AddThis SmartLayers

University scraps journalism course due to ‘decline in numbers’

A university is scrapping its journalism course citing ‘declining numbers’ – despite one publishing boss claiming there is a ‘severe shortage of journalists’ on the patch.

The University of South Wales has announced it will scrap its undergraduate journalism course at the end of the current academic year after almost two decades.

University bosses say the decision was taken due to “a decline in the number of students studying Journalism and Media Studies in the UK.”

But Mark Mansfield, chief executive of Wales-wide independent website Nation.Cymru, had previously written to the Cardiff-based institution to complain of a shortage of young journalists in the country.

The University of South Wales campus in Cardiff

The University of South Wales campus in Cardiff

Nation Cymru’s own news editor, Emily Price, was among those who received her journalism degree from the course.

She said: “This is a body blow for the journalism sector in Wales which is already under immense pressure. The course was far more hands on and practical than the other options at USW which was what attracted me to it when I looked at journalism degrees in Wales.

“The course proved to be a top quality conveyer belt producing many talented journalists who have gone on to enjoy successful careers.

“Prior to getting my degree, I was working as a waitress and applying for the BA Journalism course at USW was the best thing I ever did. I’ll be forever grateful to the hardworking lecturers who helped me achieve my dream.”

Last autumn when it became clear USW bosses were considering axing the course, Mark signed a letter of concern to the university alongside several other Welsh news outlets.

He wrote: “There is currently a severe shortage of journalists in Wales and in particular young, properly trained journalists.

“In the past we have advertised extensively for newly qualified journalists when vacancies have arisen and have been disappointed with the number and calibre of applicants.

“Our news editor has been able to achieve her dream of working as a journalist thanks to the teaching at USW. It would be a tragedy if that opportunity was denied to other aspiring journalists with the closure of the course.”

A spokesperson for USW said: “The decision to close BA Journalism was not taken lightly. Unfortunately, we have not seen sufficient growth in student numbers to provide the rich student experience and culture we strive to achieve.

“This is partly because of a decline in the number of students studying Journalism and Media Studies in the UK, meaning there are not enough potential students, despite the excellence of our staff, students and partnerships.

“Our BA Media, Culture and Journalism, BA Sports Journalism and MA Visual Journalism courses all continue to recruit strongly in a competitive market and we remain committed to provision within this subject area.

“To be clear, the course will remain live for current undergraduate students for the duration of their course and their studies will not be affected.”