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Radwa Mabrook

"At City, I’ve been able to present a paper at a conference in Prague, and teach master’s students."

Radwa Mabrook, Journalism Research Programme (PhD)

I’m interested in researching new innovations and technological developments in journalism, and whether they can be fully integrated into newsrooms.

Technologies like virtual reality (VR) can transport people to different and very remote places. Newsrooms are starting to look at VR experiences that take you to war zones, and places that have suffered natural disasters. It’s a way to put you in another person’s shoes, and make you feel some empathy for their experience.

My research at City involves visiting different news organisations in the UK and seeing how they’re using innovations such as VR. I’ve interviewed around 40 people. In London, you see a lot of the latest technology being used in newsrooms. City also has a very good Interaction Lab, where students can use VR headsets for free. That was invaluable for my research.

I go to lots of networking events with journalists from the Guardian, Financial Times and BBC. Whenever you say you’re from City, they appreciate you, as it’s home to one of the oldest journalism schools in London. Many of them graduated from City themselves.

I also got an internship as a research associate in the Research and Enterprise Department. They do market and business research for tech products developed at City, to help commercialise innovations. You work with multi-disciplinary teams, and it helps you to learn more about different regulations and frameworks.

My previous studies in Egypt in were focused on media and communication, and I wanted to continue my research. My supervisor recommended City, and I was proud and enthusiastic when I was accepted. It was scary as I had no family and friends in London. But I got so much support from admin staff and the visa advice team, as well as colleagues and supervisors.

Being here has opened up my mind to new areas and opportunities. In Egypt, you can be an academic staff member, but it’s harder to go to international conferences and get your name out there. At City, I’ve been able to present a paper at a conference in Prague, and teach master’s students. I was worried at first as I wasn’t a native English speaker, but you see students on the course from all over the world.

It’s been a funny and scary experience at City so far. I didn’t know anyone at first, and didn’t know whether I’d be able to get a job. But you can find people to advise you about opportunities and visas, and there’s even training in employability skills which can give you a broader understanding of what you need to do.

London is a big city with lots of places to go. Every day I explore places I’ve never been to before. Sometimes I get lost in the streets and my phone is out of battery. But as I just stand there looking lost, people will come by and ask me where I want to go. People here are very helpful. I’m not a British person, and at first you’re concerned you might be treated differently. But it's a very diverse and metropolitan city, and you don't feel so different after all.