Master of Arts in Digital Journalism

Our world is changing dramatically, and so are the skills needed to survive and thrive as a journalist in the 21st century. Globalization, technology and sweeping economic shifts have transformed the media industry. East Africa is at the centre of this revolution. It needs quality journalism that makes itself heard, raises the quality of public debate, empowers citizens to think for themselves and spotlights challenges before they become crises.

We understand the new media landscape. We cultivate the foundational skills and qualities that no journalist or media organization can survive without: ethical, fact-based reporting and innovative storytelling. We are proud to offer this first-of-its-kind MA in Digital Journalism to professionals who are primed to take on the challenge.

We have designed a programme that will equip students with cutting-edge technologies and first-rate instruction. Courses are flexible and dynamic, designed to meet diverse career needs.

We boast an extraordinary faculty both local and international, who have distinguished themselves in their fields of study.

If you seek creativity, critical thinking and professional skills required to lead East Africa’s media in the 21st century, this programme is for you.

 

Alex O. Awiti, PhD
Vice Provost, East Africa & Interim Dean, Graduate School of Media and Communication

Why the MA in Digital Journalism?

  • Learn from the Best

Our faculty members are top scholars and experienced professionals from world-class media organizations. Among them: Nation Media Group, Standard Group, the Financial Times, CNN, BBC, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

  • Get the Individual Attention You Deserve

We keep our classes small, so you get individual attention.

  • Study While You Work

Our flexible format means you can continue working while you study.

  • Acquire New Skills for a New Era

We equip students with the skills the Digital Age demands, as well as the broader perspective required to understand and anticipate the forces reshaping the industry.

  • Build a Solid Foundation

The world changes fast, but some things endure. Accurate reporting and compelling storytelling will always be the foundation of journalistic excellence.

  • Learn by Doing

We blend classroom learning and study with numerous opportunities to practice your skills in the real world of journalistic excellence.

  • Values Matter

We hold ourselves and our students to the highest ethical standards. If you value integrity, independence, innovation, professional excellence and free inquiry, GSMC is for you.

  • Make a Difference

Journalism is a powerful tool for social impact. We will help you to empower citizens with the information they need to make the best possible decisions about their lives, communities, societies and governments.

Content That Sells explores a wide range of reporting and storytelling formats, including new reporting techniques, investigative journalism, feature writing, visual storytelling and long-form and interactive narratives.

Investigation and Analysis focuses on sourcing, investigation and verification strategies for the 21st century. It provides an overview of a range of traditional and contemporary investigation practices used by journalists to research stories and multimedia productions, including a critical introduction to the traditions of interview, observation, data and archival research.

Media Law and Ethics explores key legal and ethical issues relevant to media practice and journalism, including emergent areas of digital regulation.

Past, Present and Future examines the changing media landscape in Africa and globally. By reflecting on the history of journalism, students will come away with a firm grasp of current and future issues and media practice.

Advanced Digital Journalism provides an opportunity for students to work in teams and experiment with new technologies and novel forms of storytelling to build a real-world audience for a new media product or project.

Media Leadership in Action prepares students for responsibilities they will take on during their careers, fostering adaptive leadership skills.

Media Development and Social Impact builds rigorous reporting skills to help journalists respond to social problems. Focusing on the unique issues arising in developing countries, the course helps to re-balance the news so that everyday people can better understand the problems and challenges shaping their lives.

Developing Your Editorial Specialty prepares students for undertaking a specialized reporting project. At the conclusion of this course, students will present a fully researched pitch and proposal for a multiplatform media project to be undertaken in the next semester.

Putting Research into Action exposes students to deeper methodological issues and approaches by introducing them to techniques specific to mass media research that can be applied to journalism.

Specialist Reporting Project prepares students to be specialist reporters who can assume editorial leadership of in-depth, multimedia projects in a particular ‘beat’. This course is conducted in two parts: a production component where students work with a specialist reporter in their nominated field, and a contextual study component where students work with an academic advisor in their chosen specialty. At the conclusion of this course, students will produce a digital portfolio and a critical essay explaining how their work advances public understanding of their topic.

Research Thesis offers the opportunity for students to engage in original research.

The program is delivered at GSMC’s state-of-the-art facility at the 9 West building in Nairobi. GSMC features fully equipped specialist media suites for both television and radio as well as:

  • A television and studio control room with professional software
  • Video “Green Room”
  • Podcast studio
  • “Voice Over” studio
  • Post-production labs equipped with iMacs and the latest editing software
  • Multimedia room with video wall
  • Digital Video and photography cameras (inclusive of drones)
  • A large lecture hall and multiple flexi-classrooms
  • Break-out discussion rooms
  • Fully stocked information resource center and reading spaces
  • Coffee lounge

To be considered for admission, candidates must fulfill one of the following sets of criteria:
1. A four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited/recognized university, with a minimum CGPA of 3.00 (on a four-point scale) or its equivalent. Additionally, a minimum of two years of professional experience in journalism or a related field is required.

2. A four-year undergraduate degree (or equivalent) from an accredited/recognized university with a minimum CGPA of 2.50 or its equivalent will be considered, provided the candidate has a minimum of four years of professional experience in journalism or a related field.

In addition, candidates must demonstrate a clear commitment to journalism and its ethical practice, as well as:

  • Demonstrated academic and intellectual ability
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills in English
  • Basic computer literacy, especially as applied to production techniques in the media
  • Broad knowledge of history and current affairs
  • Relevant work experience as evidenced by a portfolio of work and professional references
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APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Step 1: Advertising

Working in coordination with GSMC, the Office of the Registrar advertises for students to apply to the programme of interest.

Step 2: Application

Applicants submit application to the AKU Registrar’s Office. Apply online: www.aku.edu/admissions/graduate/ma-digital-journalism

Step 3: Initial shortlisting

The Registrar’s Office ensures that the applications received are in order and then submit them to GSMC.  Applicants are then shortlisted based on a review of admission documentation against the minimum university admission criteria set and a shortlist of applicants is developed.

Step 4: Evaluation of the portfolio of work

GSMC selection panel will evaluate the portfolio of work submitted by the applicants and develop a shortlist of applicants based on the quality, duration and relevance of the portfolio submitted.  The portfolio shall have a weighting of no more than 35% in the calculation of the final aggregate score used for admission decisions

Step 5: English language proficiency test

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attempt the English language proficiency test which will include a component of knowledge test and written test

Step 6: Admissions Test

Applicants shortlisted under step 5 above will be invited to attempt the GSMC admissions test.  The test scores shall have a weighting of no more than 40% in the calculation of the final aggregate score used for admission decisions.

Step 7: Interviews

Applicants will then be invited for interview with the selection panel. During the interview, applicant’s publications and curriculum vitae will be probed. The interview scores shall have a weighting of no more than 25% in the calculation of the final aggregate score used for admission decisions.

Step 8: Final selection

Applications are ranked according to an admissions matrix prepared by the Admissions Committee.

Step 9: Offer of admission

The list of selected applicants is submitted for approval by Board of Graduate Studies. On approval, the candidates are offered admission to the programme to which they have applied.

If you have any questions about the application or admissions process, please contact: regoff.ke.gsmc@aku.edu

Apply Now 

Faculty:

This program will be taught by award-winning local and international faculty and distinguished guests, drawn from the industry.

Nancy Booker, PhD

has had an illustrious career as an academic, teacher, researcher and media practitioner with over 18 years teaching and academic administration experience. Dr Booker specializes in broadcast journalism, multimedia storytelling, media management and health communication. She has also been trained in leadership at Harvard. Dr Booker has several peer-reviewed publications in these areas and appears and comments regularly on Kenya media. She is actively engaged with several media organizations to strengthen and professionalize media in East Africa and is a member of several professional and academic organizations. Dr Booker currently serves as a board member in the East African Communication Association.

Sam Kamau, PhD is a media and communications scholar and practitioner with 12 years experience. His teaching and research interests revolve around: political communication, audiences, journalism studies, innovation in media, social media, digital advocacy, media and social impact, among others. A regular conference speaker, Dr Kamau is a common face in many industry and academic conferences, roundtables and panel discussions. He is also a regular guest on local TV and radio shows offering commentary and analysis on contemporary and topical issues.

 

Peter Kimani, PhD is a leading African journalist and author of his generation. He has published three novels, including Dance of the Jakaranda, a New York Times Notable Book of 2017. His fourth book, Nairobi Noir—a fiction anthology excavating the history of Nairobi— is out in 2020 in New York. Dr Kimani has taught at Amherst College and the University of Houston, and he is Chair of the judging panel of the 2019 Caine Prize for African Writing—the continent’s preeminent literary prize and mentorship programme.

Alex O. Awiti, PhD has authored several scholarly articles and technical reports and is the Africa Editor for Environmental Development: The Transdisciplinary Journal of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE). He holds a PhD inEcosystems Ecology from the University of Nairobi and was a postdoctoral fellow with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, New York. He writes widely on public policy issues in education, health, agriculture, energy, water, urbanisation and climate change.

 

Rhonda Breit, LLB, PhD, is a distinguished academic leader, teacher and researcher who specialises in the field of media law, ethics and journalism education. Throughout her 20-year career in academia, she has published widely in high-impact academic journals in the fields of media law, ethics and journalism education. Her sole authored book Professional Communication: Legal and Ethical Issues (2011) has been adopted widely across Australian universities.

 

Andrew Tkach is an eight- time Emmy winner for his documentary films. He has spent more than 25 years filing TV documentaries and news reports from some of the world’s most difficult places. He has been a lead producer at CNN, NBC and CBS, wherehe was the principal longform producer for Christiane Amanpour on 60 Minutes.

 

 

Joseph Odindo is a veteran of Kenyan newsrooms and has served as Editorial Director of the Nation Media Group and, more recently, as editorial director of The Standard Group. He studied at The University of Nairobi and University of Wales, Cardiff, and has also been trained in leadership at Harvard. He currently serves as a visiting lecturer for the graduate journalism programmes.

Our MA in Digital Journalism combines real-life practice with academic rigor to position young and mid-career journalists as leaders in their field. You will develop the knowledge, skills and professional qualities for success at the highest levels of your craft. You will also work with world-renowned journalists and scholars as you blend practice, reflection and theory in your coursework.

The program is taught in state-of-the-art facilities and progressively builds expertise in multi-platform storytelling, specialist reporting and editorial leadership. The culmination of the program will be a specialist-reporting project and research thesis.

By focusing on regional issues and drawing on local and global trends, our graduates will possess the creativity, critical thinking and professional skills required to lead East Africa’s media in the 21st century.

Generous scholarships available.

Tuition: 20,000 USD

WHO SHOULD APPLY?
Young and mid-career journalists and
media professionals
BEGINS JANUARY 2020

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DURATION:
24 months part-time