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Falmouth's Hostile Environment course is already helping young journalists to keep safe

Britain's first Hostile Environment course to be offered to journalism students as part of their curriculum is already paying off. The three-day residential course for students taking the MA in International Journalism at University College Falmouth is run by former Royal Marines and includes risk assessment, conflict resolution, check point negotiation, hostage negotiation and first aid. Now students are using their training to keep safe in places as far flung as Ethiopia and Sri Lanka where they've been making documentaries.

One student, Dan Morgan, was forced to take evasive action while covering the G8 Summit in Germany when anarchist groups clashed with riot police. "During the G8 riots I felt I was far more aware of the potential dangers of entering such a situation. I therefore came equipped to deal with the hazards of a riot. Rather than rushing into the thick of things, I considered these potential hazards first, always looking out to secure my own personal safety. At no point did I fear for my own wellbeing, as I always had a secure escape route."

Ned Baker has been filming in some of the areas of Sri Lanka where tourism has been badly affected by the tsunami and the ongoing Tamil conflict there. Ned says the dangers faced by Westerners in Sri Lanka are confined to a small geographical area. "Whilst filming in Sri Lanka I was lucky enough not to encounter any of the more potentially lethal situations we prepared for on the course. However, the confidence I gained from knowing that if the worst was to happen I would be able to handle the situation effectively was invaluable."

Danielle Taaffe was researching and interviewing in Spain for her documentary on crime. "On the Hostile Environment course, I learned how to risk assess a situation. This proved to be useful during the filming of my documentary, as I had to weigh up the safety of situations I was entering as I was looking into the criminal world on the Costa del Sol."

George Matheson, former International reporter and now course leader of the MA in International Journalism at University College Falmouth is naturally happy to see the young journalists using their training to keep safe. "The Hostile Environment course at Falmouth gives students that vital instinct – to stop and think about the dangers while caught up in the excitement of getting a story. It also gives them the practical skills to avoid trouble. What's more the students all had a great time taking the course – so it's a win-win situation."

The MA in International Journalism is a one-year course aimed at giving aspiring journalists the skills they'll need to work in TV, radio, print and online journalism. There is still time to apply for September 2007 entry.

University College Falmouth is a founding partner in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC), a unique initiative to promote regional economic regeneration through higher education. The CUC is funded mainly by the European Union (Objective One), the South West Regional Development Agency, and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, with support from Cornwall County Council.

For further information, please visit, email or telephone Admissions on 01326 214389.

For further information about this press release, please contact Jilly Easterby, Head of Public Affairs, University College Falmouth on 01326 213792 or email

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Combined Universities in Cornwall (CUC) project, both Phase 1 and Phase 2, through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF). University College Falmouth is a partner of the CUC.


Editor's notes:



Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

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