Postgraduate Lives: 'The facilities at Falmouth are incredible'

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The Independent Online

Alex Partridge, 23, started an MA in multimedia broadcast journalism at University College Falmouth. Partridge graduated in politics from the University of East Anglia in Norwich in 2009.

What attracted you to do this type of course?

I did three years' student radio when I was at Norwich, mainly sports chat, and that convinced me that I wanted to go into radio or television. In the summer after I graduated, I did some work experience at Anglia TV in Norwich – largely fetching cups of tea and making sure people didn't walk into shot behind live cameras. It was then that I realised that pretty much everyone aged under 35 had done a course like this. It seems like the only way into the business.

Why Falmouth?

In January this year, I finally decided on a postgrad course, so I did a bit of research. I quickly realised that fees and living costs in London were too expensive, and it soon came down to Falmouth or Cardiff. The thing that sold this course to me was the project that you do at the end of the third year: 20-minute radio or TV documentary about a subject of your choice. It might be the only chance you will ever get to do that.

Now you're there, do you like it?

It's fantastic. The facilities are incredible. Lots of money has been spent, and they're better than some professional studios.

What have you done so far?

On the third day here, we were sent out in Falmouth with microphones doing vox-pops with people in the street about local issues, which went quite well because people round here are easily engaged about things that affect them. Then, in the third week, we put together a radio news bulletin in the studio ourselves. Later this term, we are going to start doing television. However, the first term here is more heavily weighted on the theoretical side, doing stuff like media law and impartiality. In the second term, we'll be doing much more of it for real.

Is it hard work?

Yes, I'm at college 9am to 5pm most days and it's really full-on; a lot different from three lectures a week in my first degree! There are only 20 of us spread across my course and the parallel one in international journalism, so we get a really good level of attention from the lecturers, and build up a rapport with them. Very quickly everyone has got to know each other. The first week we went out socialising in the evenings, but we were heading home at about 11pm, which is not generally what young people do at university!

What about the funding?

The fees here are about £4,200, which is money I have had to find myself. I managed to save a bit during my year working between university and here, but most of it is being paid for by loans.

What are you aiming at when you finish?

I don't think it makes sense to imagine you'll be presenting the Today programme any time soon. And it doesn't pay to be picky in this business. One of the things about this course is that it prepares you for a range of jobs, not just journalism ones, so I'll know how to edit video and sound, for example and use cameras. But at this stage I really don't know where I'll end up.

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