Two academics from Cardiff University and Swansea University who are funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol have combined their expertise to create a new module for students at the two institutions, looking at the political landscape in Wales.
Iwan Williams, Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol lecturer in Media and Public Relations at Swansea University and Sian Morgan Lloyd, Coleg Cymraeg lecturer at the School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University have devised the unique module “Cymru: Y Senedd, y Straeon a’r Spin” for Welsh-medium students at the two universities.
The aim of the module, which will run for the first time in February 2017, is to develop the students’ understanding of the important relationship between politicians, journalists and the communications industry in Wales. It will also ensure that they familiarise themselves with the media landscape in a devolved Wales; the challenges of journalistic pluralism, and the way in which politicians, lobbyists and public relations practitioners influence the news agenda.
Iwan Williams said: “The majority of people in Wales get their news from across the border; and this news often has nothing to do with everyday reality and citizenship in Wales. The idea behind the module is to give students a deep understanding of politics in Wales, as well as the challenges faced by journalists in trying to ensure that we as Welsh people are aware of what’s happening on the ground and in our communities. After all, these students are the journalists, communicators and politicians of the future.”
Sian Morgan Lloyd said: “Young people are used to getting their news from social media. However, as a result their news agenda is shaped not by news editors but by algorithms that have been specifically created to encourage people to ‘like’ and share events that interest them. With so much ‘false’ news being circulated and read at this time we need to ensure that students see beyond the controversial headlines and develop core skills for today’s news industry.”
This unique collaborative module has been developed with funding from the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.
Nick Powell, Head of Politics at ITV Cymru said: “After 18 years, devolution has come of age and Welsh politics is now very different. Wales has its own agenda and increasingly its own laws too. So there is an abundance of stories – and yes, there is also spin in Cardiff Bay.
“I foresee that this trend will grow in the years to come and I am sure that many bright young people, brought up in a devolved Wales, will take advantage of this new module.”