The Newsletter – 2018

BA Journalism at Leeds Beckett comes to a close for another year and it feels like your course team has only just stopped wading through all your stories, essays, reflections and showreels. The exam boards were an internet minute ago, and then… the preparations for next year have already begun.

Here’s what happened with the course in 2017/18


There’s always something happening behind the scenes and this year it was the revalidation of BA Journalism. All degree courses at Leeds Beckett are reviewed every five or six years, then tweaked or redesigned. It was a very long and fraught process – a process that began way back in semester two of 2017, that continued through two lots of student consultation, documentation production and two revalidation events.

Finally, on May 16th this year, after a rigourous full day meeting to discuss the documentation with senior university staff and seasoned industry experts, we got the all clear. We now have a streamlined version of the course that will roll out to first years from September 2018.

Don’t worry, you won’t be missing out… The new version of the course is very much like the one you’re doing now. It will just be a bit easier for us to manage! We’ve listened to your feedback over the years and you’ll see the benefits immediately, I hope, as we incorporate many of the discussed improvements into the course as soon as we can.

I’d like to formally thank our brilliant course team for all the help they gave me –  helping me to fight for a result that has given us the best course for our students.


The sparsely attended "End of the Course Awards". Barbara still has all that Prosecco in her filing cabinet.

The sparsely attended “End of the Course Awards”. Barbara still has all that Prosecco in her filing cabinet.

Work Experience

Wow! Our third years have been really busy, getting work experience in all sorts of amazing places. Reuben Young, Haley Welsh, Sam Cropper, Shin Yiing Lee and James Smith all did stints at the Yorkshire Post. Tia Buckle completed her work experience with Radio Aire. Lucy Bannister, Olivia Kirk, Sonya Karimkhanzand and Amy Irvine all worked at ITV in various roles. Joe Chorlton did a week at Tameside Radio and Abigail Leith, Dominic Cazaux, James Smith and (we think) Alex Morris worked with Leeds Hacks alumnus Robyn Vinter at The Overtake.

It is, without doubt, our most successful cohort for work experience EVER with several students going straight into jobs as a direct result of their activities, including Isaac Rigby-Nelson who’s already started at the North West Evening mail and Rebecca Rogers who is now freelancing for NME after her work experience with them. Some of the very best journalists in the business got their start on NME, so we couldn’t be more proud.

Emily Kelly got quite a scoop while working at the Derbyshire Times where she helped cover a foiled terror plot in Chesterfield when a hidden bomb factory was found. And that wasn’t her only byline.


Intrepid reporter Emily Kelly deduces that a man caught with cannabis is a "drug user".

Intrepid reporter Emily Kelly deduces that a man caught with cannabis is a “drug user”.

First and second years, you have this to live up to! Start looking for those work experience opportunities now – everyone has to do 15 days before the end of the course, and it comes around faster than you expect!


We said last year that we wanted to make our “Meet the Industry” event an annual thing. Thanks to Barbara Henderson and the careers team at Leeds Beckett, we ran the second of these successful “speed-dating” afternoons this year and it was an even bigger success than the first.

Students from all years took the opportunity to talk directly with reps from ITN, Global Radio, the Yorkshire Post and others.

The feedback was once again great – but do please tell us what you’d like to see from future events like this. Who do you want to be able to show your CV to?


Annika seems unconvinced by Sky Bet recruiter and alumni, Fiona Barker

Annika seems unconvinced by Sky Bet recruiter and alumni, Fiona Barker


Some of our alumni have been in touch to let us know how they’re doing. Ismail Mulla goes from strength to strength at the Yorkshire Post, landing a recent interview Michael Vaughan (who is apparently a famous cricketer). Many of you know Robyn Vinter whose website The Overtake has gone great guns this year (and which recently got a new Associate Editor – our own Abigail Leith). Fairouz Khallad is teaching journalism in her home of Khobar, Saudi Arabia.

Our top alum this year has to be Mollie “MC” Hammond who is all over YouTube in her role as Beauty Writer at  Dare magazine. And then she was only shortlisted for “Rising Star” in the British Media Awards. Flipping heck!

Mollie is thinking about the transition of the traditional Public Sphere as described by Habermas to fragmented digital domains as she presents seven ways to use glitter

Millennium Square

A huge development, which all our second and third years will now know about, is that Leeds Hacks News started streaming direct to Millennium Square this academic year. All our broadcast team played their part brilliantly, but kudos goes to Chian Gatewood for starting the ball rolling and liaising with the marketing department at Leeds Beckett University to give you all this brilliant opportunity.

You may also have caught Chian’s newsdays video playing on the big screen in Millennium Square too – starring some of our students and glamorous staff.

Chian's newsdays video plays in Millennium Square to an audience of thousands

Chian’s newsdays video plays in Millennium Square to an audience of thousands three

Awards Galore

You will probably all know that Chian was shortlisted this year in the “Unsung Hero” category at the Golden Robe awards. There were a staggering 160 nominations from all over the university and to get to the short list alone is a huge achievement.

Chian topped that, of course, winning the award outright on the 30th of May, where she attended the Golden Robes ceremony. Nice one, Chian!

We also have a record number of students entering their work into the BJTC awards this year. At last count, Annika Jones, Sonya Karimkhanzand, Shin Yiing Lee, Lucy Bannister and Amy Irvine have all entered and, we hope, some will be shortlisted.

Speaking of awards, we had another batch of students win prestigious Print Futures Awards. The lucky ones I know about were Tom Lockey, Amy Irvine and Sophie Atkinson. If your name’s not here, that’s because you didn’t let us know!

We leave the best until last with the End of the Course Awards – easily the most sought after and valuable awards in the entire university. Joe Chorlton won the main prize “Journalist in the Making” – with Annika Jones getting a special mention. The rest of the prizes were allocated as follows:



Rebecca Rogers

Ray of Sunshine
Winner:Isaac Rigby-Nelson

Honourable:Hassan Sidat
Hidden Hero
Shin Yiing Lee
Best Presenter
Sonya Karimkhanzand
Honourable:Charlotte Jatana
Best Magazine Editor
Winner: James Smith
Keenest Student
Winner:Oliver Kelly
Coolest Student

Tom Lockey
Annika Jones
Reuben Young
Honourable: Joe Chorlton



It’s been an emotional few weeks for me, looking through all your work. All I can say at the end of it is – if I never have to look at B footage of a student driving to an interview, it will be too soon. But, of course, there’s always next year.

Our graduating third year produced some of the best work we’ve seen on BA Journalism – especially in Journalism Project. Let that be a challenge to our up and coming second years because, I won’t beat around the bush, you’re the third year now!

To the students who are graduating we wish you all the very best of luck and ask that you please stay in touch. You will go on to adventures new and we, your course team, will be here. We’ll be living through the laughter and tantrums, the highs and the lows of student life. We are perpetually in the final year of a degree, worrying about your marks, whether you have ethical clearance yet and if six is a good number of primary sources for a long-form feature (it isn’t). We will remember all of you.

We will meet again at graduation – but think of these as my final words rather than whatever rubbish I say to you on the 18th of July.

Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.


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