Sonja Tutty

Sonja Tutty, recently graduated from a BA in Journalism, smiles for the camera in a graduation cap and gown.

DCU’s journalism course always stood out as the best journalism course in the country and ‘INTRA’ is what sold it, because it gets a foot in the door in such a competitive area.”

The words of journalist and DCU graduate Sonja Tutty who came to study as an international student in 2017.

Her brother Daniel was already studying on the BSc in Multimedia and she said, “he adored the course there. That drew me into DCU as a university.”

When she was researching options for journalism, she said DCU’s degree, “seemed to be the one with most interesting modules and the lecturers seemed to be the most interesting with the research they had conducted.”

Sonja, who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, said that the INTRA work placement also encouraged her to choose DCU.

From the words ‘INtegrated TRAining’, INTRA is DCU’s internship programme.  It is an accredited and highly valued part of student learning and is a compulsory part of many degree programmes.  

It provides real world experience, helps students to develop transferable skills and, ultimately, enhance their employability.

She said that, “for a lot of people on my course, not just me, INTRA was what made them chose DCU’s course. The connections with national media really sold it, there were so many people who had done the course in DCU and were now very successful journalists.”

INTRA is a required element of both the BA and Master’s in Journalism in DCU and both have very successful Alumni.

Sonja had her INTRA with Newstalk in Dublin although the pandemic meant she had to work online and from home.

She said, “it was a great experience. I was a researcher for their weekday shows and I jumped between Pat Kenny, Moncrief, Lunchtime Live… I did all the shows, it was a fantastic experience.”

She interned from June to September 2020 and was asked then to stay on by Newstalk.

Sonja admits that while her DCU course, “had really good radio and TV modules, I was always personally really drawn to writing.”

She said working on radio and television programmes on the course was great experience and fun, but “I definitely preferred written and print journalism.”

The Times (Ireland) and Sunday Times have a graduate programme and through DCU lecturer Paul McNamara, Sonja was put in touch with the papers’ digital news editor and subsequently offered a position.

At the end of the one year graduate scheme, she was asked to stay on.

You can read Sonja’s work in print and online and she said she believes that going to DCU “developed my journalism skills,” and her news writing skills.

She said there are, “fantastic lecturers for news writing and feature writing but beyond that I think DCU outside of the course provides great opportunities for student journalists.”

While on campus she contributed to The College View, Her Campus DCU and STAND as well as being involved with DCUfm and DCUtv.

For anyone considering studying journalism at DCU she said it is a course worth taking even if you are uncertain which direction you want to take in the world of media whether PR, Communications or working in social media.

She said it is also a stepping stone from which to do a Master’s because, “you learn so many valuable skills that leak into other areas of media and creativity and arts.”

While the journalism course obviously prepares you to be a journalist, she has friends from her course who have moved into other areas “and are extremely successful and I think that is a credit to the course itself.

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