Universities are broadening their efforts to find work experience for students by helping to run the UK’s new crop of local television stations.
Scottish broadcaster STV won the licence for a new Glasgow station in mid- January, and a key part of its bid was that journalism students at Glasgow Caledonian University would contribute their work to the programmes.
Julian Calvert, senior lecturer in journalism at Glasgow Caledonian, said that students were “producing a lot of material which is near broadcast quality” that could be used for the station, GTV.
The university was “very much in favour of community involvement”, he said, and GTV would cover “communities that haven’t had a route to getting on TV before”.
Noting that there were already graduates of Glasgow Caledonian working at STV, Mr Calvert said that the partnership would bring even more opportunities for work experience for current students.
Pamela Gillies, the vice-chancellor, will be a director of the station, which will be broadcast via Freeview and is set to go live on 1 October.
A similar partnership was struck between STV and Edinburgh Napier University in a successful bid for the licence to run a local station in the Scottish capital. As in Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier students will gain experience by working on programmes for the channel, ETV, which will also go live on 1 October.
Bobby Hain, director of channels at STV, said that while many higher education institutions had their own television stations, “this is the closest formal association a broadcaster has formed” with universities in the UK.
The partnerships “are the first of their kind. They are unique,” he said.
GTV will also cover university arts groups for its magazine programmes, he added, and could add “greater depth” to programmes by featuring academics.
Mr Hain said that while some students would be paid for their work, others “will be exposed to GTV and ETV as part of their course”.
“I would look to take material [from students] on merit,” he said, adding that if work was good enough, it would be broadcast without any further editing.
In May 2012 Ofcom invited bids to run 21 new TV stations in cities across the UK.
In Oxfordshire, a new station, That’s Oxford, will be supported by journalism students from Oxford Brookes University. The institution will also offer a new foundation degree in local TV journalism in conjunction with the station.
The station will also work with Oxford University Sports Federation to “replicate the North American success of college sports on local TV”, according to its Ofcom bid.
It also hopes to bring viewers live coverage of “high-profile” lectures at the ancient university.
The station, which boasts presenter Esther Rantzen as vice-president for programming, aims to launch in the first half of 2014.