Agencia EFE President Jose Antonio Vera was on hand Tuesday to welcome students to the 14th Master's Degree in Agency Journalism program, a joint initiative of Spain's international news agency and King Juan Carlos University.

Most of the students are recent graduates in journalism and audiovisual communications, though this year's class also includes Latin American professionals attending on scholarships provided by the Carolina Foundation with funding from Gas Natural Fenosa.

Vera emphasized to the students the global relevance of Efe, which has a presence in 180 cities in 120 countries, and he emphasized the importance of a journalist passing through a news agency at some point during his or her career.

"It should be obligatory for everyone because (news agencies) are the mother of communications media," he said.

He said that at Agencia EFE the Master's students will receive "comprehensive training" in writing news articles and working with audiovisual media and on Web sites.

Moreover, they will be taught in their classes by professionals who "know much about the day to day activities, about street journalism," which means that this master's program offers "really very practical" training, Vera said.

Instructors from different departments and areas within the news agency provide the students with lectures and lessons, and they also work as tutors in the practical classes and workshops constituting the program, complementing the classes provided by university lecturers.

The last six months of the degree program takes the form of paid internships at Agencia EFE's Madrid headquarters or one of the bureaus in Spain and around the world. EFE