Bachelor of Arts in Journalism

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Bachelor of Arts in Journalism

Launched in 1999, BA Journalism is a three and a half year program for aspiring journalists hoping to gain expertise, with a focus on challenges and opportunities in the industry. Graduates emerge with a strong subject-matter grounding that enables them to situate news events in their larger context, to ask more informed questions, and to authoritatively evaluate claims made by sources. During the application process, candidates select to major in one of three concentration areas: broadcast media, print media or public relations.

The program has contributed in establishing a paradigm shift in the regional news reporting especially on television with our alumni renowned for investigative journalism. We have also penetrated the print media industry with our alumni being awarded for their exemplary work. We have an emerging class of students who have penetrated television production in the market with our own internal program of film production which has culminated to the now well publicized film pilot Usoni.

In public relations, we are proud that our alumni have been established as providing a competitive edge to existing PR bodies and their entry into the market has established them as skilled professionals in the field. Our students are renowned actors and actresses, radio personalities in the thriving entertainment market in Kenya.

Admissions

a) Application Information

Requirements for Applicants from Secondary Schools or High Schools
Admission to undergraduate degree programs are based on academic achievement at the secondary school level. These include Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) scores of C+ and above, five (5) credits in any five (5) subjects at the Kenya Certificate of Education (KCE) or East Africa Certificate of Education (EACE).

b) Requirements for Secondary/High School Graduation and Equivalent/ U.S. or International Applicants

High school graduation is required for admission to USIU. High school or secondary school students must submit an official transcript of records showing date of graduation. USIU recognizes two equivalent ways of meeting the graduation requirement: General Educational Development (GED) certificate (applicant must have a minimum score of 45 on each of the five sections and an overall score of 250 or higher) or State High School Proficiency Examination (applicant must pass this examination).

c) Secondary/High School Applicant Test Scores:

First time freshmen U.S. citizens/permanent residents must submit their SAT or ACT results. The results are evaluated in conjunction with the high school grade point average.

d) International Applicants:

International applicants are considered for admission on the same basis as local applicants but must also demonstrate English proficiency. All students for whom English is not a first language are required to show English proficiency before beginning an academic program.

e) English Language Proficiency:

All international students must provide evidence of English language proficiency.

  • Undergraduate applicants must have a score of 550 or higher (213 computer based) on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
  • Applicants may also submit results of the Cambridge Test of English Proficiency. A grade of C or better is required
  • Students from countries where English is the official language will be exempt from the USIU English proficiency requirement unless their academic performance at USIU reveals the need for additional English language study.

Academic performance at USIU may reveal the necessity for further English language study by a student. The University reserves the right to make the final determination of a student's English proficiency level in all cases.

Future Careers

Where can a Journalism degree take you?

Print: Work in the newspaper and magazine industry as news editors, managing editors, staff writers, reporters, designers and correspondence and photojournalists and online content managers

Broadcast: Work as producers, directors, script writers, editors, production management, actors, news anchors, broadcast journalists, news editors, radio presenters, music directors, program directors, production managers, sales and marketing officers, commercial production for radio

Public Relations – Work as Public relations officers, strategic communication managers, publicists, external & internal relations officers, graphic designers, protocol officers, advertising account managers, copy writers, art directors, and market and communication research officers, advertising production directors, PR and advertising campaign management, event organization, speech writers.

Resources

a) The TV Studio

The TV Studio is where students practice their various TV technical operations such as; Camera Techniques, Lighting Techniques, News Anchoring using the Autocue, Directing Techniques, Vision/Sound Mixing and TV transmission. The services offered in this area encompasses setting up the area to facilitate the instruction of the afore mentioned technical operations as well as assisting students to learn how to use the various equipment available to achieve and acquire the necessary skills, knowledge and experience in operating them.
Of importance, students can book for equipment by sending an email to any of the radio and television studio technicians on the following email addresses:

a) zodera@usiu.ac.ke / ext. 514 – Zerubabbel Odera (Television Studio Technician)
b) wkidula@usiu.ac.ke / ext. 462 – Wilfred Kidula (Radio Studio Technician)

Students book and carry equipment for their use and return upon completion. This is to ensure responsibility and equality is the utilization of the equipment. At the TV studio we have the following services that are offered:
Instructing students on how to use the video cameras and still cameras; instructing students on how to use the red head and white lights and instructing students on how to use sound equipment.

Students who go through these basic instructions of studio equipment maintenance and operation have to take introductory broadcast classes such as Introduction to Broadcast Media – JRN 1105 and Radio Production 1 – JRN 3321, so as to be well equipped with the technical operation of a location camera, studio camera, teleprompter, lighting for studio and location, use of boom microphone, location sound equipment and techniques of making a program. During the Pre- production and production, students are expected to move to the third stage that’s Post Production/ editing of the final project/program.

The Video Editing Suites

The editing suites have several iMac computers which have been installed Final Cut Pro 7, Final Cut Pro X and Adobe CS6 which are used by the students for video editing, gazette and sauti production, editing of photos and website designing. Services provided to students at the editing suites include:

i) Instructing students on how to use Final Cut Pro editing software and any other supporting software such as soundtrack pro and motion.

ii) Instructing students on how to use Adobe Creative Suite 6 software that has different packages such as Adobe premiere pro, in-design, audition, dreamweaver, after effects, and photoshop.

Again the radio and television studio technicians will be there to assist students by training them on how to use these software’s. They can be reached on extension 462 or 514.

b) Radio Studios

USIU Radio has two studios; On-air Radio and Recording Studio.
In the On-air Radio, Students present as News anchors, Show hosts, DJs and producers. Presenters are available from 0800Hrs to 2100hrs.From 2100Hrs to 0800Hrs, DJ mixes and playlists play. This makes USIU 99.9FM a 24 hour Radio Station. Here, students come up with proposals for various programs to be aired live or recorded. In the On-Air Studio, students come to practice studio technical operations such as; On-Air presentations skills, sound Mixing Technique microphone Use and Handling, how to use On-Air Automation Software, how to use On-Air Telephony, Learn how to use On-Air SMS Service and how to use the On-Air Sound Console. The services offered in this area are to expose students to the real world of radio by operating a Radio Station. Students get to experience the real radio environment which gives them unmatched technical capabilities to go about radio production techniques and skills.

In the Recording Studio, Students get to produce programs, Station Ids, Station promos, News demos, preparation of Jingles, Radio drops, and other commercials/adverts. Here, students are instructed on the basics of studio operations ranging from setting up for recording, microphone positioning, use and handling. The students are also taught the Audio mixer and how to control the several channels while using different sources of sound. They are also taught on the functions of recording software such as Adobe Audition. This is where students are oriented on the basics of radio, allowing them have a lot of practical knowhow even before being admitted to the live studio. They get to do voice testing and auditions as well as program demos to properly align them to what is required.

There is also a Radio Production Room, where the Technicians get to listen through programs in the On-air studio in order to do proper adjustments to presentations done by students. Students also get to use the production room to prepare for their programs by arranging their playlists and do final touches to their presentations.
Any Student or Staff of USIU is allowed to present in the Radio Studio. One will undergo training on proposal writing, orientation and mentoring.
Content for the Radio Studio is sourced by the respective host, usually from the Content Creation room, and the checked by the Production team. The Radio and Television Studio Technician together with the Production team then offer censorship where required.

Internships

The program requires that students have a 3 month long experience with media houses, PR firms, advertising firms and any organization that has journalism related departments. Students are expected to exhibit the knowledge silks and attitude required to be a functional communication employee in those organizations. These internships are taken towards the end of the program and are expected to write an inception report and a completion report under the supervision of a faculty member and the industry expert

Alumni Testimonials

Graduates of the USIU journalism program are some of the leading journalists in Kenya today and can be found in the country’s top media houses. Among them are KTN’s John Allan Namu, a 2009 CNN African Journalist of The Year. John is an accomplished investigative reporter. Others in the electronic (TV) media include Cynthia Nyamai (formerly a business reporter with KTN), Aeleen Kinyanjui (formerly of NTV), Merceline Moraa Maroma and Lorna Gitundu and Andrew Ochieng (NTV), Christine Nderitu, Shem Oluchiri & Joel Chacha formerly of KTN.

A number of local FM stations are also staffed by USIU journalism faculty alumni, including Nick Ndeda, and Katherine Kaittany of Hot 96 FM, Tulanana Bohela of BBC, Gerphas Odipo (Hope FM), Kamau Mbote – KBC, Charmaine Mwenesi of Radio Africa, Agnes Barasa and Sheila Kamande formerly of Kiss FM.

The Journalism Program has also had an impact in PR and print. Some of its alumni include Adelaide Changole a sub-editor with the Standard Group, Lola Okulo of The Star newspaper, Amanda Gicharu, a Media Consultant with UNDP, Wangui Ireqi, an Editor with Jetlink Inflight Magazine and Gladys Moru of Ministry of information and Communication among many others.

Zeynab Wandati - “After my graduation on August 21st 2010, I started off my journalism career with an internship in September at Citizen TV, which lasted four months. By March 2011, I had joined Nation Media Group, for a one year training program called the Media Lab, and by the end of the year I was at NTV. Today, I report for NTV Business, with a keen interest in agriculture. I am grateful to USIU for shaping me into the journalist I am today, especially when it comes to ethics and code of conduct of the profession.”

Chris Sang – “The freedom and support I got from USIU and its staff and faculty to pursue my interests in film and T.V production inspired me to go ahead and start my own production company. Now I work as a freelancer in the Film and T.V industry as well as running my own production company.”

Carlos Muriithi - Correspondent -- 'Sunday Nation', Nation Media Group “USIU education prepared me for a career in journalism and beyond. It equipped me with relevant skills and it helped shape my ideas. In addition, it taught me how to confidently face the outside world.”

Student Activities

The Journalism program encourages students to get involved in a student organization such as the journalism club, public speaking to enhance their skills. However, within the program, the students will work pro bono for other departments in the school in production of videos for school events such as Mr & Miss USIU, student awards, culture week, black history month, and any other as requested by other interested parties. They also are selected at most times to take part in MC roles, DJ roles, support of PR and publicity persons for university events. Besides, the department has established an internal film internship program that recruits students to participate in project based film production activities. In a bid to combine theory and practice, faculty has embarked on a curriculum that encourages students to submit practical projects as part of their grades. Ideally, per semester, students develop documentaries, news features, and present work in photography and participate in mock PR event organization that is consumed by the USIU fraternity. Students are encouraged in their senior project course to create a portfolio based on the area of journalism they are passionate about. Over the years, some of these items in their portfolios include autobiographical books, organization of media ethics conference, organization of lifestyle events, video production on issue of their choice and photo galleries. The journalism program operate the USIU-Africa 99.9 FM station which is student ran with full administration and has programming that runs from Monday to Sunday and has a listenership that is 5kms radius from the institution.

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