Ellie McDonald, an MSc Journalism student at RGU, recently completed a four-week placement with a local platform Doric TV. She assisted in promoting the local North East language, culture, and history.
Studying MSc Journalism at RGU
I began the MSc Journalism course back in September 2020. I have really enjoyed every aspect of my course so far. Having completed my undergraduate degree in History and International Relations, doing journalism has been completely new to me. Learning online due to COVID-19 was a bit strange at first. Interacting with my classmates online just isn’t the same as being able to see them in person and get to know them better. But eventually, I got used to it.
The course has helped cement my desire to become a political reporter. I aspire to report on events such as elections and ask politicians those hard questions.
One of the elements of the course that really excited me was being able to go on placement and gain some experience within the industry. So, when the opportunity came up this semester to gain some valuable experience I was really excited.Ellie McDonald, an MSc Journalism student at RGU
Importance of Doric
Doric is spoken widely across Aberdeenshire, from Peterhead to Stonehaven. It has also recently been acknowledged as Scotland’s ‘fourth language’ by a BBC Travel article alongside English, Scots, and Gaelic. Yet despite its wide reach, Doric was once banned from being taught in schools and many Scots don’t even know of its existence. I know from my own childhood that this is slowly beginning to change, I remember having ‘Doric Week’ at primary school and learning poems in Doric.
As someone who grew up in Aberdeenshire, I have always been aware of the importance of growing our own language. Something that makes this part of Scotland unique. Many members of the older generation, especially from my hometown, speak only Doric and it’s sad that so many people from my age know very little to no Doric.
About Doric TV
Of course, when the placement opportunities came up, I applied to a few organisations. But one that really stuck out to me was Doric TV.
Doric TV was established in 2019 by Jill McWilliam as part of an effort to preserve the local North East language, culture, and history. Jill has made over 200 videos for the channel and interviewed a variety of people, including the new RGU chancellor Dame Evelyn Glennie.Ellie McDonald, an MSc Journalism student at RGU
It’s really encouraging to see that the language is currently undergoing a revival, with many attempts currently being undertaken to protect it. Doric TV has been in touch with the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen. It is hoped that they will preserve and archive the videos made in the North East.
Journalism placement experience
Starting the placement was exciting. It was me and another student from my course starting at the same time. Having to complete this remotely was at first a bit strange, but after a year of online learning, this was not new to us. We both quickly got involved and began to work on our own projects for the organisation.
Having the opportunity to work at this organisation was fantastic. It gave me the experience of working in the media, something I did not have previously. I was able to directly employ the skills learnt during my course to help me throughout this period.Ellie McDonald, an MSc Journalism student at RGU
I was able to utilise my news writing skills in order to formulate an article for the press. I utilised skills learnt from the broadcast journalism course, which pushed me to become comfortable speaking into a camera and editing my own content.
What I enjoyed most about this placement was being able to get outside and capture some of the beautiful spots of Aberdeenshire. I love being able to go for walks or visit a castle and this gave me the perfect excuse. I would write about my adventures for the Doric website and post photos onto the Facebook page for followers to enjoy and engage in.
I was also delighted when an article I had written during this time on an interview my host had with an Australian radio talk host got published across 5 local newspapers. My course has given me massive confidence, such as being comfortable in front of a camera. This is something I hope to take forward as I start my career.Ellie McDonald, an MSc Journalism student at RGU
I hope that more young people become involved in Doric TV as it’s a great way to engage with the local community and become active in promoting Aberdeenshire. Having the opportunity to get involved via the placement has been such a rewarding experience and I can only encourage anyone who gets the chance to undertake a placement to take it!