First Journalism Innovation and Leadership MA participants celebrate graduation

Andrew Kilmurray being congratulated on receiving his Journalism Innovation and Leadership MA by Vice Chancellor Graham Baldwin (Photo: Sachin Rana)

The editor of three UK local news sites has become one of the first graduates of the University of Central Lancashire’s flagship Journalism Innovation and Leadership MA.

Andrew Kilmurray, editor of St Helens Star, Wirral Globe and Leigh Journal, graduated on Tuesday alongside fellow MA students Hamandishe Saburi, editor-in-chief at The Financial Gazette in Zimbabwe; and Guthrie Munyuki, editor-in-chief of Daily News in Zimbabwe.

The occasion also marked the 60th anniversary of UCLan’s journalism programme in Preston, which is the oldest programme of its kind in the UK and continues to be ranked among the best.

Also handed their scrolls by Vice Chancellor Graham Baldwin were Journalism Innovation and Leadership Post Graduate Diploma participants Amina Bedjaoui-Chaouche, editor at Radio Algeria; Nicola Adam, publishing editor at National World; independent media consultant Lara Ayoub; Rhiannon Davies, founder of Greater Govanhill Community Magazine; Laura Elvin, head of news at agency SWNS; Rachel Sibley, managing producer at Amazon-owned podcast creator Wondery; and Ed Walker, until recently audience and content director (audience growth) at Reach Plc.

Left to right: Rachel Sibley, Laura Elvin, Rhiannon Davies, Amina Bedjaoui-Chaouche and Lara Ayoub awaiting their graduation ceremony (Photo: Sachin Rana)

Andrew said: “This is an outstanding course that is challenging, demanding and enjoyable in equal measure.

“It allowed me and fellow participants to take a step back from the ‘coal face’ of newsroom work and find space to look, with a wide lens, at the many key questions surrounding journalism before zooming in on areas of my own work where I could reflect upon strategic objectives and innovation.

“The learning experience allowed me to reflect upon myself as an editor and leader – and examine how I could improve – while the practical side of the course strengthened my confidence to lead and assess innovation projects.”

BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire met with the Journalism Innovation and Leadership graduates after receiving an honorary fellowship of the university. Left to right: Prof Peter Lloyd, dean of Arts & Media, Rachel Sibley, Rhiannon Davies, Victoria Derbyshire, course leader Dr François Neil, Amina Bedjaoui-Chaouche, Lara Ayoub, Laura Elvin, Nicola Adam, Andrew Kilmurray, Ed Walker (Photo: Sachin Rana)

The programme also links its participants with a senior industry mentor, as well as featuring talks and workshops with a range of high profile experts.

Andrew said: “The diverse network of industry figures that the course tapped into from across the globe also offered rich and varied insights that broadened my understanding of what it takes to become better-equipped to lead editorial teams through periods of change.

“I would highly recommend this course to those aspiring to become the next generation of leaders in journalism and to established newsroom leaders who want to grow and keep pace with the fast-changing industry.”

The JIL Programme, which is supported by the Google News Initiative (GNI), is a 30-week part-time, postgraduate certificate course that has been designed by a team of academics and innovative industry leaders.

Since its launch in 2020, 60 media professionals from countries across the world have studied on the programme.

Applications for next year’s programme are due to open shortly. For updates, follow JILeaders on Twitter or visit the Journalism Innovation and Leadership page on the UCLan website.