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UCLan project awarded £64,000 from Google to support ‘news entrepreneurs’

November 30th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Awards, Data

The University of Central Lancashire’s Journalist Leaders Programme has secured €75,000 (£64,000) of Google funding to support “news entrepreneurs” after being named as one of three winners of the International Press Institute’s News Innovation Contest.

The programme, founded by researcher, academic and consultant on newsroom and digital business innovation François Nel (pictured), will develop a project called Media and Digital Enterprise (MADE), to offer an “innovative training, mentoring and research programme”.

The funding awarded by IPI will be spent by the UCLan programme on working “to create sustainable news enterprises – whether for social or commercial purposes – by helping innovators”.

Nel told Journalism.co.uk MADE will “support the entire news ecosystem as we need innovation across the sector”.

He is now looking for people with entrepreneurial ideas who are interested in news innovation.

The other two winners of the contest are Internews Europe, a European non-profit organisation created in 1995 to help developing countries establish and strengthen independent media organisations to support freedom of expression and freedom of access to information, alongside the World Wide Web Foundation, a Swiss public charity founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web.

In February Google announced it was awarding $2.7 million to the Vienna-based IPI for its contest.

There were round 300 applicants, reduced first to 74 and then to 26 before the three winners were selected by a panel of seven judges, including journalism professor and commentator Jeff Jarvis.

The winners of the total fund of $600,000 were announced yesterday; Nel heard this morning how much the MADE project is being allocated, telling Journalism.co.uk “it’s fantastic to have support for news innovations”.

Nel and others working on the Leaders Programme have been working with news organisations, including Johnston Press, Trinity Mirror and the Guardian Media Group, looking at digital processes and innovative business models.

MADE allows us to pull those strands together and work with directly with news entrepreneurs. And we’re really excited about the possibility of putting this to the test.

Nel explained that MADE will “deliver good skills for a whole range of news start-ups” and he is now “looking to work with individuals, groups and companies, who are interested in news innovation” to get involved.

The project will help develop new skills and test the business plans, offering bespoke support to those with entrepreneurial ideas.

We’re looking to support five good people and good ideas for at least three months so that we can give those ideas legs.

The project includes various partners that were part of the bid, including one to build content and one to build communities.

Developers at ScraperWiki will be working with the project to develop innovations in data journalism and build content. Another partner is Sarah Hartley who is now working on the Guardian’s social, local, mobile project n0tice, with this area of the project focusing on building communities.

MADE will also involve Nel’s colleagues at Northern Lights, an award-winning business incubation space at UCLan.

The project also has an international element, involving groups in Turkey, drawing on Nel’s connections in the country.

Nel explained why the funding and ongoing support from IPU is vital.

In the digital news media space the cyber world is littered with start ups. The corpses of news start ups are every here. What we really need to do is help news entrepreneurs stay up and that’s what we are trying to do here.

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Journalism students, put down your pints and get into student media

August 3rd, 2010 | 12 Comments | Posted by in Comment, Training

Joseph Stashko is a journalism student at UCLan and co-editor of hyperlocal news site Blog Preston.

So, you’re studying journalism at university. You’ve paid your fees, bought a copy of McNae’s law, and at the end of three years slogging away at intros, pyramid writing and shorthand, you’ll become a journalist, right?

Obviously it’s a naive and unrealistic view. Getting a job in journalism is more difficult now than ever. And yet the industry saw a 24 per cent surge in applications for journalism courses last year, many of them undergraduate. Clearly people still want to be journalists, and the idea of a vocational degree is still considered attractive.

Considering the uptake in journalism courses, student media offices should be bursting at the seams. So why are so many journalism students unwilling to contribute to student media outlets?

The University of Central Lancashire, home to the first formal journalism course in the UK, currently offers more than 20 undergraduate and postgraduate courses. It has legions of journalism students at various stages in their career, with a wide range of skills and ideas. Yet the student newspaper, Pluto, is run by a skeleton crew.

Pluto’s news editor David Stubbings is hoping to hoping to refresh and improve student media at UCLan by redesigning the fortnightly paper and website and improving the means of communication to students.

“I think a lot of students arrive at university very excited and want to try and do everything. They’ll maybe write a bit but then just lapse and do the bare minimum, especially in first year,” he said.

He pointed out that the blame for a poorly staffed student media also lies with the editors, who should be encouraging more students to participate to avoid an elitist environment.

“Those who are heavily involved must make an effort to attract more contributors and crucially keep them interested. I think there are a lot of students who fail at doing that, so when you see the same writers names appear again and again people start to think that there’s no point trying to get involved.”

The outlook is, admittedly, bleak for nascent journalists. With all that’s written about mass redundancies, newspaper profit going into freefall, and seasoned journalists being laid off, you’d forgive a journalism student for wanting to crawl back into halls and stay there.

But I’d suggest the opposite. Student media, if done well, can offer a forum to throw around ideas (no matter how far-fetched), collaborate with like minded people, and practice journalism that is probably far closer to the romantic ideal of a roving reporter than any entry level job.

Journalism students have a lot to offer in an industry that is constantly in a state of flux. While interning at a national newspaper, I recall pointing out to a senior editor how to integrate his articles into Twitter, engage the readers and help tell a story better with data visualisation and diagrams. Skills which my generation take for granted are still thought of as innovative by many senior journalists, and what students lack in experience they can make up for with imagination and a little creative nous.

Student media can, and should foster this. At worst it can be self indulgent, and have the best interests of its writers, not its readers, at heart. But at its best it can be a melting pot of new ideas, encouraging experimentation and unusual content, all the while in the stable incubation stage of higher education.

In this uncertain time, journalism students can hold the key to unlocking a lot of different possibilities for the future of the profession. So lose your inhibitions, put down your pints, and get involved in your student media.

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Did you lose your newspaper job? Help us with our survey

November 6th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses

A call to all journalists who have left newspaper jobs: Journalism.co.uk’s survey in collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) continues. We’ve had a good response so far, but we still need more data to make for a more informed study. Since we launched the project, even more UK redundancies have been announced; this week, for example, 17 were cut by Trinity Mirror (this time in Merseyside). Please help us by re-tweeting, blogging and forwarding the survey links to people you think may have been affected by the newspaper jobs cull sweeping Britain.

We want to know about your experiences of losing your job and how you have adapted in your personal and professional life since leaving the newspaper. We’re also considering the gap in knowledge and experience you have left behind.

The survey, which draws on work by colleagues in the US and the University of Kansas, is voluntary and confidential. Results cannot be attributed to a specific individual unless the individual chooses to reveal himself or herself. You also can refuse to answer any question. The survey will take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

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Take our survey: ‘What do UK journalists do after losing their jobs?’ #laidoffjournalist

October 13th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Job losses, Jobs, Journalism

Please spread these links by email, tweet, blog and word of mouth.

A new survey asking laid-off journalists what happens after the newsroom, was launched today by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and Journalism.co.uk.

Journalists who have left newspapers in the UK are invited to contribute to the study, led by François Nel, who runs the Journalism Leaders Programme at UCLAN.

We want to know about your experiences of losing your job and how you have adapted in your personal and professional life since leaving the newspaper. We’re also considering the gap in knowledge and experience you have left behind.

The survey, which draws on work by colleagues in the US and the University of Kansas, is voluntary and confidential. Results cannot be attributed to a specific individual unless the individual chooses to reveal himself or herself. You also can refuse to answer any question. The survey will take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

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Open09: An event for the digital and creative sectors

October 2nd, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Events

In a break with the traditional conference format, Open09, a new event from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), will let attendees set the agenda beforehand.

The free event aims to ‘explore, inform and create change in the Digital and Creative industries sector’ by running a series of group discussions and barcamps on relevant topics, including media and journalism.

The event is sponsored by the BBC College of Journalism and will take place between Novermber 16-17 at UCLAN’s Sandbox facility.

For more information and to help shape the agenda, visit the Open09 website or follow the event on Twitter.

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JLPF: Tweets from the Digital Editors Network and Journalism Leaders Forum

February 3rd, 2009 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Events

@journalism_live, amongst others, will be tweeting coverage from today’s Digital Editors Network event and Journalism Leaders Programme Forum hosted by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).

There’s a great line-up, including BBC business editor Robert Peston, Guardian blogs editor Kevin Anderson and former LA Times interactive editor Eric Ulken.

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