The Newsletter – Semester 1 2016/17

It’s the end of another semester – and time to catch up with everything that’s been happening on BA Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.


Last year’s graduates are amused to find Karl shouting into a waste paper basket during a newsday.

You already know the biggest news of the semester. Dr. Barbara Henderson joined our team as a Senior Lecturer in September. Specialising in broadcast journalism, Barbara brings a wealth of industry and teaching experience with her.

Barbara has been teaching across the course, but has had most contact with our third year and first year, who she felt a particular connection to.

“The first few weeks in any new job are always taken up with getting to know places and systems – so I shared the new first year’s bewilderment at times!” said Barbara, “I now feel very much at home and can honestly say Leeds Beckett is the friendliest place I’ve ever worked.”

Our newest lecturer worked with the BBC for seventeen years before moving into higher education. She taught at Newcastle and Northumbria universities before moving to UCA Farnham.

“The first thing that struck me as I started working with the team was that our journalistic values are strong – there’s no tolerance of shoddy reporting standards or merely following up other people’s news agenda, but instead a strong emphasis on originality. These are the values I was ‘brought up with’ as a reporter.”

Barbara Henderson

When Barbara isn’t writing novels or running newsdays, she loves to ride her motorbike around the forests of Berwick.

Barbara currently leads the TV part of the Newsdays Multimedia module at third year which came under the scrutiny of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council during their recent visit.

“The BJTC visit was a high point and I was so proud of the professionalism the students displayed on that day,” said Barbara.

Accreditation by industry

It’s a busy year for BA Journalism staff, preparing for accreditation visits.

In what, for some members of the team seemed like deja vu, the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC) came to look at the BA Journalism on the 2nd of December. The visit was a success, with the panel particularly impressed by the TV newsday in progress and, as ever, the students they spoke to. We can’t go into too much detail just yet – but we do know that we still have our accreditation and that we will have more to tell you about it in the New Year.

We’re accredited by two industry bodies, the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) is the other one. Our current three year period with them is coming to an end soon and a panel from the association will be visiting us in April. We hope to have good news from that visit in our next newsletter.

And while we’re blowing our own trumpet about accreditation, it’s worth mentioning that our continued good performance saw us rocket up the The Guardian’s league tables this year too! We’re now the fourth highest placed journalism course in the UK – and the NUMBER ONE ranked single honours journalism degree in England.

Print Futures Awards

“The Print Futures Awards were launched in 2003 to help people fund costs associated with a relevant training course in printing, publishing, packaging or graphic arts.”

Our students have always done well at the Print Futures Awards, but this year a bumper number of our students were presented with cheques for £1500 each by Labour Peer Lord Blunkett. The lucky students traveled down to that London place to receive their dosh on the 19th of July at the House of Lords.

The 2017 awards will open in January, so look out for another opportunity to help fund your studies soon.


From left to right: Two people who wandered into the shot attracted by the sheer animal magnetism of Fatima Banglawala, Kennedy Grainger, Esme Eichhorn, Tasha Pilling and Annika Jones. At the back: Dominic Cazaux and two more randoms.

Podcasts and reading lists

One of our brightest ideas this year was to bolster our guest lecture series with podcasts. We’re keen to create an archive of industry experience that you can listen to at your leisure. Two pilot podcasts were recorded just before the new semester began.

They needed a little more editing and post-production work than we expected, but we now have a workflow in place and will publish a whole series of them next semester – with some big names from TV and magazines among them. In the meantime, you can check out the pilot podcasts on Leeds Hacks. Thanks to Lee Francis and Annika Jones for helping out.

We’re always a little concerned when our students tell us that they don’t read much. Quite aside from the fact that the verb “to study” comes from the latin root “studium” which can mean “intensive reading and contemplation of a book” (among other things), our students are studying journalism. That means you have an extra reason to read that most students don’t have. You should be reading academic theory and journalism.

Anyway – Dad rant over. We try to find solutions to this problem by actually providing you with readings in theoretical modules and by curating a reading list of journalism that should be of interest to journalism students.

The next time you’re curled up on the sofa, nursing a hangover in your floofy dressing gown, have a read of these carefully curated reading lists. You will learn something.

Out and about

Students at second and third year are taught by the legend who is Peter McNerney, former Calendar anchorman and current roving reporter. How many of you caught this classic sign off from Peter when he went out to cover Leeds Carnival for Made in Leeds?

Students past and present have been up to all sorts of things this semester. Rebecca Rogers, Sophie Okonkwo and Annika Jones represented BA Journalism at the Arias (Audio and Radio Industry Awards) – mingling with VIPs. Guests at the prestigious awards held at the First Direct Arena included the Kaiser Chiefs, The Utah Saints and some bloke called Gregory Porter who apparently never takes his balaclava off.

Rebecca’s knocking it out of the park. She also managed to get a review published in heavy rock’s biggest mag Kerrang earlier this year. Recent graduate Mollie Hammond tells us she is “living the dream” after landing a job working at Dare magazine, covering beauty, well-being, health and grooming.

Speaking of alumni, class of 2015 graduate Nassr Adris has landed a place on the BBC production training course and is creating innovative content with World Hacks. From Leeds Hacks to World Hacks eh? Nassr claims someone else came up with the name…


Class of 2012 graduate Robyn Vinter is starting up an online magazine called The Overtake “written by people from outside the white, middle-class, Oxbridge-educated media bubble.” She’s looking for writers too. You can find Robyn on Twitter @RobynVinter

Our own Charles Engwell continues to do well in his role as a reporter and newsreader at Radio Leeds. Like all Leeds Hacks, serious news stories are where he truly excels:

Not everyone stays in our backyard. We’ve had word from class of 2015 graduate Aimee Robinson that she’s off to Canada after a stint at Business Quarterly. Then there’s Rachel Noon, who’s been in New Zealand now for 11 months, including a stint as a journalist on a local paper in Tauranga on the North Island. Leeds Hacks get around a bit!

And finally…

On the last day of the semester we ran two newsdays – the final TV newsday for third years and a Futures newsday at second year.

Because it’s nearly Christmas, the dress code was even more strict than usual:


If you’re the sort of grinch who winces at the idea of organised fun – then join the club. But this was for a good cause!

It’s not too late to donate.Text TEAMLDSHACKS to 70050 and donate £2 to Save the Children.

That’s all from this issue. Until next time, Home Alone era Macaulay Culkin says…


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