Visiting faculty testimonial: Suzanne Franks

Read Erasmus Mundus scholar Suzanne Franks' report on her scholarship visit, which took her from City University London to the University of California, Berkeley.

2014.04.26 | Bettina Andersen

Erasmus Mundus scholar Professor Suzanne Franks, City University London

I was made to feel very welcome by the dean, Ed Wasserman, and his staff and faculty ... I would like to offer my appreciation to both the Erasmus Mundus programme and to the Berkeley Journalism School for making possible this extremely informative, useful and interesting visit. 

I spent two weeks at the Graduate School of Journalism at Berkeley, which coincided with the final two weeks of the Spring semester. It is housed in an attractive building at the edge of the main campus, around a quadrangle, and I was made to feel very welcome by the dean, Ed Wasserman, and his staff and faculty.

During my stay I met a range of students, including the three current Erasmus Mundus visitors who had arrived in March, and I spent a session with them discussing their impressions and observations of Berkeley and the way that the graduate programme is run.

I observed a number of classes and contributed to them. In particular I participated in a three hour law and ethics class, which was of particular interest as there has been extensive debate in the UK on the teaching of ethics to journalism students. 

I observed two separate narrative writing and editing classes. In particular I was really interested to participate in the class run by the writer Adam Hochschild, whose work I was familiar with. He contacted me in advance to describe the format of the class and to send me the writing samples that were being discussed that week. This was most useful and enabled me to prepare thoroughly and also meant I could usefully contribute to the workshop session, feeding back on the drafts which three students presented to the class.

Alan Mutter, who oversees the international and visiting student programme for the school, asked me to deliver a lecture on the phone hacking scandal in the UK and its wider implications for journalism in the wake of the Leveson report to the weekly seminar for international students and fellows. There was an interesting discussion afterwards which highlighted some of the comparative issues facing a democratic press and regulation across the developed world.

I also contributed to a class on Reporting India – which is an area where I have done some research. This is a weekly class in the Spring semester taught by a visiting fellow who is always a journalist from India.

The principal public event I was involved in was to deliver a public early evening lecture and this was open to the faculty and students across the campus, not just the Journalism School. It was hosted by Dean Wasserman and I spoke on Women and Journalism, presenting some of the research and ideas which I have been writing about over the past year and which are published in my recent report for the Reuters Institute at Oxford. The graduate school kindly hosted a reception beforehand, and afterwards there was an extremely lively discussion, especially on the part of the female journalism students. Indeed even after the lecture and Q and A session was over they asked me to stay on and talk in more detail to a group of them about the issues which I had been developing in the lecture. Furthermore, arising from this session I was also asked to do the same thing at the Columbia Journalism School.

Coincidentally I was also able to attend two other events during my stay in Berkeley. The first weekend coincided with the annual 2 day Logan Symposium on Investigative Journalism which attracts journalists and others from across the US. This was a fascinating experience and something I discussed with some of the students afterwards.

There was also a special morning in the final week which was devoted to diversity in journalism. Faculty, staff and students participated in several sessions examining the issue of how reporting can take account of the whole range of diversity issues. Again it was interesting to see these issues from a US perspective and to interact with faculty and students in this context. 

I would like to offer my appreciation to both the Erasmus Mundus programme and to the Berkeley Journalism School for making possible this extremely informative, useful and interesting visit.

Professor Suzanne Franks, City University London, was an Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar at University of California, Berkeley, in April/May 2014.

For Suzanne Franks’ publication on Women & Journalism see here. 

Suzanne Franks is preparing a paper on Women & Journalism for the ECREA conference 2014.

 

 

 

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