08 May 2008

The Press Association newsroom

Journalism students at the University of Sheffield are now producing their stories in a new £100,000 multimedia newsroom sponsored by the Press Association (PA).

PA newsroom

The newsroom was opened on April 30th 2008 by PA chief executive Paul Potts and enables students to produce print, radio, television and web packages from the one workstation.

It also incorporates a state of the art audio-visual system which links the students´ workstations to a suite of large plasma screens on the newsroom walls. This means students working in groups can view their work live on the big screen, facilitating teamwork and group discussion.

Lecturers can take control of all five plasma screens simultaneously when working with larger groups, and can use special "e-pens" to highlight points of interest.

The screens are also linked to a bank of digital television receivers, meaning a range of live news channels can be displayed around the room when the students are working on "live" news exercises.

The PA Newsroom seats 24 students. Next door are three news seminar rooms that are also equipped with plasma screens and laptops connected to the university´s computer network. The new floor means the department now has four working newsrooms and represents a significant expansion of teaching space.

PA newsroom

"More importantly, it represents a technological leap forward," said Director of Journalism, Professor Peter Cole.

"It applies new teaching technologies and methods to new journalism forms and technologies.

"It´s the right development at the right time because the media world is changing fast and journalism education has to change too. This new facility makes that possible."

The opening of the PA Newsroom coincided with new statistics from the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), which show the University of Sheffield is top of the tree for NCTJ exam results.

Sheffield is the best-performing university in the country, with 64% of its postgraduate print students achieving grade C passes or higher in all the NCTJ´s core preliminary exams plus 100wpm shorthand.

The print course has just been reaccredited for another three years by an NCTJ panel of newspaper editors who visited the PA Newsroom and said they were thoroughly impressed by the university´s investment in multimedia teaching and facilities.