the synergies that exist between the two professions.

“It is important that the Journalism course sits within the PR and Communications subject group – PR practitioners need to know what journalists want and vice versa because a good deal of what journalists write these days comes from a PR source.”

Annisa believes that journalism at Leeds Metropolitan benefits from the reputation and strength of the PR course in terms of expertise and industry connections. In a world where traditional news media output is shrinking, journalism graduates might seek employment in the more buoyant PR field.

Over the next few years, Annisa is looking forward to consolidating and enhancing provision. This year the university appointed three new lecturers: Sean Dodson (an online and features specialist), Nigel Green (print) and Jennifer Kean (radio). Now with four members in the team, they are developing an MA course so that students who want to continue their studies with Leeds Metropolitan can do so. The Masters will also have international relevance.

“I’m really looking forward to the next five years,” says Annisa. “The course’s success is a credit to those who drove its creation and to the subject specialists from across the university who have helped make it an academically and vocationally relevant choice for graduates wishing to enter today’s multi-media world.”

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