DMU trains next generation of investigative journalists

Six years on from its inception, De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) Investigative Journalism MA, in partnership with Channel 4, continues to launch the careers of graduates.

Class of 2022

The latest cohort of alumni, who graduated in January, are already making moves in the industry.

Awarded the ‘best student’ prize at his graduation, Gabriele Gatti landed a job as a specialist researcher on a landmark documentary series for Channel 5 before even completing his MA.

He was promoted to assistant producer just six months in, and was involved in everything from research and tracking down interviewees to working with two editors on the post-production.

“It was my first time approaching this subject and I really got to experience what the industry is like in the UK. I had to learn a lot very fast and it was great,” said the 25-year-old from Italy.

Gabriele Gatti working on location

Before embarking on DMU’s MA, Gabriele was working as a freelance reporter in his home country and across the Balkans, covering varied topics from economics to migration.

He said: “I was pretty confident I wanted to stay in this industry and the MA gave me the chance to specialise. It put me in contact with experienced journalists and other experts, and the professionals who taught us took a very practical approach to showing us what’s really needed to succeed.”

Gabriele is currently collaborating with an investigative organisation based in the Netherlands, while searching for his next TV job.

After leaving a career in midwifery, Laura Conder decided to pursue her passion for journalism by embarking on an undergraduate degree in 2017. Finishing with a First gave her the confidence to apply to DMU’s Investigative Journalism MA.

Laura Conder at her graduation, pictured with red hair

She’s now a reporter for her local newspaper, Bedfordshire Live. “It’s great to be reporting on stuff I know and am passionate about,” said the 32-year-old from Luton.

“I’ve even had the chance to work on big stories picked up by the nationals. Recently I covered the live court case for Carson Grimes, who featured on Channel 4’s ’24 Hours in Police Custody’.”

Furthering her education was a big decision for the mum-of-three, but one she doesn’t regret.

She said: “DMU’s MA has given me so much experience and extra knowledge I wouldn’t have had without it. The tutors do amazing work and are so supportive.

“Learning to be confident on camera and doing Facebook livestreams at the drop of a hat is fundamental for what I do now. I’m hoping everything I’ve learned will help me to move into TV and radio soon.”

Naj Modak crossing the stage at his graduation ceremony

With a background in journalism, including a postgraduate qualification and stints as a broadcast journalist and researcher for television and radio, Naj Modak spent the last 20 years working in PR and communications, while also building an impressive portfolio as an actor over the past decade.

He missed journalism, and despite keeping himself trained and skilled over the years by producing content for a number of outlets, securing a full-time position proved challenging, so he decided to enrol on DMU’s MA.

“The teaching is out of this world from every single tutor involved and the content is first class. Even with most of it being online due to the pandemic, it was like getting one-to-one tuition and you didn’t feel like you missed out,” said the 44-year-old from Scunthorpe.

With a newfound confidence and encouragement from his tutors, Naj applied for and landed a role as a reporter for BBC Radio Humberside three months before graduating.

He said: “In 2018 I did a lot of filming and recording around northern Lincolnshire, some of which I submitted to BBC Radio Humberside’s culture show, earning me the nickname ‘Mr Scunthorpe’. So, when I saw this role come up I had to pinch myself as it was like I’d written the description myself.

“I’m really happy to be doing what I love and I’m really grateful to my tutors who pushed me so hard and knew exactly what I needed and when.”

Endorsed by and developed with the national broadcaster, DMU’s Investigative Journalism MA teaches students how to identify, pitch, research and film investigative stories.

Delivered by industry experts - including the MA’s honorary visiting professor Louisa Compton, who is Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 – it covers practical filming and editing skills, as well as other crucial skills such as in-depth research, unpicking financial information, working undercover and understanding media law.

Posted on Thursday 17 February 2022

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