Journalism students go international to cover COVID-19 story

UCLan undergraduates and postgraduates collaborate with their American and Chinese counterparts for coronavirus project

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) students have joined forces with their counterparts in America and China to collaborate on a coronavirus inspired international learning project.

Around 30 journalism students from UCLan, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) and Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS) are sharing their stories and experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic from across the globe.

This is an international crisis that underscores how interconnected we all are. For journalism it is an opportunity to stretch with content, technology and global awareness.

Coronavirus has brought unprecedented challenges for many and as universities have shut their doors, journalism students are being more creative with finding their stories.

Vivian Martin, Professor and Chair of CCSU’s Department of Journalism, helped to set up the collaboration with the aim of helping the journalism students share their ideas across the pond.

She said: “This is an international crisis that underscores how interconnected we all are. For journalism it is an opportunity to stretch with content, technology and global awareness. I hope we can come up with work that might suggest further collaborations and learning.”

The students are using Zoom, a video conferencing app, in order to connect virtually. It means despite losing the ability to conduct face-to-face interviews, they are still able to discuss their stories and interview each other.

Some of the journalism students taking part in the UK, US and Chinese journalism collaboration.

Journalism students taking part in the collaboration.

Undergraduate Hannah Stobie, who is in the second-year of her journalism degree at UCLan, hopes the collaboration will help her learn about the different responses to the pandemic for her University radio assignment.

“This collaboration is so much more than usual University practice,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity to gain material for us if we have assignments, as well as to make contacts and even friends.”

Angela Fortuna is a CCSU broadcast journalism student and is hoping the collaboration will satisfy her love for travelling.

She said: “Our school was supposed to be going on trips to France and Amsterdam, but they were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. This collaboration is a good way to replace that. It means I can still learn about other places and about how other countries are dealing with COVID-19.”

Susan Newton | 17 April 2020