A new course from Oxford University and the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) will help journalists get right to the heart of stories that deal with migration and its effects, and avoid errors in reporting. The free course, on the NCTJ website, was launched with input from Dr Donna Smith, Senior Lecturer and Staff Tutor in Politics at The Open University.
Migration affects almost every area of British public life, and is a common theme in British news reporting. The complexity of the issue means that journalists can easily fall into avoidable traps - repeating inaccurate tropes, misunderstanding data, failing to recognise important trade-offs or see the whole story. This course will help working and student journalists avoid errors and get right to the heart of stories that deal with migration and its effects, whatever their perspective or area of work.
Oxford University’s Migration Observatory contacted Donna for her expertise after seeing the ‘Media, Politics, and Society’ short course which she chairs. Her main role was as consultant for the project, which is funded by an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Impact Acceleration Award, as well as providing advice on course design and content from an online and distance learning perspective, sense-checking content and helping to design learning activities.
Donna commented on her involvement in the project; “It’s been great to find a new collaborator – we hope we can build on this even more in the future, alongside the current research.
"I have long been interested in the relationship between the media and politics, going back to my PhD studies, as well as how education can improve understanding of politics and how to create change. The next stage is to examine the impact of the course on participants and further consider whether it is possible to improve media journalism without taking an advocacy approach.”