This part of the course is designed to give you an insight into the role of a specialist correspondent and to provide useful contacts and knowledge in a specialist field of journalism.
There are 18 options available as part of the Specialisms Module in 2011/2. Please note that the Specialism options and tutors may change from year to year.
Arts and Culture
This specialism covers intelligent arts journalism in a way that is serious but not stuffy. You will tackle pitching, reviewing, interviewing, profiling and commentary in the fields of cinema, theatre, music (pop and classical), books and contemporary cultural issues. Guest speakers will talk about a range of subjects, from dealing with Hollywood starlets to touring with the RSC.
Tutor: Mia Aimaro Ogden is a senior sub-editor on the arts and leisure desk of The Sunday Times. She writes regularly for the Culture, Style and Travel sections, and is also a freelance book editor. Mia teaches on the MA and BA Journalism courses at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
The specialism analyses what is involved in covering domestic, civil and international conflict, including communal demonstrations and riots. It examines the history of war reporting and the diverse styles of coverage. It discusses ways of reducing risk while covering conflict, how to deal with sources from the police, military, demonstrators, officials and dissidents, and what to take with you when you go.
Tutor: Paul Iredale was a Reuter Correspondent for almost 30 years, covering conflict in Southern Africa, South and Central America, Kashmir and the former Yugoslavia. He ran workshops in international and environmental news and news safety for the Reuters Foundation.
This specialism looks at development issues within the wider debate over the impact of globalisation. You look at the big challenges facing the developing world, including the expansion of corporate capitalism, the emergence of new economic powers, growing global inequalities, and climate crisis. The module also considers how as journalists you can make these issues interesting and accessible. With the help of guest speakers, you look at efforts by campaigning groups to bring these issues to a broader public.
Tutor: Sue Branford reported for various newspapers (including The Guardian) from Latin America for a decade. She then worked for 12 years at the BBC World Service as a broadcast journalist. She now works as a freelance in both print and broadcast journalism.
Style and writing are at the heart of the course, which is very tightly structured and involves a considerable amount of creative (and occasionally experimental) work. The first term focuses largely on how to interview subjects, both 'unknown' and 'celebrity'. In the second term, the emphasis shifts to feature writing, reviewing, and using imaginative approaches for bringing ideas to the page and investigative reporting within the arts arena.
Tutor: David Roper, writer and broadcaster with Heavy Entertainment, an independent production company making programmes for TV and radio networks.
Given the environmental crisis facing the planet, most notably climate change, there has never been a greater need for journalists specialising in this area. This specialism aims to give you an all-round introduction to the main issues in environment and development. As well as climate change, subjects covered include population growth, pollution, biodiversity, urbanisation, animal rights, 'affluenza', and corporate social responsibility. The aim is to ensure that you emerge from the course environmentally literate so that you are able to relate the headlines to longer-term themes, express this awareness in your work and be an effective advocate for environmental coverage in your relationship with news, features and commissioning editors.
Tutor: Bibi van der Zee writes about the environment and activism for The Guardian and the New Statesman, and has published The Protestor's Handbook and Green Business.
This module introduces you to a difficult but fascinating area of the profession - reporting and interpreting the activities of the only transnational government in the world. After completing the module successfully, you will be able to write accurate news reports on major EU stories (such as the problems of the eurozone, environmental and financial regulation, energy security, trade disputes with the US and China, trans-border crime, illegal immigration, etc). You will have acquired the knowledge and skills to interview EU officials, MEPs and representatives of important interest groups affected by EU legislation, and you will have the confidence to produce balanced features on the impact of EU legislation and EU funding on business, agriculture, the environment, consumer protection and other fields.
Tutor: Harry Schneider was a reporter on German provincial newspapers and worked for a London publisher. Later he joined the BBC where he spent 30 years in radio news and current affairs. As a senior producer and editor he regularly covered the European Parliament in Strasbourg and European Summits, including the Maastricht Treaty negotiations. Now retired from the BBC, he is a freelance writer and broadcaster specialising in European affairs.
Fashion and Style Journalism
Demand for fashion content has exploded both in print and online media in recent years. This course helps you to develop the specific skill sets necessary to shine in this form of journalism, whether from a creative, celebrity or business perspective, and has a realistic, practical focus throughout. It highlights the links between fashion and other creative and design industries, explores how fashion journalism interrelates with broader style and lifestyle writing, and includes practical exercises focused on London Fashion Week.
Tutor: Roger Tredre worked in newspapers through the 1990s in fashion and style, including four years at The Independent and five years at The Observer. He was editor-in-chief of WGSN.com (1999-2006), the award-winning online global fashion trends service. He is currently managing editor (news) of Stylus.com, a b2b creative inspiration website based in London and New York. He has been lead tutor in fashion journalism on the Fashion MA at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University of the Arts London, since 1999.
Finance and Business
This module will give you all you need to know to take your first steps into the world of business and finance writing, introducing the key figures and institutions in the City, providing an overview of financial markets, and exploring the different sub-specialisms within business journalism, including consumer finance. Most importantly, the course will give you the inside track on how to find the best jobs, and how to progress quickly. In the post-credit crunch era, where financial stories are increasingly making front page news, a working knowledge of finance is becoming a valued asset on any news desk.
Tutor: James Daley has over 10 years' experience as a financial journalist. He is currently the editor of the UK's best selling personal finance magazine, Which? Money. James joined Which? in 2009 after spending five years at The Independent, where he was latterly the Personal Finance Editor and a specialist on the business desk.
Can we trust crime figures? Does prison work? Should drugs be legalised? How do we keep tabs on the police? Will the Government hit its immigration target? These are some of the questions you will try to answer as part of the home affairs specialism. With an emphasis on practical exercises, visits and discussion, the module covers the main areas that the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice are responsible for - asylum and immigration; drugs, alcohol and crime; sentencing policy and prisons; police, offenders and victims; terrorism legislation. The course will focus on the UK and policy in England and Wales, in particular.
Tutor: Danny Shaw, BBC Home Affairs Correspondent. Danny has worked at the BBC for 22 years, where he's twice won the Legal Reporter of the Year Award. He's taught home affairs at City since 2001, and was previously a City postgraduate student in newspaper journalism.
This specialism looks at the relationship between the media and agencies with an agenda to change the world - non-governmental organisations. You will scrutinise the activities of such organisations, and assess their media value. This practical module investigates where it may be appropriate for journalists to join forces with such organisations, both in terms of accessing their expertise and in some cases embarking on joint projects. Topics considered include disaster relief, climate change, human rights, asylum and financial reform. You will learn - through exercises, expert speakers and outside visits - how to get the best out of NGOs and how to offer them their services as media professionals.
Tutor: Andrew Hogg's posts have included Middle East Correspondent and Africa Correspondent for the Sunday Times, and head of that paper's Insight investigation unit. He was also home news editor of both the Sunday Times and Observer newspapers, and an investigations specialist on the Evening Standard. More recently he has worked as head of media for the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, and is presently News Editor/Campaigns Editor for the development agency Christian Aid. He has authored two books, and contributed to a number of others, on subjects as diverse as religious cults, armed robbery and human rights.
This module offers a practical, all-round introduction to 'in-depth journalism in the public interest', including open source intelligence, social media, freedom of information legislation, Companies House records, electoral rolls, court records, and the Land Registry to gather information, as well as advanced search tools and developing analytic methods such as data mining and computer assisted reporting. The module includes regular discussion of investigative stories currently in the news, with guest speakers, visits, and mini-investigative assignments. By the end of the module you will be well-equipped to find a good subject, employ the latest investigative techniques and successfully 'sell' an investigation to an editor in any branch of the media.
Tutor: Michael Durham has been a journalist for 30 years and over ten years worked as a staff correspondent with the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Observer, and Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers, covering a wide range of briefs including education, health and consumer affairs as well as general news. He has run or contributed to investigations into Aids policy, health, transport, arms sales in developing countries, charities, development issues and the international used-clothing trade, and wrote an award winning series for the Observer on care of the elderly in hospital, 'Dignity on the Ward'. He worked for two years for the investigative NGO, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which conducts clandestine investigations into environmental crime.
This module introduces you to the issues, ethics, characters and problems encountered by music journalists. It includes an examination of developments in the music press and an exploration of interview and review style. There be guest speakers from all relevant areas of the music industry: journalists, broadcasters, photographers, PRs, managers, musicians. Over the duration of the module you will also practise the techniques of reviewing and interviewing, and analyse and discuss published examples of music journalism.
Tutor: Stevie Chick is a freelance print journalist. He contributes features and reviews to MOJO, The Guardian and The Quietus, among others, and has published several books on Punk-Rock and Hip-Hop. He has also previously contributed to NME, Melody Maker, The Times, Evening Standard, Plan B, Sleazenation, Rolling Stone, Kerrang! and Q, and helped found Careless Talk Costs Lives and Loose Lips Sinks Ships.
Security and Organised Crime
This module examines in detail how to report on UK-based terrorism, particularly al-Qaeda inspired attacks and networks. It also covers animal rights extremists, Irish paramilitary groups, and lone bombers. This involves getting to know all the angles, from counter terrorism detectives, to lawyers, community and pressure groups, as well as the extremists themselves. The module takes a similar approach to reporting on organised crime - whether it is a piece of analysis about the "perfect robbery" or profiles of the "faces" behind the stories. Preparing court backgrounds and coping with big running crime stories are also covered. You will learn a variety of skills that will prove invaluable in whatever area of journalism you work, including how to make contacts, analysing news, responding to a breaking story, and questioning press officers.
Tutor: Jason Bennetto was the crime correspondent with special responsibility for security reporting at The Independent for 13 years. Jason became a freelance journalist in 2007. He is a senior lecturer at City and teaches news and features on the MA Magazine Journalism course.
Science and Health
This module aims to give you a broad introduction to science and health journalism. You will be taught how to identify a science and health story, build contacts and develop their writing skills through a range of practical assignments. You will be expected to keep abreast of daily specialist news and have a good grasp of what is happening in this field throughout the year. On completion of the course you will be able to: write news reports, produce balanced features on a range of complex science and health topics, refine interviewing skills at mock press conferences and operate within the framework of an ethical journalist.
Tutor: Toby Murcott is a science writer and broadcaster. A former science correspondent for BBC World Service Radio; ex editor of the science television channel einstein.tv; author of The Whole Story: Alternative Medicine on Trial?; and has covered science for Maxim Magazine.
This module reacts to current events in the sporting world, week by week. You have the opportunity to show your skills at writing sports news and feature stories. Each member of the group will report at least one live football match, while previous courses have also included rugby matches and a tennis tournament. During the module there are visits from sports journalists in different branches of the industry and the opportunity to interview a leading sports administrator. You are expected to be aware of the main sports news stories each week, so reading a selection of national newspapers and listening to Radio Five Live is considered essential.
Tutor: Matt Hughes, Deputy Football Correspondent, for The Times, has written widely about sport.
Technology and New Media
This module gives you an understanding of the technology sector and the skills needed to cover it. It covers the key players and developments in consumer technology, the high-tech sector, mobile and the internet. You also examine issues raised by new technology, including privacy concerns and digital piracy, as well as the way technology is covered in the media, from the effect of blogs to the growth in technology 'scare' stories. You will get advice on developing contacts, spotting stories and dealing with PRs, and outline different approaches to writing news stories, features, interviews and reviews. There is a visit to a technology company and sessions with guest speakers, including a prominent blogger and a freelance technology writer.
Tutor: Shane Richmond is Head of Technology (Editorial) for Telegraph Media Group and has worked on the internet since 1998.
This module gives you a practical insight into covering Westminster and Whitehall. The key focus is on unearthing and reporting genuine political stories and analysing political events. You cover the Houses of Parliament, the UK Government and the Civil Service, the political parties and other key political influencers. The module is interactive, with visits by guest speakers and trips to Westminster. Most of the assignments consist of exercises that mirror the challenges faced daily by working journalists covering politics. A critical rather than a cynical attitude towards politics and politicians is encouraged.
Tutor: Martin Bright, Political Editor, Jewish Chronicle, formerly of New Statesman
From Iraq to America and across multifaith Britain, religious belief is a key force influencing the news agenda. In this specialism you examine key beliefs of the major world religions and explore how their values inform and describe a world-view. This module is designed for those who seek to question and deepen their understanding of moral or ethical questions - especially as they are framed by systems of faith - and to report their stories with an awareness of journalistic ethics. It should make you more aware of your ideas and prejudices and how to move beyond them in reporting on people and stories which at times will come from a radically different perspective to your own.
Tutors: Pratap Rughani is an award-winning writer and documentary film producer/director (BBC TV/Channel 4) with experience as an international radio producer, magazine editor and national newspaper reporter. He has an MA in religious philosophy and is a former City University journalism postgrad student. Ruth Gledhill is the Religion Correspondent at The Times.