International Multimedia Journalism
In 2010, a Master of Arts in International Multimedia Journalism was opened at the University of Beijing. Not strictly speaking a photo school, the program caters to post-graduate students and is the only such course in China to be taught in English. The project stems from a novel collaboration between the University of Beijing and the University of Bolton, UK, and surfs on two major trends: the shift from the West to Asia in global affairs, and the metamorphoses taking place in the field of journalism.
Course leader DJ Clark explains that the purpose of the course is to get the students to “work outside of their comfort zone, where they’re not used to the language”. International journalism it is. During the first of the three sections of the course, students attend intensive lectures from faculty and guest professionals, covering the changing structure and trends of the global media economy; they develop their skills working with all core media formats (print, radio, TV, Web); and they receive advice and insider information on how to deal with fixers, know their risks, and get their story safely. Strange maybe, but safety is a central preoccupation of the program – a fact which can be linked to the increasing use of journalists as targets in many tension zones of the world.
The second section of the course is dedicated to practical, personal projects, continuity being ensured by a virtual work environment. On this occasion, students travel around China and other parts of Asia in search of their stories. The third section of the course involves working with companies or NGOs on specific assignments. Of the first bulk of graduates, two were awarded 2nd and 3rd prize in the Dali International Multimedia Awards.
The course lasts one year, during which the studenst appreciate the enriching multicultural environment – half of the program participants are Chinese nationals, while the other half come from all five continents. The course is quite expensive, although low living expenses in Beijing may balance out the costs. The tuition fee for 2012 is set at £6000, and students are required to bring their own professional-grade equipment for all studied media.