Two additional scholarship places available on UCLan’s flagship journalism programme



Lara Ayoub, founder of Jordan-based The Media Lab, and leadership coach Jeremy Clifford, have donated scholarships to UCLan’s Journalism Innovation and Leadership programme

Two new scholarship places are available for the University of Central Lancashire’s journalism leadership programme thanks to the generosity of media consultants Jeremy Clifford and Lara Ayoub.

Jordan-based Lara, who graduated from the Journalism Innovation and Leadership programme this summer, is ‘paying it forward’ by endowing a participant’s tuition fees in 2024.

Her generous gesture was followed by another donation of a scholarship – from the programme’s head of mentoring and media consultant Jeremy Clifford.

This takes the number of scholarship places for the Journalism Innovation and Leadership programme to 17, including 15 previously announced by Google News Initiative.

Applications for the postgraduate certificate course are now open with early applications encouraged by 30 September 2023. Exceptional applications for the latest scholarships will still be considered until 30 October, with the programme beginning in January 2024.

Find out more about the Journalism Innovation and Leadership programme

Lara is a digital media strategist, trainer, gender and media consultant with more than 20 years of experience. She is the founder of community-interest organisation The Media Lab in Jordan, as well as co-founder of SADAQA, an organisation tackling gender inequality in the labour market.

She said: “The Journalism, Innovation and Leadership programme sparked my passion, leading to the creation of The Media Lab – a community-interest organisation bridging the gap between media and the public.

“Instead of investing in marketing, I found value in paying it forward by sponsoring an emerging leader to take this exceptional programme and experience the same opportunity that once transformed my journey.”

Jeremy Clifford, second from right, with the current participants of the JILeaders programme. Also pictured is programme director Dr François Nel and UCLan Leader-in-Residence Lisa MacLeod, Head of Publishing at FT Strategies (Image: Wayne Myers/Karl Hopkinson/Image Group)

Jeremy is a certified executive-level coach and founder of Chrysalis Transformations, a training, coaching and leadership consultancy for leaders and managers.

He has more than 30 years’ experience working in media, leading digital change in newsrooms and managing the complex transition from print to digital reader-revenue access models.

He is also the co-founder of The AI Collective – a training and consultancy partnership – helping newsrooms to understand how to integrate Artificial Intelligence into their workflows.

He said: “Having been associated with the programme for two years, I have seen what it can achieve in developing great leadership skills and, just as importantly, confidence in people to lead and innovate.

“I have had the privilege to work in leadership positions within the media industry for 20 years and when I launched my own leadership development and coaching business I was determined to support people starting out on their leadership journeys.

“This programme meets all the criteria I was looking for, which is why Chrysalis has decided to sponsor someone who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to benefit from the programme.”

Dr François Nel, director of the Journalism Innovation and Leadership programme (Image: Sachin Rana)

Dr François Nel, Reader in Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UCLan and director of the programme, said: “Lara’s and Jeremy’s generous donations are a huge show of support for work we’re doing to foster a diverse, global community of talented and committed journalists that have the competence, the confidence and the continued support and inspiration that are required to lead the innovation our industry needs now more than ever.

“Lara’s experiences of studying at UCLan inspired her to ensure another journalist is able to follow in her footsteps and benefit from the critical innovation and leadership insights shared by our team of pragmatic academics and thoughtful industry executives.

“Meanwhile, as the programme’s head of mentoring, Jeremy not only contributes in the classroom but has a crucial role in working with both the participants and our Board of Industry Advisors and mentors.

“Seeing their personal investment in both time and hard cash shows a commitment to our wider mission is both humbling and inspirational.”

Lara Ayoub at her graduation in May 2023 (Image: Sachin Rana)

Since the launch of the JIL Programme in 2020, it has been completed by 60 media professionals from 12 different countries thanks to the support of both GNI and International Media Support (IMS), the Denmark-based media development agency. The group of 34 women and 26 men bring with them a wide range of media experience from national broadcasters and news publishers to digital media start-ups and technology companies.

Recent graduates of the programme include Andrew Kilmurray, editor of St Helens Star, Wirral Globe and Leigh Journal; Amina Bedjaoui-Chaouche, editor at Radio Algeria; Rhiannon Davies, founder of Greater Govanhill Community Magazine in Scotland; Guthrie Munyuki, editor-in-chief of Daily News in Zimbabwe; and Laura Elvin, head of news at UK agency SWNS.

The two-module personal development programme will be taught online via a weekly seminar and three week-long intensive learning blocks, two of which can be attended in person at UCLan’s Preston campus. Participants typically require an additional five hours per week for research and reading.

Participants are paired with senior industry mentors from organisations such as FT Strategies, Reuters, Bloomberg, WAN-IFRA and Reach Plc to enable them to widen their networks and learn from experts in their field.

More information about the JILeaders Programme can be found here.