The Sciences Po Journalism School
- The Journalism School
Programs at Sciences Po Journalism School
The training offered at the Journalism School is based on two requirements: an outstanding academic knowledge in social sciences, which are always a priority at Sciences Po University and vital to all future journalists, and a hands-on practical knowledge of the job provided by media professionals coming to share their experiences. These two aspects complement each other, be it in classrooms or on the field.
Besides, all the programs are focused on the international media landscape and offer a deep knowledge of the journalism practices and its shifts at the digital era.
- Master in Journalism (fr.)
- Dual degree in Journalism Columbia / Sciences Po
- Joint master "Journalism and International Affairs" PSIA / Sciences Po Journalism School
And continuing education :
- Executive master in media and digital management
- On demand training for working journalists
Bruno Patino, Dean of the Sciences Po Journalism School
«There are two ways of looking at Sciences Po Journalism School. The first one highlights the fact that this school, created at the beginning of the 21st century, has a great ability to innovate and offers a new approach to training journalists, which is ambitious, more ethical, digital and critical. The second way of looking at this Journalism School states what has already been noticed for more than a century: Sciences Po University's graduates are everywhere in French newsrooms.
Both angles have to be taken into account in order to understand the uniqueness of this young school located at the heart of an institution devoted to training executives working in political, economic and social fields. This combination of practical journalism and intellectual training is the key element of the School of journalism's high-standard courses, mainly taught by journalists, key actors on the public scene, and renowned university teachers.
The school doesn't prepare students to work with news, it puts them right at the heart of news straight from the beginning thanks to its courses, which recreate the real work conditions of a newsroom. The methods, tasks, rhythm and teaching itself are all based on a continuous balance between a series of practical journalism techniques and an analysis of their area of application.
Sciences Po Master's degree in Journalism was created while the Internet had already been around for about ten years. It was then obvious that news desperately needed new media. Instead of passively watching all its students graduate and then choose journalism, Sciences Po University decided to take part in the redefinition of the fourth power, by implementing the view it had on news training. It therefore created a mix of classes and practical training, thus combining a high-rated training to strong knowledge in history and economics, as well as writing and data analysis.
Journalism is obviously a question of talent, but also has a great deal to do with techniques, rights, duties and even social responsibilities. It is not something that you can learn as you go. You need to have a special gift for it, but you cannot do without specific abilities : the ability to adapt to a job which constantly evolves and reinvents itself, the ability to take into account the global dimension of any kind of activity (as shown by the fact that more often than not, half our students are foreigners), and of course, the ability to understand the social impact of a new type of communication, which used to be limited to newspapers not that long ago.
This broad perspective gives the school an invaluable environment to train professionals who will then be able to make their job evolve on the long term. A lot of work is done on a daily basis with journalists who are key actors on the French media scene, and students also meet teachers and media professionals of all kinds who come to Sciences Po University in order to exchange views and ideas. For those who want to write about the constant changes facing our times, it is both an amazing source of information and an additional way of realising that the job they chose gives them a central position on the international market.
Sciences Po Journalism School's brochure to upload
Quality knowledge at the heart of a University
The Sciences Po Journalism School is fully integrated to a first-rate university. Just like Sciences Po University students, students attending the School of Journalism are trained by Sciences Po teachers who share with them all the findings made in Sciences Po's nine research centres (the International Research Centre, aka CERI, the Political Research Centre, aka CEVIPOF, the Economic Research Institute, the Centre for the Sociology of Organizations, aka CSO, the Sciences Po History Centre, the Sociological Research Centre for Social Change, aka OSC, the Global Economy Organization, the Sciences Po European Studies Centre, the Social and Political Data Centre).
Throughout the whole course, students are led to think of all the major political, economic, social and environmental issues which are at the heart of international news.
A whole section of the courses is devoted to macro-economy and micro-economy, since too few young journalists master the real challenges that arise from these fields. Moreover, improving their history knowledge enables them to better deal with news: they analyse, prioritize and put them into perspective by thinking on a long-term basis.
Immersion in a journalistic environment
The Journalism School gives its students the means to benefit from the experience of several well-known working journalists.
They attend classes on media history and law. In addition to that, several workshops are dedicated to codes of ethics. They offer students a dynamic and empiric approach and understanding of journalism and its rules.
A special status is granted to issues such as mastering journalistic writing or narrative techniques, which are taught during workshops especially designed for different types of media (writing for news websites, mobile applications, for newspapers, for radio stations, for TV channels).
Students are trained to write articles, portraits, interviews, investigations and reports for magazines on a weekly basis. For example, in 2010, students worked with Alain Genestar – the publisher of Polka magazine and former managing editor of Paris Match – to write a magazine called “Iris” on the issues raised by the burka. The School of journalism's students were also supervised by Raphaëlle Bacqué, a special correspondent at Le Monde, to lead a thorough investigation on the Front National political party.
Investigating information is another key element in this teaching project. Students are supervised by professionals and learn about the techniques used on the field by carrying out interviews, reports and investigations. As for using the digital tools and mutimedia storytelling techniques, students are shown how to use search engines and to check the accuracy of live information and elements glaned from social media.
This includes tasks such as live covering of demonstrations and presidential elections on the Internet, checking news in real time, constantly creating formats to adapt to the continuous flow of on-line news. Students are trained to react in real-time when they work in Web newsrooms, and to investigate on networks. In 2010 for example, they drew a list of all the promises Nicolas Sarkozy had made during the elections campaign and came up with figures to show what those commitments had become three years later. They also investigated the police's view on on-line networks when they are not on duty. Lastly, thanks to all the tools that are available on-line, they were able to build a chronology of several recent natural disasters, such as earthquakes in Haiti and in Chile.
Certain weeks are dedicated to specific projects such as study trips during which students carry out reports in the fields. This was for example the case when some of the School of journalism's students went to Poland for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz camps; to Brussels, at the heart of European Institutions, in November 2009 and 2010; to Israel during the general elections in March 2006; to Berlin in February 2007 during the German Presidency of the European Union; to Morocco in October 2007 after the general elections; to Switzerland in November 2008.
In order to put a final touch to their Master's degree, second-year students work on a report or an investigation for three weeks, and can choose the media they want (Internet, TV, radio, newspaper). They are supervised by a tutor belonging to the Journalism School's team of teachers and present their master's project to a jury.
Moreover, Sciences Po's School of journalism is entitled to train journalists under an apprenticeship contract (only for students enrolled in the Master in Journalism). About twenty of those contracts are signed every year. The training combines a course at Sciences Po University and a work experience in a company.
The trainess are then integrated to the newsroom's staff and benefit from a practical training as well as advice from their supervisor. They keep their student cards but also have the same status as an employee, with the same rights and the same duties (salary, social protection, paid holidays, contribution to pension plans and employment insurance). The company is partially or completely exempted from fringe benefits and is awarded a compensatory allowance by the government. The tuition fees are paid by the company, which also pays for the apprenticeship tax.
The Journalism School takes part in the process of pre-selecting young, dynamic and qualified students who then join the company's team. The company which welcomes these trainees works in partnership with Sciences Po University : it has an active role to play in the students' training. “Sciences Po Avenir” (which is the department for professional counselling, trainings and first work experiences) is there to organise events and meetings with the students.
During the whole course, students take part in the journalistic life in newsrooms, be it for newspapers, the Internet, radio stations or TV channels. During the first year as well as during the second year of the Master's degree, 10 weeks per year are devoted to internships.
Digital journalism at every step of the way
Teaching digital journalism is crucial to the Journalism School. No matter what media students work on (radio, TV, Internet, newspaper), they learn about how to master all the tools and uses of the network to produce desktop and mobile contents.
Digital culture, data investigation, online editing, live blogging and fact checking, engagement with the audience, video and pictures editing, social media investigations… As soon as they start their first year, students are immersed in digital technologies. A whole range of intensive classes, courses and professional workshops give them the opportunity to acquire the specific abilities applying to digital journalism.
A reflexion about the future of journalism and new models
Sciences Po Journalism School's students are encouraged to think about their professional environment and to question their future job. Each year, Sciences Po hosts the annual conference about new practices in journalism (fr.), which is a big event now both for students and working journalists.
Students are also prepared to explore various models for news, with courses on Media Economics and new business models. It helps them (who work in little groups) to come up with a new and profitable idea about journalism. Those courses also introduce them to the new media ecosystem and the changes in the technological environment surrounding on-line media (Web technologies, business plans, marketing, media and journalism economy). The students will then work on a project aimed at designing a real start up for news.
How newsrooms manage real time news? How do they deal with changing practices and younger audiences? A blog named W.I.P. (Work In Progress) has been created by Alice Antheaume to think about those mutation and to observe journalism in a digital era.
An international focus
With the dual degree in journalism between Columbia and Sciences Po, a third of international students within the group, workshops taught in English, and partnerships with a large number of Journalism Schools abroad, students from Sciences Po School of Journalism are immersed in a worldwide view of journalism.
Once they graduated from Sciences Po Journalism School, 29% of alumni work in an international newsroom (AFP Madrid, AFP Hong Kong, Buzzfeed New York, Associated Press, ABC News, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, Bloomberg News, etc.).
Just like working in a newsroom
The Journalism School, located right at the heart of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés area in Paris, has its own quarters in a 1.800 m2 building. Newsroom, audio and video report units, radio and TV studios… It is open from 7h45 to 23h15 every day, and from 9h to 17h45 on Saturdays.
Students work everyday in the newsroom, a huge editorial office with plenty of computers that can be used freely, and equipped with audio and video editing software. These computers are connected to the AFP (the French Press Agency) news, to the EVN (Eurovision) and to the Internet. The newsroom also has four plasma displays broadcasting a dozen of French as well as international channels. This is where students write their articles and edit their reports once they have been on the field with their HDV cameras.
Sciences Po grants its students special access to a whole range of documents : its library is one of the richest ones in Continental Europe and has press kits dating back from 1945, as well as more than a million books and numerous digital databases. The School of journalism also works in partnership with the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel (the National Broadcasting Institute), which means that a great deal of audiovisual documents can be accessed from any computer.
TV news are supervised by an editor in chief. They are presented by one or two newscaster(s) and consist of reports made by students during the day, link-up programmes, stories edited from various agencies (News desk), pictures and interviews (either on the set or on the phone).
The multi-cameras TV set works with a video mixer (Tricaster 460). It is equipped with three cameras, a mixing console, TV lights with Uniflood spotlights, and a green background for Chromakey superimpositions. A fourth camera is set in the newsroom for link-up trainings. The news can be broadcast live from the mixer via the data server. The final result can be seen on all the screens and plasma displays of the school.
The radio studio offers a professional quality of work. Students present newsflashes and broadcast news, which are either live or recorded.
This studio has a soundproof booth with 4 Shure SM7B microphones and a Soundcraft RM105 mixing console, a monitor and high-quality devices for phone interviews. News can be broadcast live from a computer connected to the network.
High-quality pieces of equipment (cameras, report microphones, lapel mikes, mike booms, lights kit, digital recorders, headphones, digital cameras etc.) are at the students' disposal, including during the weekend.
Exceptional career opportunities
Jessica Lederman, hired as a reporter at TF1 as soon as she had been graduated, Louis Moulin, local journalist for Le Parisien, Cécile Dehesdin, journalist at Slate.fr, today at Lexpress.fr after her dual degree in journalism Columbia/Sciences Po, and Aurélie Charon, who began at France Inter whereas she was still a student at Sciences Po, today hired at France Culture... Those alumni from Sciences Po Journalism School speak about their carrer in the video below.
Even is the market for journalism is compelling, alumni from Sciences Po Journalism School are very quickly hired in various newsrooms in France and abroad.
96% of our alumni are working either in a long-term contract like CDI (51%) or in a short-term contract like CDD (19%) or doing freelances (21%). Those results come from a survey realized with all the Sciences Po Journalism School's alumni (graduation 2005 to 2015, with 96% of answers. Please see below the infographics.
It may be the only Journalism School in France where students are enrolled for a long-term in newsrooms before they are even graduated.