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Journalism Course Gives Belfast Met Students a Sporting Chance

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Published: 25 November 2022

Sport is really booming at Belfast Met with its OCN NI level 3 Sports Journalism students already making their mark on the industry. Student Ian Gordon has already had a match report published in the News Letter on the Dundela versus Knockbreada game.

Ian said: “The Sports Journalism programme here at the Met is fantastic because of the vocational training we receive ‘on the job’. This course is not about getting journalism skills from a book or website - the college provides opportunities to cover games and I’m already reaping the benefits of the course by getting published.”

The unique OCN course in Sports Journalism was launched in 2019 and was the first vocational course of its kind in Northern Ireland. The college has developed partnerships with Crusaders FC in Belfast and Lamh Dhearg GFC in Hannahstown.

Students have been putting their filming and interview techniques to the test at Lamh Dhearg by filming an interview with club chairman Peter Kane and completing ‘pieces to camera’ on the history of the club.

They have also visited Seaview, home of Crusaders, to report on various matches, most recently interviewing club manager Stephen Baxter, as well as the visiting Ballymena United manager David Jeffrey and other players from both teams.

Course co-ordinator Dr John Coulter said: “This course in sports journalism is not about ‘lets pretend’. The skills and techniques which the students acquire are completed through real life situations, such as club visits and reporting on team games.

“The course revolves around key units - law, ethics, grammatical presentation, research and interview techniques as well as editing and multi-platform skills. We aim to produce legally sound and vocationally competent sports reporters.

“As well as field trips, the students have the opportunities to train in our state of the art TV and audio facilities at the Belfast Met Film and Television School located at the e3 Studios on Belfast’s Springfield Road.”

Sports journalism lecturer Dr Tommy Scott said:
“The Level 3 course offers a hands on experience via real-world projects. We like to get the students out of the classroom and working at sporting events as soon as possible.

“While theory is also a crucial element in our programme, there is no substitute for hands on experience, and so far this year, our students are thriving and enjoying the work.”

Alan Serplus, the Curriculum Area Manager responsible for sports journalism said: “A major part of the secret of the success of the sports journalism programme is not just the excellent facilities here at the College and the real life learning experience, but also the expertise which our staff integrate into the curriculum.

“For example, in sports journalism, Dr Tommy Scott is an experienced lecturer across a range of media production courses at the College and comes with industry expertise. Dr Coulter has clocked up over 40 years in journalism. This invaluable experience and skills are being passed on to the students.”

Ian McCormick, Head of the School of Creative and Digital Industries, said: “The success of our sports journalism programme mirrors the excellent reputation which Belfast Met has acquired in journalism training, which dates back to the mid 1960s when the Met was known as the College of Business Studies.

“The OCN NI Sports Journalism qualifications are just one of a number of journalist and digital media training programmes which the Met now offers and more are in the planning process. In the days ahead, Belfast Met will be a really exciting place for sports journalism training.”

Read the match report here

Find out more about Sports Journalism at Belfast Met

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