The BBC has announced that it is planning to base a team of journalists in Sunderland.

The BBC will work in partnership with the University of Sunderland’s School of Media and Communication, with the BBC team using the university’s MediaHUB.  

Used by the university’s journalism and media students, the MediaHUB is designed to mimic a real newsroom and is home to a number of multimedia projects and online publications. 

The BBC’s Sunderland-based team will be part of BBC Newcastle. BBC Newcastle covers Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumbria and County Durham and is the base for BBC Look North. 

The BBC team set to move into the MediaHUB includes a reporter and a digital team, but there will be space for six additional staff if necessary. The team will also be supported by a graduate from the University of Sunderland on a short-term contract. 

The University of Sunderland’s head of journalism, media and communication, Lee Hall, said, “We are very excited to welcome the BBC to the MediaHUB. It’s fantastic news for our students, the university, the city and the BBC.”

“We’re delighted that we’ve been able to work with the BBC to make this idea a reality.”

“The MediaHub provides robust, real-world platforms for students to experiment with journalism. They create content and publish in a live environment with the benefit of support from interns, staff and visiting professionals.” 

“We created the space to work as a bridge between university and the world of work by embracing modern newsroom workflows.”

“But that insight into the real world only takes students so far – having the BBC based in the same office will enable them to see first-hand what it’s like to pull together stories to meet non-stop news deadlines.”

It will be the first time the BBC has had a permanent presence in Sunderland since 2011.

The managing editor of BBC Newcastle, Doug Morris, said, “Sunderland has always been a part of our output, but to have a presence back physically in the city is a very significant thing for us.” 

“We’re trying to ensure the BBC has a bigger presence in the city than it has had for a long time.”

“When I was a student, I valued very highly any contact I had with professional journalists. People actually working in the industry, be it journalists or broadcasters, just have some of that insight you get from people who have been doing it for a while.”

Mr Morris added that he thought the students would benefit from being able to “actually learn from people who can show you how it works for real. With the greatest respect, there’s a huge difference doing it in the real world, meeting deadlines every day, getting stuff on air to an audience across the north east.”

The University of Sunderland’s MediaHUB certainly seems to be making headlines at the moment. A student involved with the MediaHUB recently scooped a prestigious national journalism award and other students have been nominated for a number of different prizes.  

(Featured image courtesy of Tim Loudon, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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