MA Broadcast Journalism/course leader Lynn Dixon with a student in the radio booth

Take Broadcast Journalism MA and become a master of writing, recording, filming and editing news pieces for radio, television and online. Learn how to find the stories and ask interviewees the questions that matter. Put your skills to the test on our award-winning newsdays.

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Overview

Image: 'on air' lightBroadcast Journalism MA/Postgraduate Diploma

Join our Broadcast MA and you'll learn journalism by doing journalism. Our outstanding teaching staff will show you how to hunt down stories on your own. They'll develop your interview technique, so you can ask the high-impact questions that matter. Our experts in media law, regulation and public administration will make sure your journalism is responsible and ethical as well as hard-hitting.

We've invested heavily in audio and video facilities, creating a purpose-built Broadcast Zone right here in the department. Our knowledge of the media industry means you'll be immersed in TV, radio and online techniques right from day one.

We'll nurture your skills using our TV news studio and gallery, radio studios and production booths, and high-tech editing suite – all laden with the same industry-standard equipment and software used by the professionals. You'll learn how to record and edit material using our tech, and how to tell stories online. We'll show you mobile journalism techniques, so you can create and publish digital content wherever you are and we’ll train you to think across all platforms, creating some bespoke treatments for social media.

Then, on production newsdays, you'll work against the clock as part of a team that goes out into the city to find the news, shoot footage and create bulletins to meet tough deadlines back at the Broadcast Zone. It's demanding work – but that's how our students finish the degree newsroom-ready, as complete broadcast journalists.

This degree is professionally accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, an important benchmark of quality recognised across the UK media industry.

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Journalism Studies
postgraduate brochure

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Teaching

There are lectures, seminars, group workshops, individual and team assignments.

Assessment

You’re assessed on essays, examinations and practical broadcast journalism – producing news stories, radio and TV news items and features, web pages and portfolios.

Duration

MA 1 year full-time
Postgraduate Diploma 9 months full-time

Our campus and how we use it

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

Your degree may involve travelling off campus, around or beyond Sheffield, to find and report local news for practical skills assessments.

Modules

The course comprises seven core modules and one optional module. For completing each module successfully, you gain 15 credits (except for Advanced Broadcast Journalism, which is worth 30 credits, and your dissertation/portfolio, which is worth 60 credits). To be awarded the MA degree you must gain a total of 180 credits. You may choose to omit the dissertation, in which case 120 credits will secure a postgraduate diploma (PgDip) rather than a masters degree.

These are the modules taught in the 2019-20 academic year.

Core modules

Students must take all seven of these modules.

Semester 1

Researching News

Finding, researching, and developing news stories is a basic journalistic skill and one that is common to all media. This module is intended to equip students with the understanding, knowledge, insights and skills necessary for effective journalistic research and news gathering. It seeks to develop in students some of the basic practical skills involved – such as effective interviewing and researching – with the development of 'news sense' and an understanding of the potential sources of news in a variety of settings. It will demonstrate the generic nature of news gathering skills across all media.

Broadcast News

This module introduces you to news production for radio, television, the web and social media. You will learn basic technical skills covering recording and editing for radio and television, and the conventions of writing and presenting. It emphasises the nuts and bolts of radio and television news bulletins and starts the process of encouraging you to use production techniques effectively. You'll learn how to use a content management system and begin to learn how writing for the web differs from writing for broadcast. You will apply newsgathering and interviewing skills in broadcast situations which are structured to simulate the professional working environment. You will also have one-to-one voice training sessions to improve presentation skills.

Law for Journalists

This module aims to develop your understanding of legal constraints on journalists working in the UK, including defamation and contempt law. You'll also learn how matter can be published in the public interest, and how a journalist can challenge invalid restrictions. There will also be a study of the Editors' Code of Practice and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

Ethics and Regulation

This module examines some of the major ethical controversies in journalism. Students will explore debates about the tension between freedom of expression and the exercise of responsibility, and about the need to balance privacy rights with publishing material in the public interest. There will also be study of regulation, truth-telling, media representation of vulnerable groups and journalists' relationship with their sources. You'll also look at how ethical behaviour is encouraged in journalism, and consider how the industry codes seek to achieve this in the UK.

Semester 2

Power and Society: The Institutions of Government

In this module you'll explore the institutions and organisations which significantly affect the nature of our society and which effect change within it. It explores the nature of the relationships between local, national and international institutions of government and seeks to equip journalists to understand how those relationships reflect or effect the decision making processes in society. It will also examine the structures and processes of the institutions of government at local, national and European level.

Advanced Broadcast Journalism

The focus of this module allows you to build on the basic skills developed in the Broadcast News module taken in semester 1. You will work on features, bulletins and programmes covering a range of formats and styles and further develop your online skills. A key exercise is a block of radio and television newsdays.

Broadcast Journalism Portfolio

For your portfolio you'll develop and submit a substantial piece of journalistic work in either radio or television. The project is accompanied by a detailed written appraisal of the editorial and production processes involved.

Optional modules

Students choose one from the following modules (all taught in semester 2).

Communicating with the Media

This module builds the knowledge and skills you need to communicate messages through the media. Case studies and practical workshops illustrate the practice of media communication. You'll learn how the media operates and how to communicate messages through interviews, press conferences and news releases. Topics covered in the module will include the development of communication strategies, the understanding of news values and news cycles and strategies for successful and ethical communication.

Dealing with Data for Journalists

"News reporting relies increasingly on knowing how to understand and analyse data. Now that information is abundant, processing is more important."
– Philip Meyer

We live in an age of 'big data' which is more widely available than ever before. Every day, vast amounts of information are collected and lie largely undisturbed. In the past, data has generally been closely guarded by 'gatekeepers', people at various organisations who were able to supply information on a case by case basis. Now, much of that data is freely available to the general public. This module will equip you with the type of easily accessible techniques which are now being used by journalists up and down the country. It will help you to find data, integrate it into news reports, critically assess it and package it for the broadest possible audience.

Media Freedom: European, UK and US Perspectives

The overall aim of this module is to develop an understanding of the international treaties and national laws safeguarding the exercise of freedom of expression by the media, the different interpretations of this freedom in Europe and the US, and the limitations to which it is subject. Particular issues include:

  • the protection of freedom of expression in the European Convention of Human Rights, the Human Rights Act and the First Amendment
  • the tensions between media freedom, hate speech and privacy
  • media freedom and political expression
  • the contrasting models of press freedom and broadcasting regulation
  • the debate on internet freedom or regulation
Radio and NGO Communication in Conflict-Affected Areas

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other such organisations are valuable information sources, mediators and actors in conflict-affected zones and use local media, particularly radio, to amplify their messages, programmes and advocacy. This module focuses on, and engages with, the public and political communication used, and sometimes misused, and even abused, by radio and NGOs, internationally and historically, during times of conflict and the challenges they encounter culturally, politically, economically, legally and institutionally.

Course leader

Lynn DixonThe course leader on Broadcast Journalism MA is Lynn Dixon (pictured).

Lynn Dixon is a former senior broadcast journalist and presenter for BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat. She was a News Editor for Bauer radio and has been a reporter in BBC local radio. Lynn has also worked on a variety of TV news programmes for the BBC and ITV. She continues to produce voiceovers and commercial podcast features.

Lynn graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Art and earned a postgraduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism at Sheffield Hallam University.

Follow or say hi to Lynn on Twitter at @dixonlynn1 and view her staff profile for more information.

All staff in the Department of Journalism Studies

Career opportunities

Head and shoulders shot of Dan WalkerMA Broadcast Journalism is for students who are determined, articulate, fascinated by news and current affairs, and at ease in front of a camera and mic.

This degree is accredited by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC). Sheffield's reputation combined with the prestige of BJTC accreditation means your degree will have extra clout in the jobs market.

On this course you'll undertake a substantial work experience placement. This is a chance to give a real test to the skills and knowledge you'll be developing back here in the department. The Department of Journalism Studies has a dedicated work placement co-ordinator whose job it is to match you up with a good employer suited to your areas of interest. Check out #jusplacement to see what our students are saying about their current work experience posts.

Our most recent survey data from MA Broadcast Journalism graduates shows:

  • 92.3% positive outcomes (the proportion of graduates who were available for employment and had secured employment or further study)
  • 92.3% graduate prospects (the proportion of graduates who were available for employment and had secured graduate-level employment or graduate-level further study)

Graduates from recent cohorts work for BBC Newsnight and Radio 1, Wall Street Journal, ITN/Channel 4 News, The Guardian, and media in India, China and the USA. One of the first people to take the degree was the current BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker (pictured). See what Dan and other alumni say in our career case studies section.

Applying and
entry requirements

To apply for MA Broadcast Journalism you'll need one of the following:

  • a 2:1 honours degree (we will consider a 2:2 if we are sufficiently impressed by your potential); OR
  • an alternative qualification approved by the University as degree equivalent; OR
  • substantial previous work experience in a media-related role

Entry requirements for international students

Come and visit us at a postgraduate open day

If English is not your first language, or your first degree was not taught in English, you'll need to demonstrate your aptitude in the language. Our requirement is for an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum of 7.0 in each component, or the equivalent scores in another qualification.

If you have not yet obtained an English language qualification, you can still apply. We may give you a conditional offer based on you obtaining the English qualification later. You can do this by taking a course at the University's English Language Teaching Centre.

Pathway programmes

Our International College provides international students with pathway programmes for progression to degree study at the University.

Pre-Masters

 

Ready to apply?

Use the University's online application form to apply for your place.

Apply now

Please download this news bulletin script, record yourself reading it, and include the recording with your application as an mp3 or wav file.

There are no specific deadlines for receipt of applications, but we recommend you apply early as courses fill up quickly.

The online application form allows you to upload files. Please use this to send us your news bulletin recording and any other information such as course transcripts, language certificates (if your first language is not English) or references. If you do not include these initially, we will ask you to do so later, which may delay the processing of your application.

If you're based in the UK or Ireland, we will usually ask you to come for an interview. If you live elsewhere we will not normally interview you here in the department but may contact you for a telephone or online interview.

Fees and funding

Use the University's postgraduate fees calculator to find the current tuition fee for this course. Please note that fees do not include the cost of external exams administered by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, should you wish to sit these.

Postgraduate student loans are available for UK and EU students to a current value of £10,280.

Several scholarship funding awards are also available to Broadcast Journalism students. These include the following.

  • Dan Walker Journalism Scholarships offer £10,000 in funding and personal mentoring from the BBC presenter and Sheffield journalism alumnus. More info
  • The Sheffield Postgraduate Scholarship is also worth £10,000 and open to high-achieving students and those from groups that are underrepresented in higher education. More info
  • Sheffield scholarships for international students are designed to support talented applicants from all over the world. More info
  • British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) scholarships are available for students from the UK, China and Hong Kong, with funding, mentoring and free access to BAFTA events. More info: UK | China and Hong Kong
  • The George Viner Memorial Fund exists specifically to help broaden the ethnic diversity of journalists working in the UK and Ireland. More info

Please see the Department of Journalism Studies' taught postgraduate funding page for more general details on the above, including an overview of deadlines.

Other sources of funding may be available – please see the University's postgraduate funding pages to investigate.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it’s up-to-date and relevant. This is in response to discoveries made through our world-leading research, funding changes, professional accreditation requirements, student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews, and variations in staff or student numbers. We update these web pages to reflect any changes to course content as soon as we can. If any information conflicts between these web pages and a printed brochure or prospectus, please take the information here as correct. Sometimes changes may need to be made to modules, courses, entry requirements and fees between your application and the start of your course. When these are significant in nature, we'll let you know as quickly as we can. All modules other than core modules are subject to limits on their availability, which include (but may not be limited to) class sizes and timetabling constraints.

Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions
Department of Journalism Studies
University of Sheffield
9 Mappin Street
Sheffield S1 4DT

Tel: +44 114 222 2500
Email: journalism-admissions@sheffield.ac.uk