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No practical courses for International Students of Mass Communication

Heikki Hellman promises better courses for next year

Essays and book exams. These are what await naïve international journalism and media exchange and master’s students who’ve come to UTA, Finland’s ‘home of journalism studies’. World-class teaching quality and the relevance of courses such ‘Internet Governance’ aside, shouldn’t the Journalism and Mass Communication staff be teaching us how to do journalism?

The School of Communication, Media and Theatre (CMT) states on its page: “Journalists’ training imparts up-to-date knowledge and skills for working with the press, in radio, television, net media and photojournalism". What the description, written in English, fails to say is: “if you are fluent in Finnish".



Truth said, only three ‘journalism’ courses in English were organized by CMT in 2011-2012. Incidentally, two of the three were 6- and 10-day intensive courses taught by visiting professors. None addressed vocational aspects of journalism.

“I was expecting a master’s degree would also give me some professional training", says UTA master’s student of Journalism and Mass Communication, Francesca Viscido.

CMT Dean Prof. Heikki Hellman commented that “practical journalism has never been our focus" for international students. He admits, “We haven’t done well this year but will do better next year".

UTA was the first university in Nordic Europe to introduce journalism as a discipline for higher education in 1925. While UTA continues to attract international media students from the four corners of the globe, if not with its legacy then with what is posted on the CMT webpage, one canÂ’t help but wonder: Is this a case of false advertising or of deliberate discouragement of professional training for international students?



Tania Anderson

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