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New generation of investigative journalists graduate

The first cohort of students has graduated from the Channel 4 MA in Investigative Journalism degree course at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).

CHANNEL4 grads main

Already, nearly half of them have secured jobs with current affairs and news broadcasters – one of them before even completing their course.

Launched in October 2016 as a partnership between Channel 4 and DMU, the first students graduated on Thursday at a ceremony attended by Dorothy Byrne, Head of Channel 4 News and Current Affairs.

“I wanted to cry,” she said. “It was so exciting to see a group of students who I know have worked so hard gain this wonderful achievement.

“I’ve said to them that we at Channel 4 will continue to support them and get them opportunities in the world of broadcast journalism.

“At Channel 4 we are really committed to bringing in people from different backgrounds and it was marvellous to see that with this group.”

The diversity of the students has been continued through into the second intake for the MA at DMU, which has expanded to a group of 13.

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Three of the inaugural intake of seven students now have jobs in the field of investigative journalism and another is on the verge of being taken on following job interviews.

Single mum Anira Khokhar, 36, gained her MA while juggling the strains of bringing up her son Xaviar, now aged four, and ongoing court hearings following her divorce.

“Coming from the Asian community and being divorced, everything I did was frowned upon by some, and the idea of then coming to do a Master’s just made things harder,” she said.

“There were times when my son came to lessons with me and my tutors at DMU were so supportive; I can’t thank them enough. There were difficult times and because of everything I have been through, today’s graduation means so much to me.

“This MA has given me that extra qualification that I needed and what I have learned in the process has been phenomenal; all the ethics, legal compliances as well as technical skills.

“What I’ve achieved has become a little inspirational to people in my community, changing a mindset – I’ve got a friend who has now started an MA as well.”

Anira is working on several initial projects for local TV channels that delve into the complex world of extremism.

For Liam Connell, an initial work experience placement during the course led to a job with Hardcash Productions where he has been working since last summer as a researcher for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.

His role involves tracking people down, finding company information, researching deleted websites and deleted tweets, and helping to set up undercover filming.

“There’s not much more you could ask for, having completed my MA in Investigative Journalism, than to be employed working for the Dispatches programme,” said the 23-year-old.

Course leader Dr Richard Danbury added: “We took the experience from Channel 4 of investigative journalism and put it into a university setting, with the strong support of DMU’s existing journalism teaching staff.

“It’s been a bit nerve-wracking taking students and teaching them to throw stones at hornets’ nests, but we’re very pleased to be providing the industry with what it really needs, and it’s very pleasing to congratulate our first cohort on their achievements.”

Posted on Wednesday 31st January 2018

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