BA (Hons)

2020/21 Full-time Undergraduate course


Bachelor of Arts with Honours


Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences


School of Communication and Media


Coleraine campus

UCAS code:

The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2020


Academic Year 2020/21

Our first term will commence as planned on 21 September and we will be prepared to deliver lectures and other teaching online for Semester One

Some on-campus activities will still take place, based on a robust local risk assessment, and priority will be given to using campus spaces for practice-based learning activities including lab work.

The University’s primary concern remains the physical and mental health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, their families and the wider community. Nothing is more important to us.

On our COVID-19 webpages you will find further information for applicants and students, along with answers to some of the questions you may have.


Journalism theory and practice: news-gathering, reporting, writing and editing for television, radio, print and online, in a changing media landscape.


Journalism is a single subject programme at Ulster, Coleraine. It is the only university degree programme in the subject in Northern Ireland and offers you the opportunity to study the theory and practice of journalism in context with determining factors such as law, economics, politics and technology. It provides you with a range of relevant practical and professional skills.

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About this course


In Year 1, you will take modules that give you a good basic grounding in the academic study of the media and in practical journalism skills that you will need to underpin your more advanced modules in Years Two and Three. At this level you will take modules that introduce you to critical issues in journalism (history, sociology, economics, research methodology and technology), journalism law and regulation, and journalism practice (newsgathering, report writing, sub-editing, page design and production, audio and audio-visual, broadcast journalism techniques).

Your commitment in time and effort will be intensive and demanding, much more so than those subjects that have no practice component. As well as on-campus activities, you will also learn about reporting from the local court and council offices. At the end of your second year, you will be encouraged to seek a placement with a local newspaper or other news based outlet.

The programme uses a range of teaching methods including lectures, small group seminars and practical workshops. These are delivered and supervised by experienced teaching staff, including former journalists with BBC and The Sunday Times.

You will have access to a wide range of learning resources, including professional standard newspaper production and design software such as Adobe InDesign, and digital sound and video software. You will also work in a simulated newsroom environment.

The programme assesses your work using a variety of different assessment methods including traditional academic essays, critical book reviews, examinations, class-tests and practical journalism assignments in reporting and writing.



Full-time mode: three years.

Attendance200 hours per module per semester as follows:
36 contact hours per module per semester.
164 independent study hours per module per semester.


How many hours per week will I attend as journalism student at Ulster?

All full-time degree programmes in the Faculty of Arts Humanities and Social Science require a minimum three hours contact time (e.g. lectures and seminars) per module. However, programmes with a practice component, such as Journalism, will demand, by their very nature, additional contact hours for attendance on practical workshops and may require occasional assignments off campus, e.g. to local court or council. In addition to attendance at teaching sessions, the programme will require up to 20 hours per module per semester of independent learning and study (e.g. library research and coursework preparation).

In that light, the attendance requirement in part-time mode depends on how many modules taken per semester (one or two).

Start dates

  • September 2020

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Assessment will be by way of a mixture of formal examination, essay, class test, coursework, individual/group projects and assessment of practice projects, dependent on the nature and rationale of the module concerned.

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    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
    • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
    • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Coleraine campus

The feeling of community at our Coleraine campus makes for a warm and welcoming student experience.


A laid-back campus at the heart of a global tourist attraction.

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Sports Facilities

Our Campus in Coleraine boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities that are open all year round to students and members of the public.

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Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

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Coleraine campus location info

  Find out more about our Coleraine campus


Ulster University
Cromore Road
County Londonderry
BT52 1SA

T: 028 7012 3456


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Media, Culture, Politics

Year: 1

Media, Culture, Politics is an introduction to media studies that aims to demonstrate the importance and seriousness of the discipline, and to show how it can speak to the most pressing political issues of our time, namely disparities of wealth and power, as well as the question of environmental sustainability. To do this the module draws attention to the role of media and popular culture in reproducing social inequality, and it considers the ecological consequences of a contemporary culture that is dependent upon fossil fuels and driven by capital accumulation.

The objective of the module then is to encourage students to think critically about media production and consumption, and to other ways and forms of making and exchanging culture. To achieve this Media, Culture, Politics introduces students to a selection of thinkers who have contributed to the field. It then invites them to consider the ideas and concepts encountered on the module, and apply or adapt them to their own media practice, cultural experience and democratic participation.

Key Concepts in Media Theory

Year: 1

This module will build on the work done in The Politics of Everyday Life by looking at some further key themes and concepts that have been established through the study of the media. Students will engage with theoretical positions in media studies and will be encouraged to critically analyse and reflect on these.

Public Affairs for Journalists

Year: 1

The module introduces students to the structures of central and local government, including local government finance, and to the economy and economic development in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. It will help to develop student skills and an understanding of the world on which they report. They will be encouraged to look critically and analytically at a wide range of related journalistic material.

Introduction to Journalism

Year: 1

The module is an introduction to the essential skills of newsgathering and news writing.

Students will learn how to spot a news story and to develop it for publication. The module will introduce students to the working life of journalists through guest lectures.

Introduction to Audio Journalism

Year: 1

This module introduces students to news gathering for audio bulletins. It uses live news days to encourage editorial decision-making. It instructs students in the technical and editorial process of producing audio items for live streaming and digital platforms.

Introduction to Multi-platform Journalism

Year: 1

This module develops students' skills in newsgathering and reporting and introduces desktop publishing software for multi-platform production. Students will produce a portfolio of journalistic work. They will be encouraged to look critically and analytically at a wide range of journalism and to critically evaluate those items.

Year two

Advanced Multi-platform Journalism

Year: 2

This module develops students' skills in multi-platform newsgathering and reporting and introduces online, mobile and social media production. Students will produce a portfolio of journalistic work and a reflection on the news production processes involved. They will be encouraged to look critically and analytically at a wide range of journalism and to critically evaluate those items.

Media Law and Regulation

Year: 2

This module offers a practical introduction to the range of legal and regulatory topics relevant to media professionals. At its core are defamation, privacy, contempt and copyright - the main areas of law pertinent to media production across all platforms. The module will examine how these impact on the output of the media. It will look at the various codes governing how the media operates and the ethical decisions that media professionals must make in complying with them. The module will demonstrate how to comply with this legislation and relevant codes while still generating engaging material. It will feature class discussions to test the learner's ability to apply this knowledge in decision-making pertinent to the work of media professionals.

Placement and Professional Contexts

Year: 2

This module engages students in a 2 week (or 70 hour) work placement in the Media and Creative Industries The module uses work-based learning and reflective practitioner models to help student develop their professional skills and understanding or the media industry.

Advanced Audio Journalism

Year: 2

This module introduces students to longer form reporting for audio platforms. It uses live news days to reinforce editorial decision-making. It instructs students in the technical and editorial process of producing items for live streaming and podcast.

Journalism, Society and International Conflict

Year: 2

The module offers a critical and historical examination of key concepts relating to journalism. These include objectivity, balance, sources, regulation, ethics and the influence that business, technology and politics has. This is used as a basis to examine reportage during and after Northern Ireland's Troubles. This expands out into the examination of the media reporting of international conflict. The module will employ specific case-study analyses of media coverage of inter-state and in state conflict. International case studies could include, for example, assessing how the "Syrian migrant crisis" has been reported in different media in various countries. The module is interactive with strong emphasis on student participation in debate and case study inquiries.

Preparation for Placement and Work Based Learning

Year: 2

This module introduces students to a range of job roles from across the media and creative industries to help them plan and apply for a short placement. The module helps students develop their understanding of defined job roles and build a range of resources to help them interface with the media industry more professionally.

Media: Study Internationally (2nd yr)

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the Erasmus Plus area such as the Americas, Australia or China. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of Media whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Year three

Audio/Visual Journalism

Year: 3

This module builds on the broadcast/live streaming journalistic principles acquired in years one and two and introduces students to video reporting and TV studio skills.

Journalism Major Project (SINGLE HONS)

Year: 3

This module allows the student to put into practice the skills acquired in the previous
journalism practice and theory modules. It will allow them to develop and refine their skills in journalism practice with a particular focus on producing a significant piece of investigative journalism and putting into an agreed format for public output. The resultant piece can be used as part of a portfolio for seeking employment and/or applying for further study. The module will be a mix of lectures, problem-based learning, production workshops and independent practice.

Journalism Dissertation (SINGLE HONS)

Year: 3

This module enables the student to plan, research and write a Journalism dissertation of 8,000-10,000 words on an agreed topic selected by the student, with guidance, and produced under the supervision of a member of staff, with whom the student will meet regularly to discuss progress and receive feedback.

Investigative Journalism

Year: 3

One of journalism's main roles is to investigate what is really going on in society. This module provides the theoretical background, tools and the framework for producing an investigative project. The various research tools that can be used - freedom of information, statistical research, opinion polls, journalistic experiments, source tracking, public and public records - will be taught. Students then conduct their own investigation either collaboratively or solely. They will reflect on the learning to make a proposal for a larger Major Journalism Project completed in the following semester.

Journalism Research in a Global Context

Year: 3

This module considers journalism's role around the globe raising questions about ethics, objectivity, ownership and bias, social impact, economic and political influence. Students will learn to formulate their subject interest into answerable research questions. The module will enable them to produce well-designed and appropriately analysed research projects and give direction to the Journalism Dissertation in the next semester. This module will guide students as they pursue answers to those questions using appropriate methods.

Media: Study Abroad (DIAS)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an additional academic year of study which is spent outside the UK. Those who successfully complete it get an extra qualification - the Diploma in Academic Studies (DIAS). Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the media and engage with it first-hand in international contexts. The opportunity to generate educational and cultural networks will be available to the student.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is BBC

Applied General Qualifications

*** To note that only qualifications defined as “Applied General” will be accepted for entry onto any undergraduate course at Ulster University.***

BTEC Awards

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2012 Suite)

Award profile of DDD

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2016 Suite)

Award profile of DMM

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma(2012 Suite)

Award profile of DM plus A Level Grade B or Award profile of DD plus A Level Grade C

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma (2016 Suite)

Award profile of DM plus A Level Grade C

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Introductory Diploma (2012 Suite)

Award profile of M plus A Level Grades BB

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Certificate (2016 Suite)

Award profile of M plus A Level Grades BB

Diploma, National Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma applicants may satisfy the requirement for an element of the offer grade profiles (equating to the final A-level grade stated in the standard 3A level offer profile - Grade C) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

Irish Leaving Certificate

The Irish Leaving Certificate requirement for this course is grades

H3,H3,H3,H3,H3 - H3,H3,H3,H3,H4 at higher level

Applicants are also required to have Higher Level English Grade H6 or above OR Ordinary Level at grade 04 or above.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is grades


Applicants may satisfy the requirement for an element of the offer grade profiles (equating to the final A-level grade stated in the standard 3A level offer profile - Grade C) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is grades


Applicants may satisfy the requirement for an element of the offer grade profiles (equating to the final A-level grade stated in the standard 3A level offer profile - Grade C) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum of

26 points to include 13 at higher level - 25 points to include 12 at higher level.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall mark of 65% (120 credit Access Course) (NI Access course)

Overall profile of 24 credits at distinction, 21 credits at merit - 15 credits at distinction, 30 credits at merit (60 credit Access course) (GB Access course)


For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or above English Language.

Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Communication will be accepted as equivalent to GCSE English.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

HND - Overall Merit with distinctions in 60 Level 5 credits (4 units) entry to Year 1.

HNC – Overall Distinction with distinctions in 90 Level 4 credits (6 units) for entry to Year 1.

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met).

Foundation Degree - An overall mark of 55-50% in Level 5 modules for Year 1 entry.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning)

The University will consider applications on the basis of experiential learning for those who do not hold the normal entry qualifications.

Transfer from degree level study at other institutions

Those applicants seeking entry with advanced standing, (eg. Transfer from another institution or year 2 entry) will be considered on an individual basis.

Exemptions and transferability

It is possible to transfer directly into second year from other Foundation Degree courses, each application will be considered on the individual merits of the application.

Careers & opportunities

Career options

The degree in Journalism at Ulster gives you a wide range of potential career options in the expanding field. Many graduates will go on to join a local newspaper, magazine or digital news service as trainees. Others will use their skills in information gathering, research, verification, media production software etc to go into related fields like public relations, recruitment, research or marketing communications. Others will go on to do a masters such as the connected MA Journalism at Ulster University which provides both a masters degree and professional accreditation by the industry's National Council for the Training of Journalists.

For information on postgraduate research opportunities see:

Work placement / study abroad

There is formal work placement and optional study abroad within the course structure.

Students may consider taking part in the Erasmus Exchange programme, to European universities, usually for one semester in second year.

Students may take part in the exchange programme with universities in the USA. This would be a year long exchange and attracts an additional university academic award on graduation.

Exchanges with universities in other countries may also be possible, arranged through the International Office at the university.


Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 20/21 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU: £4,395.00

England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands: £9,250.00  Discounts available

International: £14,480.00 Scholarships available

Scholarships, awards and prizes

Brum Henderson Award for best journalism project. Dr Henderson was a founder of UTV.

Additional mandatory costs

Dr Colm Murphy has extensive research experience in Journalism and the Digital Economy and his teaching centres on legal and digital isuses in journalism. Colm is an award winning journalist and editor and works with The Sunday Times. He has also produced a number of investigative documentaries. He is also a director of the industry recognised accreditation body, the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Ms Maggie Swarbrick is Course Director of Ulster's prestigious MA Journalism programme and also teaches at undergraduate level, specialising in radio and television reporting. Maggie is a former trainer and journalist at BBC and is an examiner with the NCTJ.

Mr Milne Rowntree is Subject Director for the BA Hons Journalism programme. Milne is a former print and online journalist and teaches in the areas of media law and public affairs, as well as newspaper and online reporting. He is also an examiner with the NCTJ.

Dr Ciaran Bartlett researches in journalism studies and teaches across the programme. He has extensive experience of print, broadcast and online journalism.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


Course Director: Milne Rowntree

T: +442870123149


Admissions Office:

Ms Wenli Xu

T: +44 (0)28 70123373


International Admissions Office


For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Communication and Media


  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
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