The Newsletter – Semester 2 2016/17

It’s the end of another year on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University and, as is our custom, we are rounding up some of the most notable bits and pieces that happened in semester two in our newsletter. Buckle up.

This may be big news to some of you, as we didn’t make an announcement at the time. We were awarded another two years more accreditation by the PPA at the end of April.


As you’ll know, we have two accrediting bodies – the BJTC and the PPA. This is because having one would be far too easy on your course leader. Some of you will have taken part in the event, scoffing university sandwiches and chatting spiritedly with our visitors.

The day was very positive on the whole. Our digital and online work was singled out for praise and the panel were happy to see the progress we’d made since the last time that they saw us, two years ago.

We were granted the accreditation without any conditions, which was highly gratifying for us.

Work Placements

It was a big semester for work placement activity as our third years scrambled to fit in the 15 days required as part of the course. Some students aimed really high… As I type this Josh Shafei is finishing up work experience at the BBC’s most prestigious news programme. No, it’s not Today with John Humphries – it is, of course, Newsround. We know you all secretly watch it. Fayrouz Khallad impressed her bosses at Trail Running magazine too.

Catrina Butler did a stint with BBC Radio York and Holly Beattie would rather you didn’t know about her time with Radio Humberside.

One of our major success stories comes from Rebecca Stein. She managed to impress so much on her work experience stint with digital agency Focus International in Huddersfield, that they offered her a job. The semester’s barely over and she’s already copywriting for blue chip clients.

It’s also been great to see students from other years getting their work experience over with early. Reuben Young’s already completed a week long placement with B2B content supplier Perform and Amy Irvine spent a day at Lakeland Radio. Rebecca Rogers also supported the PPA at a huge event in London.

Ask any third year student and they will tell you that it’s never too early to start your work experience. Actually, they’re more likely to scream it at you, while holding your shoulders and giving you a damn good shake.

Screen Shot 2017-05-22 at 19.11.22

Shannon Mighty proves it’s not just the third year that can ace placements.

Industry talks

Two years in the making, our Meet the Industry “Speed Dating” event finally happened this semester. Organised by Barbara “Dynamo” Henderson with help from the careers team at Leeds Beckett, there were a staggering number of big names in attendance from the worlds of radio and TV, online and PR.

Talent scouts, editors and producers from BBC Sport, ITN, Made in Leeds, Global Radio, the Yorkshire Evening Post and The Business Desk all spent two intensive hours talking to students and giving personal advice on breaking into the industry and feedback on CVs. Many of you took direct contact details from the employers to follow up and gain work experience.

You gave it some great feedback – everyone said they found it useful and that they would attend a similar event again. Though maybe that was just because of the brownies, which seemed to go down very well.

Theresa May has a lot to answer for. Our two guests from BBC Leeds TV and radio were put on a last minute three-line-whip to attend an election planning meeting and couldn’t make our event. Fortunately, BBC Radio Leeds managing editor Sanjiv Buttoo came back the following week to give a frank and informative talk to anyone interested in a career in radio.

The inspiring message that came out of it is that, although journalism is a tough industry to work in, finding jobs is definitely possible for anyone who’s determined and hard-working enough. The consistent advice was that it’s not only about getting a good degree, essential as that is, it’s also about grabbing any work opportunities you can so that your CV stands out.


The plan is to make this an annual event – because personal contact is a great way to find that all-important first break.

“From an industry perspective, this event has created stronger links with high profile organisations and has demonstrated the importance that Leeds Beckett is placing on developing job ready graduates,” said Maria Dobrzanska, Employer Engagement Consultant at Leeds Beckett, “Initial indications show that work experience opportunities for students have already been created as a direct consequence of this event.”

By the way, we find – year in, year out – that the students who do well both on the course and after the course are those who engage most with this kind of thing.

Separated at birth


Achieving Excellence Awards

Now, some trumpet blowing for our staff. The university’s “Achieving Excellence” awards were held on the 20th of March and though our Business School did very well, our subject group did even better!

Journalism admin Mark Panter was shortlisted for “Excellence in Customer Service” and was highly commended. He chose to miss the event and go to a gig though.

And, writing in the third person, Karl Hodge was highly commended in the category of Course Leader. Well done me! We mean, well done Karl! You have earned the six weeks lying down in a dark room that you so desperately crave.

Karl looking more embarrassed than the occasion called for.

Karl looking more embarrassed than the occasion called for.

The big winner of the evening was subject group leader for PR and Journalism, Ioannis Kostopoulos, who took home the top prize in the “Transformational Leadership” category. It was very well deserved.

We all had our photos taken with Harry Gration which was the highlight of our entire lives to date.

Sean’s book chapter

BA Journalism tutor and MSc Journalism course leader Sean Dodson found the time to write an entire book chapter last year. The anthology Last Words?: How Can Journalism Survive the Decline of Print? contains Sean’s piece Baiting the Reader; Identifying the Newspaper Version of Clickbait.

Published at the end of December it only just missed our last newsletter, but the chapter (and the book it appears in) are essential reading for all students of journalism and particularly second years studying Futures (keep that in mind, current first years). Available now where all good academic books are sold.

Class of 2017

It’s the end of the semester for everyone, but for our third year group it’s the end of their time at Leeds Beckett University.

Finishing your degree is bittersweet. You’re saying goodbye to friends, fun times and the hedonism that only three years worth of three day weeks can provide. Now you have to put away childish things and get down to some serious adulting. On the other hand, you’ve now got a degree! It’s the beginning of the rest of your life.

We asked our third years to give us a quote that summed up their philosophy in life. Some of them didn’t get back to us, so we chose quotes for them… See if you can spot which are which.





Anam Azeem

“No, no. No, no, no, no. No, no, no, no. No, no, no, no. No, no there’s no limit” – There’s No Limit, 2 Unlimited

Claudia Ballester

“The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” – Unknown

Fatima Banglawala

“Laters, baby.” – Christian Grey, Fifty Shades of Grey

Holly Beattie

If we can find the money to kill people, we can find the money to help people.” – Tony Benn





Lottie Brooke
“Dalé” – Mr. Worldwide

Henry Burkinshaw
“I could agree with you but then we’d both be wrong.” – Harvey Specter, Suits

Joe Burn

“No wonder everybody’s lined up, trying to get into it. It beats working.” – David Carr

Catrina Butler

“Go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over.” – Shaun, Shaun of the Dead





Phillipa Challis

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Naomi Cotham

“I am 100% certain that I am 0% sure of what I am going to do.” – Chris Traeger, Parks and Recreation

Oliver Dixon

“There are three kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those who can’t.” – Unknown

Stephen Garvey

“There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes.” – The Doctor





Kennedy Grainger

“In my experience there isn’t a problem that can’t be solved by getting really, really drunk” – Nathan, Misfits

Ana Hoyos

“You’re not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.” – Dean Martin

Joe Jackson

“Living is more like wrestling than dancing.” – Marcus Aurelius

Fayrouz Khallad

“I don’t think I’d have been in such a hurry to reach adulthood if I’d known the whole thing was going to be ad-libbed.” – Bill Watterson





Hannah Kirk

“It’s only the hairs on a gooseberry, that stop it from being a grape.” – Victorian Nursery Rhyme

Alicia Lansom

“Totus mundus agit histrionem.” – motto of the Globe Theatre, 1859

Megan Packer

“Brennan: Did we just become best friends?

Dale: Yep!”

– Brennan and Dale, Stepbrothers

Jessica Pickard

“Brennan: Do you wanna do Karate in the garage?

Dale: Yep!”

– Brennan and Dale, Stepbrothers





Ayesha Nazmeen

“If you let people’s perception of you dictate your behaviour, you will never grow as a person.” – Mr Feeney, Boy Meets World.

Lee Prouse

“You were only meant to blow the bloody doors off.” – Charlie Croker, The Italian Job

Leyla Rose

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing” – T.S. Eliot

Josh Shafei

 “Did you ever hear the tragedy of Darth Plagueis the wise?” – Sheev Palpatine, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith





Rebecca Stein

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou”

Sophie Turner

“I just dig dancing.” – Marc Bolan

Bethany Vaughan

“The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.” – Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh

Zoe Wright

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt (again)

We held the “End of the Course” awards for our third years on the 12th of May. If you couldn’t be there, these were the results:

Ray of Sunshine

Best Editor (Magazine)

Winner: Fatima Banglawala

Winner: Megan Packer

Hidden Hero


Special mentions: Anam Azeem, Phillipa Challis

Winner: Holly Beattie

Winner: Fairouz Khallad

Keenest Student


Special mention: Lee Prouse

Special mention: Oliver Dixon

Winner: Megan Packer

Winner: Josh Shafei

Coolest Student


Winner: Joe Burn

Winner: Hannah Kirk

Best Presenter

Journalist in the making

Winner: Henry Burkinshaw

Winner: Fayrouz Khallad

The series may be over for our 3rd years, but for BA Journalism, this is just the season finale. Next year, we’ll continue our adventures with cast members new and old (some older than others). There’ll be highs and lows, drama and comedy, laughter and tears. Most of you will make it triumphantly to your final episode, but the script’s not been written yet.

Let’s work on that together, next year.

Until September, hasta la vista, babies.

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