Wednesday, February 22, 2006

First Journalism Leaders Programme residential gets enthusiastic 'thumbs up'

The verdict was unanimous: The first residential week of the new Journalism Leaders Programme was a great success.

An analysis of questionnaires to participants- who joined the professional development course from news organisations in Africa, Asia and Europe - shows that everyone was ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with the overall experience. The key to that, according to participants, was relevant content and stimulating discussions with colleagues and presenters.

“Great variety. Huge thought gone into it. Excellent presenters,” wrote one respondent when asked what they liked most about the experience. “Discussions, sharing of experiences and ideas,” wrote another. “Leaving on a high. Privilege to attend,” noted a third.

Presenters, too, gave the programme a ‘thumbs up’. “Very lively and stimulating!” is how one discussion leader described the week, which included extensive discussion of a specially-commissioned case study on convergence at Nordjyke Medier in Denmark.

The on-campus residential week formed part of the first module of the course, which is offers modules in three 10-week blocks and blends face-to-face sessions with extensive online discussion and support.

In addition to the core faculty, participants also heard from:

  • Dan Gillmor, author of We the Media. A former US newspaperman, he is one of the web’s leading advocates of grassroots journalism.
  • Pete Clifton, Editor of BBC News Interactive, responsible for one of the web’s most successful news sites.
  • Cath Hearne, editor of BBC London’s nightly news programme and was at the helm on July 7th, a day in which some of the most vivid images of the London bombings were contributed by members of the public.
  • John Fray, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Journalists, which represents 35000 journalists in the UK and Ireland.
  • And Mike Ward, author of Journalism Online and head of the journalism department at UCLAN.
What advice do participants have for other considering joining the programme? “Read the pack [of materials sent to you before the residential session]. Be prepared to be challenged, stretched, puzzled, but over all have fun!”

Applications for the September 2006 intake are currently being accepted. Visit the course website or contact course leader François Nel at for more information.