The European Humanities University, the Belarusian University in exile,
located in Vilnius, Lithunia, is blessed with an Emedia Hub, an impressive media complex comprising fully equipped multimedia facilities dedicated to teaching contemporary journalistic practice, including a state of the art radio and TV studio, voice recording booth, and Mac computer lab. The Emediahub was set up as part of the EU funded, “Media Education for Democracy” Project (April 2010 – October 2012), run by IREX Europe.
The following is an interview from Jillian Hocking, who helped to establish a modern media and communications education curriculum at the university. Ms. Hocking continues working at the EHU as a visiting lecturer:
"As a teacher of journalism, this is a dream, and I embraced the opportunity to deliver a three week, practically focused, “learn by doing” course, a teaching methodology I strongly believe in. I was fortunate to be given a degree of freedom to teach what I felt was needed. After our first class, ascertaining what the students had already learnt in their studies and were still to learn, I decided to deliver a crash course focusing on online journalism production. In week one, students completed their own professional websites using the computer program Wix. They hadn’t produced websites before and undertook the task with gusto. Their websites form the basis of their electronic resumes to be utilised once the students complete their media studies, featuring examples of their practical radio, audio, video, and photo journalism assignments. Some students also took the opportunity to develop websites for businesses they were planning to
establish once their studies were finished.
In the second week students completed a 2 to 4 minute digital story,
utilising photo montage, music, and journalistic narrative. Digital story
telling forms the foundation of independent journalism, encouraging students to find their own stories and through the production process, analyse and critique that story. The students were embarking on citizen journalism for social good, utilising their iPhones, iPads and other portable digital devices to research, interview, edit and compile their stories.
Ideas varied from a moving story about a student’s grandmother leaving her traditional village life in rural Belarus; the animal shelter in Vilnius; the healing qualities of the sea; and an insight into the life of a homeless man who’s a fixture on the streets of Vilnius. My aim in teaching digital storytelling is to encourage students to understand the nexus between questioning at a grass roots level, reflecting on the role of governments in civil society and public policy.
In the final week students researched, produced, multi-tracked and voiced a short radio feature (4 to 7 minutes) on a topic of their choice. Each feature had to include a variety of audio elements including music, vox pops, an interview, and scripted narrative. The variety of story ideas was once again impressive, from urban street art to the delights of snow, to separated Belarusian families, to how to cook paella.
Only at the EHU have I had the opportunity to discuss with students about Russian writers and composers; street art and contemporary theatre; protests and civil discourse; communism, socialism, Marx, the global financial crisis, and the future of capitalism. The EHU offers a unique learning environment, being fearless in its endeavours to offer dynamic, contemporary teaching practice. An experience that for me remains truly treasured.”
Videos by participants
Urban Portraits - in Russian
The Taste and Smell of Istanbul - In English
The treasure of El Pinos - in Catalan with English subtitles