Journalism Innovation and Leadership programme 2022 attracts participants from around the world



The second cohort of participants for the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) prestigious Journalism Innovation and Leadership (JILeaders) Programme has been announced, featuring a line-up of media professionals from around the world.

The class of 2022 is made up of 18 participants from nine countries on three continents stretching across 12 time zones, from Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, to Europe. The group of 11 women and seven men bring with them a wide range of media experience from national broadcasters and news publishers to digital media start-ups and technology companies.

The 30-week part-time, postgraduate certificate, course has been co-designed by a team of pragmatic academics and thoughtful industry leaders to foster the next generation of diverse news media leaders and innovators.

The JILeaders Programme continues to be supported by the Google News Initiative (GNI), which provides funding for 12 scholarship places and to facilitate the associated mentoring programme. Three of these scholarships are specifically open to Society of Editors (SoE) member organisations and the IMS (International Media Support) has also pledged funding for two additional scholarships.

Ed Walker, Audience and Content Director (Regionals) at Reach plc, is a UCLan alumnus who has been awarded a GNI scholarship for the Programme.

He said: “Journalism is a fast-paced and rapidly changing industry. I’m looking forward to joining the latest cohort on the course and getting stuck in on learning new things, challenging my thinking and ensuring I’ve got the skills, and vision, for leading newsrooms as we continue to find new and innovative ways to bring local journalism to people across the UK.

“I arrived at UCLan as a fresh-faced 18-year-old to study journalism in 2004, so it will be strange heading back – many years later – and juggling this study alongside the day job. But I like a challenge and having spoken to others who have done the course over the years then the juggle is well worth it and I’ve very grateful to the GNI for the scholarship to give me the opportunity to return to study and continue to develop myself as an editor and leader.”

This unique learning opportunity will allow me to explore and practice new innovative skills that shape the future of journalism today. I cannot wait!

 International Media Support scholar Lara Ayoub

One of the three SoE scholars, Head of News Content Discovery for South West News Service (SWNS) Laura Elvin-Knight, said: “At SWNS we’re already spending lots of time discussing – and coming up with ideas and solutions for – the future of the industry. I can’t wait to build on those conversations in a larger and external forum, which I’m very hopeful the course will offer.”

Lara Ayoub, Digital Media Strategist and Communications Specialist at the United Nations, is an IMS scholar. She said: “I am thrilled and grateful to have received a scholarship for the Journalism Innovation and Leadership programme at UCLan for 2022. This unique learning opportunity will allow me to explore and practice new innovative skills that shape the future of journalism today. I cannot wait!”

The Programme boasts an impressive roster of senior executives who mentor course participants, including Inga Thordar, Executive Editor of CNN Digital International, and Joanna Geary, Senior Director of Curation at Twitter, who is also an alumna of an earlier version of the programme.

Following on from the success of our first cohort, we’re keen to once again bring together a group of like-minded individuals who share a passion for pushing the industry forward, embracing digital transformation and supporting their communities. Like the participants before them, we have no doubt they will learn a great deal from each other alongside benefitting from the expertise of their tutors and mentors.

— Dr François Nel, Reader in Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UCLan and course leader

The class of 2022 will begin their JILeaders Programme course in January. For queries about future programmes and further scholarship opportunities, contact the course leader Dr François Nel.

The Journalism Innovation and Leadership Programme Class of 2021 are:

Nicola Adam, Editor of the Blackpool Gazette and Associate Editor of the Lancashire Post, UK.

Lara Ayoub, Digital media strategist, communications specialist at the UN and Co-founder of a Jordanian NGO, SADAQA, which advocates for an enabling work environment for women.

Ranoba Baoa, Managing Editor – Production at the Fiji Sun, the Pacific’s biggest newspaper.

Amina Bedjaoui Chaouche, Editor at Radio Algeria.

Rhiannon Davies, Founding Editor of the Greater Govanhill mangazine, Glasgow.

Laura Elvin-Knight, Head of News Content Discovery at the South West News Service, UK.

Hussein Melele, founder and Executive Director of Mulika Tanzania.

Maureen Mudi, Regional Coordinator at the Media Council of Kenya.

Churchill Otieno, Digital Editor at Nation Media Group and President of the Kenya Editors Guild.

Rachael Sibley, Podcast Lead for the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), Australia’s multicultural and multilingual broadcaster.

Jenna Verster, Night News Editor at News 24, South Africa.

Ed Walker, Audience and Content Director (Regionanls) at Reach Plc, UK.

Raymond Zarurai, Editor of CommuTalk, Ziimbabwe.

Aida Aslani, a journalist who loves working with data and new technologies.

Rachael Krishna, Trends Curator at Twitter, UK

Andrew Dagnell, Head of Newsgathering at ITV News, UK

Zweli Sibanda, Managing Director of 3TV, Zimbabwe’s first private television broadcaster.

Tendai Kamhungira, News Editor of the Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe.