pulp and pith … current affairs blog

Postgrad journalism course checklist: financial support

Posted on: February 16, 2009

Friends, I tried to fit my postgrad journalism course checklist into one blog post – and failed. So consider this the first in a series of posts about what kind of things student-journos-in-waiting, like my good self, should be looking out for.

Currently finessing my own course applications now, so I can’t say that this advice is tried and tested, but it comes from somebody who is currently trudging through it all. So if nothing else it’s up-to-date.

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

If lack of money is proving to be an obstacle on the road to Pulitzer Prize-winning, Times-editing, 24-hour Twittering domination of the media universe, get some solid financial support to see you through your chosen postgrad journalism course.

Funding opportunities are scarce, and competition is fierce, but like they say on the Lottery ads, you’ve got to be in it to win it. Stick your fingers into all the relevant pies, and with a bit of luck, you’ll get the help you need.

Firstly, explore your chosen university, college or training centre’s website, or call up their admissions secretary, and ask them about what they can offer you by way of funding. Some offer in-house studentships or bursaries, and most of the top postgrad courses have links to industry-run bursaries…  such as…

The Scott Trust, which is linked to the Guardian Media Group (GMG). These guys have 10 bursaries up for grabs, across broadcast, print and online journalism, for courses at many of the top universities. Guardianistas take note: these bursaries come with work experience. The more computer-savvy among you might also be interested in their technology bursaries.

The BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme is incredibly well-respected, and apparently has great scope if you are interested in online journalism, as well as broadcast journalism. The next intake of trainees will be in September 2009.

The Journalism Diversity Fund
, which is funded by The Scott Trust but managed by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), is for prospective students who are from socially or ethnically diverse backgrounds. These bursaries aim to help the media industry reflect the society they are supposed to represent by encouraging students from different walks of life to take to the profession.

Similarly, The George Viner Memorial Fund, which is run by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), awards funding to British Black or Asian students looking to train in broadcast, photo- or print journalism.

Wade through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) site and you could find out how to gain funding under the Professional Preparation Masters Scheme. Their website is literally hellish, so set aside some time to work it out. You deserve a grant for deciphering it!

If free money ain’t falling upon you like manna from heaven, despair ye not. Try a Career Development Loan, courtesy of the Government – guaranteed to be at least as extortionate as your student loan. These are designed for postgrads, so should be more sympathetic to student needs (more cider!) than your bog-standard bank loan.

If you’ve got some free time on your hands, approach the editor of your local newspaper/mastermind of a popular website/producer of a TV show/radio show producer or programme controller, and make him or her an offer they can’t refuse – ‘you pay for my training, I’ll become an asset to your team!’ In the current financial climate it’s not likely you’ll have much luck, but that’s how folk used to do it in the olden days, I do hear tell. The worst you’ll come away with is a pat on the back for being so damned cheeky and perhaps some work experience.

Finally, you could take a year out, live at home , get a job, and do some earnin’ before you start learnin’… it’s just a suggestion…

Got any top funding tips?

NEXT ON THE CHECKLIST: TALKIN’ BOUT THEIR REPUTATION

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