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International Journalism - Hostile Environment Reporting

Overview
World's first United Kingdom industry standard international journalism programme with hostile environment reporting specialisation.

Summary
This unique course will equip graduates to report from international hostile environments in a safe, informed and innovative way. It was developed in consultation with media organisations, conflict reporters and international security/safety experts/disaster healthcare specialists, all with frontline hostile environment experience. This is supplemented by academic research and critique of the coverage of conflict, terrorism, natural disasters and of state suppression of media and investigative journalists. Students complete a 12,000 word dissertation in a chosen topic.

About
This new course will equip graduates to report from hostile environments in a safe, informed and innovative way. It was developed in consultation with media organisations, conflict reporters and international security/safety experts/disaster healthcare specialists, all with frontline hostile environment experience. This was supplemented by academic research and critique of the coverage of conflict, terrorism, natural disasters and of state suppression of media and investigative journalists. The University has long and successful experience running an MSc in Disaster Health Management (online/blended), MA Journalism, MSc Disaster Recovery and MFA Photography (online/campus) and expertise from these programmes will also be used for this new course.

The figures are stark for the increasing global danger for journalists. Some 780 journalists have been killed since 2006 (Reporters Sans Frontiers, 2017) with 74 killed alone in 2016. Thus, Ulster University is harnessing its expertise in areas related to conflict to deliver this innovative programme.

This course is underpinned with advanced practical skills on remaining safe and assessing risk that meet the requirements of major media organisations.This element will be taught through a week long field exercise preceding the course by several highly experienced international trainers all with decades of front line experience in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mexico and parts of Africa. Even for those opting to complete the course by distance learning, they will have to attend this element in person and it will be delivered the week before the main semester starts.

This hostile environment training course will cover preparation such as country analyses prior to deployment to include geography, history, economics and social structure.This also includes familiarising yourself with cultural etiquette and local area taboos, regional threats and in country communications infrastructure analyses. Water purification and food sourcing and survival tools will also be included. Also preparation such as travel vaccinations, tropical medicine, visas and currencies. It will include a component on emergency first aid and disaster zone healthcare. Other elements will include surviving natural disasters, navigation training, theft avoidance and security of possessions, packing kit, equipment and safety devices. The area of vehicle maintenance and loading, vehicle systematic search and transport considerations.

Once in the hostile environment, it will look at personal and accommodation security and situation awareness and counter surveillance measures. It will look then at the more journalistic elements such a meeting sources, establishing remote source communication, using cover stories, telephone security and negotiating check-points. Mines and weapon awareness will also be covered.

It will then look at more common areas that can become hostile environments such as civil disturbances and riots, crowd dynamics and control. Finally, there will be a session on post-traumatic stress disorder awareness. Each day will also have a reflective session.

The course, however, is not just a hostile environments training and certification programme. It will provide students with a deep theoretical understanding of the key elements that both create hostile environments and critiques of how they have been covered in the past. The School has several staff expert on analysis of conflict and post conflict reporting and investigative journalism, particularly relating to paramilitary groups. Other staff from biomedical science, disaster and austere environment nursing, environmental science and disaster recovery engineering who will give guest lectures on disease, climate change, earthquakes and disaster recovery. Students will select an area of importance to their career or interest and complete a 12,000 word dissertation researching this area. These could be areas of conflict, terrorism, post-conflict, criminal gangs, state suppression, climate change, famine, natural disaster, refugee issues and disease.

This will be coupled with National Council for the Training of Journalists' accredited modules in news gathering and writing, feature writing, ethics and regulation (UK), media law (UK), online, mobile and broadcast journalism. These more technical modules will also harness the School's new £6m investment in media facilities and expertise in new areas of production to develop new ways of covering journalistically stories from hostile environments.

Entry requirements

Entry conditions
We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University's General Entrance Requirements. For general entrance requirements go to:
https://www.ulster.ac.uk/apply/entrance-requirements

Entry Requirements
At least a 2.2 at degree level. Other professional experience will be considered.

English Language Requirements
English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 7.0 . Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability
None

Duration

Attendance
Semesters 1 and 2 from mid-September to mid-May; attendance can be 9am-5pm at least four days a week. Semester 3 is spent on optional placement and completion of the dissertation.

Careers or further progression

Career options
Students will find a wide range of career options in local, national or international news media organisations in print, broadcast or online. Some may also seek to work for non-governmental organisations who work in difficult environments or advocacy groups.

Further enquiries

Course Director: Colm Murphy
T: +44 (0)28 7012 4277
E: c.murphy@ulster.ac.uk

Application procedure and enrolment:
Ms Wenli Xu
T: +44 (0)28 7012 3373
E: w.xu@ulster.ac.uk
Email enquiries: artsdirectentry@ulster.ac.uk

Comment

* This course is undergoing academic validation. Please note that the information displayed here is subject to change as part of this process.

Assessment method

Teaching and learning assessment
The course contains a considerable practice based element. Teaching and learning is delivered through live news exercises, as well as a portfolio of original work. Assessment is through practice based work, essays and examinations where appropriate.

Application date

Apply
Application is directly to the University via an online system.

You should also submit an unpublished news article of 500 words that a newspaper in the area that you live (no matter where in the world) could publish. The article should be word-processed, using double line spacing. Applicants with published news stories or audio-visual pieces may submit two of these in addition to their unpublished article. This should be a photocopy clipping from the original publication or a copy on CD-ROM and be clearly labelled with title of publication, date and page number. The original article/material should not be submitted as we are unable to return supplementary materials. News stories should be emailed to Maggie Swarbrick (mm.swarbrick@ulster.ac.uk). Interviews are usually held in early May. The closing date is February 29th. Late applications may be accepted until March 31st.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2018

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