Mobile reporting is becoming one of the key skills journalists should have today. It's cost effective, light on kit, and can get journalists access to places they would not be able to get to with a full TV crew.
And yet, by looking at their course web pages, it doesn’t look as if any of the top universities for journalism in the UK are actually teaching it.
So is this truly the case, or are universities simply not advertising all of the mobile journalism work that they’re doing?
Cardiff University, which tops the Guardian's list for journalism, publishing and public relations courses, offers numerous journalism courses.
Their JOMEC (School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies) was once referred to as “the Oxbridge of journalism”, alongside City University London, but Cardiff’s BA Journalism course is known to have a very academic approach.
Speaking to Naomi Dunstan and Glyn Mottershead, lecturers at Cardiff, Journalism.co.uk found out the university is weaving more practical modules into its courses.
Naomi Dunstan teaches the social media trends module to second year BA Journalism students at Cardiff. Her module is optional but it “gets high numbers”, she said.
“The module is not specifically journalism-focused,” Dunstan clarified, however it does get students thinking of new ways to communicate.
Mottershead specialises in data and digital journalism. He explained postgraduate students at Cardiff use mobile devices to capture audio and video, cover live events, livestream and liveblog.
"We have a number of mobile devices available to the students to allow them to report from the field, and these are backed up with microphones including a range of iRig mics.
“We also discuss useful apps for their own devices,” he added.
A similar approach has been adopted by City University London. Tom Felle, lecturer in digital journalism at City, said the journalism department has been "speaking with social editors for the last seven to nine months”, therefore ensuring that the content of the courses taught there is shaped by current trends in the industry.
Felle teaches modules in data journalism, social media and social video, the latter of which involves both filming on mobile and producing videos designed to be watched on mobile. “Old video production wasn’t adapted for it,” he said.
Over time, City will be introducing new modules that embrace the use of mobile phones in journalism, as well as updating existing modules to meet the standards of the industry today. He highlighted "Introduction to digital journalism", a new module first year BA Journalism students will have to take as of this September, as an example.
We also spoke to Marie Kinsey, the joint head of University of Sheffield’s journalism department, where she teaches broadcast journalism to postgraduate students.
“We began teaching mobile journalism a couple of years ago to both undergrads and postgrads and it has become ever more embedded in the curricula on all our applied journalism programmes ever since,” she explained.
Mobile has since become a point of focus at Sheffield. “Our undergrads now work with mobile technology from their first year, right the way through the degree, with some assignments requiring them to submit work shot and edited on mobile – both audio and video.”
Postgraduate students are also expected to use mobile journalism when covering their assigned patch, she added.
However, "we recognise that mobile isn't the answer for every type of journalism," she added. "We still teach more conventional news production too.”
While universities may not necessarily be promoting their mobile journalism training on their official course pages, they are introducing elements of mobile reporting into their courses. The Broadcast Journalism Training Council even requires that mobile reporting skills are taught on accredited courses. But are all students graduating with the mobile reporting skills they need to stand out in the industry?
Are you teaching an innovative journalism course? Get in touch by tweeting us at @journalismnews.
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