JMC Professor Jason Murphy: “Every class is a new opportunity to make something happen”
Jason Murphy, a professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at AUBG, joined the university in 2018, instantly creating a buzz around the topic of audio editing and guiding students on the process of making their first podcasts. Read our interview with the award-winning audio and radio creator and take a glimpse into his world and extraordinary professional experiences.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Ireland, in a small friendly place situated by the sea, called Myrtleville. I remember when I was a child my parents used to have a bar where they gathered with their friends and talked about all different kind of things. I use to sit around and listen to them all the time. That was the point when I first realized that I really enjoy just listening to people and this kind of got me passionate in making audio and radio work.
Where did you study?
I originally studied for a degree in business in the University College Cork in Ireland (2002). After that I did a masters in M. A. Management in the University of Newcastle, UK (2003). After working for a couple of years in that area, I realized that business is not really what I want to do. I have always been an art-oriented person. I wanted to do arts or history or English. That is why I decided to move to Taiwan for a few years and teach English. After that, I came back to Ireland where I started studying radio production and documentary filmmaking. I am a very creative person and I also like education and being a student so I did many short courses in that area. Later I got my PH.D. in Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland (2018) where I was running youth projects and audio.
What led you to AUBG?
I like traveling abroad and Bulgaria looked like a fresh and exciting challenge for me. I didn’t really know much about it, but I was interested in the region and the Balkans and when I saw this position, I decided to go for it. It was the sense of adventure and desire for exploring, that pulled me here. And I was not wrong. AUBG turned out to be full of very creative, fun, talented and smart students coming from all these different places in the world, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kosovo, Greece, etc. I just really enjoyed the atmosphere and I had so much freedom in the classroom, which I think really suits me, because I am not somebody who likes to be told what to do, I like to be able to teach the way I want to teach and teach the material I want to teach. Of course, it has to fit in with the syllabus, but I still have freedom. So, these are the two main reasons AUBG is great – cool students and freedom of teaching.
What are some achievements in your professional field that you are especially proud of?
I have won the PPI national radio award in Ireland two years in a row. I won two gold medals in New York festivals on a radio international festival (2016/2017). I won Prix Italia, which is the most prestigious award that I have won and am especially proud of. But for me awards and medals are not the most important thing. For me working with young people and helping them to be creative and make things is what really brings me joy.
If teaching was not your profession what would have been?
I have done a lot of different things, I have worked in finance, in a banana factory in New Castle for three days, I have worked in a bar, in restaurants, obviously as a journalist, I think I could have done a lot of stuff to be honest, I think it is a matter of what you want to do. if you are open to new experiences and you’re not afraid of taking risks you could literally end up doing anything anywhere. I think over planning is a mistake. The world is full of opportunities, we just have to embrace them. You have to work hard, of course, and good things will happen. Every class is a new opportunity to make something happen and be creative.
What is most challenging about your job and what is most rewarding?
The most challenging is to try and find time for everybody. In an ideal world you will be able to spend a lot of time with every student and that doesn’t happen in real life. But a really good thing at AUBG is that professors are really approachable. Definitely in JMC we like students just to come by and say hello. We do like hearing about your projects.
The most rewarding thing for me is just working with the students. Students are amazing. They are all so creative and present so different course works and projects, always willing to push the boundaries and surprise. Being surprised is amazing. I am surprised all the time.
What has been your experience living and working in Blagoevgrad and Bulgaria?
I like Blagoevgrad. I like the life and seeing all the cute old couples hanging around, I love the food, so fresh, delicious and healthy. Blagoevgrad is a nice city. It is friendly and beautiful - the square, the hills, the woods, it is just a nice place to relax and have a cup of coffee while working.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
To be honest I enjoy doing nothing. When I am back in Ireland, I spend pretty much all of my time with my dog doing nothing. Doing nothing and being present, enjoying the simple stuff and the sea. I like spending time in nature, I try to stay away from my laptop and phone, which is not always easy.