UCLan’s ground-breaking journalism programme to welcome senior newsroom leaders in 2024



More than 20 senior editors from around the globe will make up the 2024 cohort of the prestigious Journalism Innovation and Leadership (JIL) Programme at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The 22 participants of the flagship programme, which is sponsored by the Google News Initiative (GNI) with further support from FT Strategies, Chrysalis Transformations and Media Lab Jordan, hail from seven countries across three continents and work in senior roles for a broad range of media organisations, from national broadcasters and news publishers to new digital start-ups. The Class of 2024 comprises 10 women and 12 men.

The programme offers a 30-week part-time, postgraduate certificate and a two-year master of arts course that have been co-designed by a team of practise-led academics and innovative industry leaders to foster the next generation of diverse news media leaders.

They also become part of the JILeaders Community, our network of of media professionals from across the globe.

“The Class of 2024 are a group restless, forward thinking journalism decision makers from a variety of organisations,  ranging from independent digital native publishers to major multinational media players. Whatever their roles, whatever their operating contexts, th have one thing in common: a passion for strengthening the journalism industry and ensuring it will support their communities into the future. They also recognise that to achieve their full potential, they need to make time to invest in themselves.
“In this the fourth year of the programme, we know they will learn a great deal from each other as well from the expertise of the programme’s tutors and industry mentors.”
Dr François Nel, Reader in Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UCLan and director of the programme

Beginning in January, the programmes will run concurrently and be taught entirely online to make the course more accessible, with the option of attending two intensive learning blocks in person at UCLan’s Preston campus or online.

Participants include Muhyadin Roble, Head of the BBC News Somali Service; Sophie Perry, Founder of the LGBTQ+ Journalism Network; Juliana Penha, Founder editor of Migrant Women Press, and Dion Jones, Editor at Media Isle of Man.

“Starting the Journalism Leadership and Innovation course at UCLan, I see the urgent need for change, innovation, and leadership as journalism undergoes significant shifts. In this digital age, being adaptable isn’t just a choice –  it’s a must to stay in the game.
“This course is a chance to learn from experts, team up with fellow learners and create an environment where leadership and innovation can really flourish. I’m excited to be part of this journey, doing my bit to make sure the future of journalism is both powerful and forward-thinking.”
Muhyadin Roble, head of the BBC News Somali Service

“I am extremely excited to join the 2024 cohort and undertake the work to develop as a journalism leader. Journalism is a dynamic and ever changing sector which has to continually adapt to meet the needs and expectations of readers.
“Key advancements can only ever come from innovation, thus I am so looking forward to working with the academics and my fellow peers to address the issues the industry is facing and explore new and exciting ways of working.”
Sophie Perry, founder of the LGBTQ+ Journalism Network

Thanks to ongoing support from the GNI and new funding from FT Strategies, Chrysalis Transformations and Media Lab Jordan, 20 of this year’s cohort have been granted scholarships. The GNI also helps to facilitate the industry mentoring programme by offering key network connections and providing access to a pioneering approach and practice across the news industry. Chrysalis’ founder Jeremy Clifford is also the programme’s head of mentoring, while Media Lab Jordan founder Lara Ayoub is a previous participant and is returning to UCLan next year to begin a PhD.

“FT Strategies is very proud to be supporting this initiative that is truly driving media innovation and diversity in journalism. We look forward to welcoming new ideas on how to build long-term growth in the sector from this next cohort of experts.”
Lisa MacLeod, Director and Head of EMEA at FT Strategies

“We hope the next cohort of participants will benefit from studying with UCLan and contribute towards the growing alumni of industry professionals who have completed the course. We’re grateful to the expert trainers and mentors who’ve made this possible. We look forward to seeing the university build for the future and provide opportunities for journalists from across the industry.”

Matt Cooke, Head of Google News Lab

“It has never been more crucial to support journalists, media experts, and leaders of change than it is today. As a women’s rights advocate and career journalist, I have unwavering certainty that the Journalism Innovation & Leadership Programme at UCLan will contribute to our collective mission of bringing change to our world. By sponsoring a fellow JILeader through The Media Lab, I aspire to advance our industry one journalist at a time.” 

Lara Ayoub

All participants are paired with a senior industry mentor, from organisations including FT Strategies, WAN-IFRA and Reach Plc to enable them to widen their network and learn from experts in their field.

“The mentoring sessions have proven to contribute hugely to the value of the programme, with 90% of participants on the current course saying it has helped them to grow in confidence as leaders of change.
“We have assembled an impressive group of industry leaders and thinkers who happily give up their time to support the programme and share their knowledge and experience, while also learning from the participants.”

Jeremy Clifford

Find out more about the Journalism Innovation and Leadership Programme or email jileaders@uclan.ac.uk

The UCLan Journalism Innovation and Leadership (JIL) Programme class of 2024:

Ghada Ammar: Jordanian journalist and News Anchor at AlMamlaka TV

Beth Ashton: Head of Audience Strategy, The Independent, UK

Edson Caldas: Section Editor on Reuters digital team, one of the authors of the Reuters Daily Briefing newsletter, UK Ex-Twitter

Joe Cawthorn: Content Strategist at National World, UK

Jem Collins:  Director and founder of social enterprise Journo Resources, UK

Divine Dube: Managing Director at Zimbabwe Centre for Media and Information Literacy, and leads The Citizen Bulletin and The Republic News

Mike Findlay-Agnew: Chief Executive of the International Network of Street Papers (INSP)

Pete Gavan: Senior Editor at Bristol Live. Previously Editor at the Oxford Mail and Swindon Advertiser, UK

Lea Gerber: Head of marketing and special projects, Media24 TV, South Africa 

Alistair Houghton: Editor of BusinessLive at Reach plc, UK

Dion Jones: Editor at Media Isle of Man, UK. Previously brand editor for the North Wales Daily Post and North Wales Live

Marina Milad: Egyptian digital journalist and lecturer specialising in digital storytelling

Harun Momanyi: Award-winning journalist and media entrepreneur from Nairobi, Kenya

Fridah Naliaka: Kenyan journalist, working as a Digital Sub-editor under Royal Media Services

Juliana Penha: Founder editor of Migrant Women Press

Sophie Perry: Award-winning journalist and founder of the LGBTQ+ Journalism Network, a first-of-its-kind community for LGBTQ+ journalists

Andy Pierce: Audience Engagement Editor for DN Media Group in Oslo

Muhyadin Roble: Head of the BBC News Somali Service, previously editor of Radio Ergo – International Media Support (IMS)

Claire Simpson: Deputy Editor of Northern Ireland-based investigative news website The Detail

Anca Voinea: International Editor of Co-operative News

Ken Wekesa: Award-winning journalist and podcast producer with Kenya Broadcasting Corporation

Tim West: Editor of Pioneers Post, the news platform for social entrepreneurs

Find out more about the JILeaders Community of journalism leaders and innovators