This week’s tenant feature in the Epic Studios media hub series, focuses on another leading education provider based in Norwich – the University of East Anglia.
While UEA (home to 15000 students) is not housed entirely under our roof like Access to Music College, it does have a large, well resourced and dedicated room at the studios. This is where MA students on UEA’s Practical Media & Broadcast Journalism courses gain hands on production training. Alongside an in-house recording booth, they also regularly use our main studio and gallery to experience what it is like to produce ‘as live’ broadcast news recordings.
Tutors on the course have a wealth of relevant experience to offer media students of the UEA, which was recently ranked 3rd in the national student survey.
As a former professional journalist for BBC, ITV and Archant, course director and tutor Mark Wells is perfectly placed to mentor the next generation of broadcast journalists coming through the UEA.
Guest tutor for the course, Ian Masters worked for the BBC for over 25 years, as a presenter, managing editor of various local BBC stations and manager of BBC South. He was also anchorman for BBC East in the 70s and 80s, so has some fantastic insights for aspiring journalists.
Clare Precey was a senior broadcast journalist for Radio 1 Newsbeat before becoming senior producer of BBC Radio News. She now presents politics and current affairs programme ‘This Week’ on Mustard TV in Norwich, alongside her role as a journalism lecturer for UEA.
Editing tutor and technology assistant, Matt Barnes, previously worked for SeaMedia and BBC Voices before taking on the editing tuition role with UEA. He also undertakes an array of freelance videography projects and related educational roles – including guest speaking and mentoring for Access To Music’s Digital Media courses.
I asked Matt Barnes for a little more information about the course itself and the UEA team’s connection with Epic Studios.
What do you think attracted the UEA to Epic Studios as a learning resource?
As well as acting as a more central hub for our journalists when out sourcing and shooting new stories in the city, Epic provides the opportunity for us to show them around a live TV studio environment and give them practical experience and skills to shoot their own magazine-style show.
Around how many students has your team now helped on the way to achieving their ambitions in the media sector?
In the six years the course has been running, we have had around 500 students across both our Broadcast Journalism and Practical Media courses. The subject is popular with students from not only this country but with many of UEA’s international students, some of whom already work in the field and come to earn a qualification, gain a broader, worldlier perspective and hear from experts who have worked within the globally renowned BBC.
What is the most satisfying element of your role on the course?
I enjoy seeing the variety of content that is produced each year. With the changing nature of current news and Norwich being the vibrant place that it is, it’s rare that we see a subject repeated more than once, and when that does happen it’s usually handled in a different and interesting way. Discussing creative ideas and passing on my expanding knowledge of editing is very rewarding and it’s made even easier when it’s with people who share such a passion for the subject.
As a longterm, media sector professional, what, in your opinion, are the most notable recent changes around the industry that affect broadcast journalists today?
Journalists today, especially those wanting to break into the industry or go freelance, have to learn to adapt with technology. It’s becoming more essential to be more of a ‘one-man-band’. For instance, we have recently begun introducing the topic of smartphone journalism; using your phone to not only get alerts about developing stories, but to also make use of apps to record audio, shoot, edit, publish and share a video. It’s a fast paced and cut-throat industry, so becoming a good all-rounder with these practical skills is essential.
What would your best advice be to a budding broadcast journalist?
We always tell our journalists to read and watch the news to drill into them the style and techniques of what is expected of them and to keep them thinking on current topics as they develop. We will often bring up recent stories and discuss the way they are being dealt with in the media, what their thoughts on them are and how they would approach a subject. To build on this, the best things you can do are to involve yourself, remain vigilant and ask questions.
Is there anywhere that we could view examples of UEA students’ production work created at the studios?
While the work produced is submitted and marked internally and then left to the students’ discretion as to whether it is shared, some of the previous year’s work has been uploaded to this YouTube channel.
Where can people find out more about the course you run?
Do you have any other projects on the go at the moment?
I am continuing to stay on top of the latest developments in the various editing software platforms and techniques so that I can update and improve my teaching methods. When I’m not doing this I am keeping myself busy with internal UEA politics videos and some on behalf of an initiative in London setup in conjunction with UEA and KCL that organises panels and debates with politicians and experts around the subject of Brexit. I’m also a guest tutor for an Access to Music course in Norwich in which I talk about the history of filmmaking theory, modern practices and lead into overseeing the editing of student projects.
For more on the University of East Anglia, visit their website – www.uea.ac.uk.
If you would like to enjoy the benefits of a TV Studio address without moving your business, have a look at Epic Studios’ Virtual Tenancy options.