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BA and MA in Economic Policy Journalism

"Inflation is back," "Germany must change its energy supply," "How will today's young people get enough pension in old age?" Economic policy issues are the perennial hot topics in current news coverage. Behind such news are journalists who must have knowledge about the subject.

But to really understand where inflation comes from, how the (German) energy market works and what the pension system of the future might look like, you need a sound knowledge of our economy. This is where the Economic Policy Journalism (WiPoJo) program comes in.

WiPoJo students are prepared for the pressing issues of our time through a comprehensive study of economics. This does not mean the course will provide them with a satisfactory answer to every economic question. Rather, it is about being able to accompany the current scientific and public debate on economic policy issues.

Successful, graduates are able to comprehend and present economic arguments and, if necessary, to criticize them in a well-founded manner. At the same time, they can present economic issues in a comprehensible way and convey them journalistically in a way that enables as many people as possible to participate in the discourse.

Curriculum design

Our students spend about half of their studies in the Department of Business and Economics - and even learn a bit more of the latter there than their peers majoring in economics. In order to be able to transmit their specialist knowledge to others, WiPoJo students also work within the institute's training newsroom and complete an integrated one-year traineeship (Volontariat) at the end of their studies. Throughout their studies, seminars create the connection between the fields of economics and journalism.

Study content BA

The main aim of the programme is to educate students to qualify as journalists able to report on economic and political events with a sound background knowledge. The programme covers reporting for newspapers, news agencies, TV and radio broadcasting, and online news reporting and intends to convey a mixture of both theory and practical elements and involves:

  • Basics in journalism production for print and electronic media;

  • The ability to understand complicated issues in the field of economic policy and make such issues accessible to an audience in journalistic form;

  • Communicative and social competencies;

  • A deep understanding of our economic system, its institutions and problems

  • Reflective capabilities and ethical competency to be able to review and contextualise events journalistically and to develop a critical attitude towards one’s own actions as a journalist.

Study Content MA

The training in the MA programme "Economics and Journalism" takes place through a combination of the practice-oriented Dortmund model of university-based journalism training with the first-class economics training at the TU Dortmund University and the Ruhr University of Bochum. Two study profiles with different admission requirements are available. They differ in particular with regard to the journalism study unit element, as the Science of the National Economy (Volkswirtschaftslehre—VWL) study unit in each profile is identical.

Profile 1: Economics and economic policy journalism (without previous traineeship)

This study profile is tailor-made for BA Economics graduates (or those with a comparable degree) who have not experienced a journalistic traineeship but want to deepen their knowledge of economics and economic policy at the MA academic level and at the same time acquire professional skills in economic journalism.

The journalistic training covers all media and is offered by the Institute of Journalism, which has a special reputation for successful professional and practical training. In the VWL part of the MA programme, students can access and choose from amongst all MA Economics’ courses at TU Dortmund University and the Ruhr University of Bochum. Professors include, for example, Christoph M. Schmidt (economic policy), Ludger Linnemann (applied economics), Galina Zudenkova (public finance), Thomas K. Bauer (empirical economic research).

Profile 2: Economic Policy Quality Journalism (with previous traineeship)

This profile is aimed at VWL graduates who have already experienced a journalistic traineeship.

The MA program gives students the opportunity to broaden their professional and communication skills, which they have already developed at a professionally qualified level, in a scientifically sound manner and to encourage a profound sense of research-based learning. The students thus learn to link subject and mediation competences in a planned manner.

This profile aims to enable graduates to qualify as professional quality economic journalists in the editorial departments of all forms of media businesses. These would include print press – national dailies (FAZ, SZ, Welt), weeklies (DIE ZEIT, FAS, WamS) and business newspapers (Handelsblatt) as well as political newspapers (Der Spiegel, FOCUS) and business magazines (WiWo, Capital, ‘brand eins’). In the context of digital broadcasting, the editorial departments of public broadcasters are prominent.


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