When political unrest in her native Thailand caused social unrest, Punsita Ritthikarn discovered her calling: using the media to promote human rights and civil society. This prompted her to pursue an MSc in Media, Communications and International Journalism at the University of Glasgow. In this program she prepared to be a contemporary political reporter and honed and polished her critical thinking and editorial skills as a writer.
“The university’s journalism program demonstrated the role of modern media in building public understanding. It helped me understand how western media do their reporting on developing countries,” says Ritthikarn.
Students like Ritthikarn are discovering more powerful aspects of the fourth estate in their program. Interest groups from left and right can influence an editor’s decision whether or not to cover certain events, and in turn influence public opinion. But news agencies can just as well give a voice to the voiceless, from marginalized groups in third world countries or invisible victims of discrimination and violence.
Courses such as the MSc Media, Communications and International Journalism familiarize students with these intricacies through their hands-on approach. For Ritthikarn, her two-month summer internship BK Magazine taught her to become proficient in practical magazine journalism. This includes copywriting, audience research, proofreading and digital photography.
“My last article with BK The title “Illustrator challenges rape culture in Thailand” encouraged me to delve into political journalism and write more socially sensitive stories,” she says.
Ritthikarn spent another three months at the daily newspaper, Khaosod English, where she examined the role of digital media in society and produced tough news – the kind that analyzes global trends and international affairs. Here she learned to deal with criticism of her work and adapted her writing style.
These experiences would come in handy later in her career. The graduate later wrote for online media platforms campaigning for racial equality. In addition, she collaborated with other authors to publish digital journals such as Express, The new feminist and match this amplified the silent voices of marginalized people who face discrimination.
For Lena Brandesova from the Czech Republic, her MSc Political Communication was as multidisciplinary as it was experiential. “Politics doesn’t exist in a vacuum, so I liked the combination of subjects in this field with media studies, psychology and international relations, and the combination of political actors with government, civil society and regulators,” she says.
For the compulsory exams in the Media and Democracy course, she was encouraged to engage with real-life materials developed for the recent elections in her home country. “This has helped me become much more sensitive to the language, style and tone that politicians and political parties can choose to address their audiences and the media, and that go beyond simple word choice and literal meaning,” she says .
Two months before graduating from the University of Glasgow, Brandesova was hired by a public affairs agency based in Edinburgh in a junior management position. In just one year, she was promoted and given additional responsibility for client portfolios. “Since then I have developed relationships with clients working in various sectors and now regularly advise on issues related to the UK and Scotland’s transition to net zero economies, as well as education policy or technology,” she says.
The University of Glasgow offers a wide range of programs that allow students to explore their interest and passion in the field of communications: Digital Society MSc, Media, Culture & Society MSc, Media, Communications and International Journalism MSc and Political Communication MSc as well an Environment, Culture & Communication MLitt on the Dumfries campus in southern Scotland. All programs ensure that students gain a deep understanding of how their sub-discipline works and how they can apply what they have learned to a variety of opportunities in the job market.
At the same time, the students have the perfect environment for future media and communication experts. Step inside the Glasgow University Media Group and you’ll discover staff and students conducting innovative sociological research examining the impact of media content on public understanding and belief.
Research to date includes content analysis and media focus groups. His methods have been applied in various areas of the social sciences and by researchers in areas such as health behavior, mental health, discrimination, climate change and other areas of social policy.
The research topics of the Social and Digital Change group focus on the connections between contemporary digital and social worlds. This includes questions of how people can access the processes of knowledge production in the media, science and culture and how transparent knowledge production is.
Glasgow is also a center for the media industry in Scotland. The country is home to the headquarters of BBC Scotland, STV and a wide range of major press titles including The Herald and The Daily Record.
The University of Glasgow is among the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023 and is among the top 100 for Communication and Media Studies (QS World University Rankings By Subject 2022). The research institution was also named Scottish University of the Year in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
Look beyond these rankings and discover a diverse student community and faculty from over 140 countries. You will learn what it’s like to tackle global issues by discussing them in a multicultural setting.
Brandesova can confirm this. “It’s no secret that the University of Glasgow has a fantastic academic reputation and internationally recognized high-quality research, but that was only part of my decision to study there,” she says. “I wanted to experience an open, supportive but thought-provoking environment and the university ticked all the boxes. The University of Glasgow also has a vibrant international community and I knew I would feel right at home.”
Find out more about the University of Glasgow’s Media and Communications postgraduate programs and how to take a critical look at the power of media and communications.
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