Newsletter: Semester 1, 2015/16

December 11, 2015

It’s been a semester full of big changes for all of us on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University. Our new first years have settled in well, with an excellent turn-out during the first six weeks as the university piloted its new attendance monitoring scheme.

Year 2 enjoyed extended induction sessions. Well, some of year 2… You may have missed the day that three members of staff from Employability and Progression came in mob handed to talk about work experience, placement plans and brought along star Leeds Hacks graduate Fiona Gribben who’s now at Sky. Or there was the barnstorming session current student Raj Bains gave about freelancing for The Guardian and other outlets. If you did miss them, you’re poorer for it. We’re running more of those sessions next semester.

Year 3 plunged headlong into trial-by-newsdays this semester – the most practical of practical modules and a real test of your mettle. The result? Some of the smoothest running bulletins we’ve ever seen at Leeds Hacks. We’re proud to see that over a third of our students plan to produce broadcast based projects too. Those new facilities are going to get a real workout. Speaking of which…

Our new studios

Thanks to the hard graft of many people (special mentions go to our former Course Leader Jenny Kean and Facilities Officer Amy Brandreth) our brand new studios were ready for use at the beginning of the new semester.

Third year students have been using the new TV studio and gallery for their Newsdays module and feedback from module evaluations has all been positive, praising the new set-up for its ease of use. There’s some dispute about what it’s called though… The university calls it the “Media Suite”, our school calls it the “Journalism Suite”, but we’ll always know it as “the studio”.

Our favourite former AV Loans person Chian Gatewood is now our new Learning Technologist, which means that she looks after you guys and our new studio full time!

Chian is the tech boffin to go to with all your editing worries and exporting woes. She’s also been playing host to a seemingly never-ending procession of top people wanting to take a look at all our new toys, including the Dean of the Faculty, Christopher Prince, who was very taken with the dry run TV news day he saw.

BJTC accreditation

On 27 November, after a visit from the Broadcast Journalism Training Council that our Head of School described as “rigorous”, we were awarded a full year’s accreditation from the BJTC.

Second and third years met with the BJTC panel over a swanky buffet. Feedback from the panel suggested they were impressed with our student’s enthusiasm for the course.

Later in the day the chaps from the BJTC saw a TV news day bulletin go out live – and praised it for its “slickness”. 

What our students have been up to this semester:

  • Our students covered Leeds Business Week this year with Emily Kelly, Lee Prouse, and Lucy Chapman lending their not inconsiderable skills to the event.
  • The Mobo awards came to Leeds in November and our students were there to help out with social media, as runners and with on the spot interviews. Big up to  Conor Crozier, Sam Bradley, Emily Kelly, Lucy Chapman, Stephen Garvey, Ayesha Nazmeen, Kennedy Grainger and Sophie Turner
  • 3rd year Sam Bradley got a credit on Part Time tutor Les Rowley’s Made in Leeds documentary Leeds United: Away Days as an Assistant Producer. He even managed to get a scoop on the day from a reluctant interviewee.
  • On the 7th of December, students met with documentary maker David Hevey and showed him around the new studios.  Jade Chadwick, Fairouz Khallad, Anam Azeem, Claudia Ballester Manresa, Esme Eichhorn and Gerald Asante all helped in different ways on the day. Fairouz used iPhone app Periscope to broadcast David Hevey’s talk live – a first for Leeds Hacks!
  • If you tune in to Vale Radio on DAB or online on Saturdays between 10:00 and 13:00, you’ll hear Lee Francis (alias 2nd year student Lee Prouse) present his own show. Well done Lee!
  • 1st Year student Isaac Rigby-Nelson hit the ground running – with a work experience placement at ITV Yorkshire.
  • Former Leeds Hack Nassr Adris came runner-up in the BJTC awards for his short documentary “Do words hurt?” about media representation of muslims.
  • Holly Betsy Hill, an alumnus from last year, has just landed a role as Communications Officer at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. Her peer, and all-round good egg, Elliot Ryder has landed himself an editor’s job at  Ticket Arena. He’s always on the look-out for budding music writers to help out with content for the site. If that’s you:  
  • The meteoric rise of former Leeds Hack Lee Thomas Mason. He’s gone from a junior role on The Mirror to a new post as a Senior Sports Writer at Metro.
  • Speaking of alumni, Ismail Mulla, superstar business reporter and occasionally Leeds Beckett journalism lecturer, has been appointed as a permanent member of the Yorkshire Post business desk. Last year, Mr Mulla (that’s Ismail to you) won a year-long paid-internship at the Post, thanks to our ongoing relationship with The Printing Charity. Happily for us, and them, he was made permanent earlier this month. See what happens when you study hard and get a first from us? Not only that but Ismail still holds the Leeds Beckett record for FASTEST SHORTHAND SPEED OF ALL TIME.
  • Don’t forget. The Print Futures Prize. We had six winners of the £1500 award last year (that’s per winner), which made Journalism at Leeds Beckett, by far, the biggest winner (yay!). Entries for this year are open from January. For more info go to the Print Futures Prize website and profiles of last year’s winners.

Separated at birth

In the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest, Slovenia was represented by singer songwriter Maarya… OR was it our own Natasha Pilling?


Hack to the future
First class Leeds Hacks graduate Robyn Vinter has worked in some diverse roles since graduation – firstly as a reporter for Farmer’s Weekly and more recently for LondonLovesBusiness  

She also gets to test all the latest devices in her role as a tech journalist. Here she is trying out the latest in hoverboards for Gadgette.


Courting disaster
Second year Lee Prouse is, of course, a consummate professional – but we can’t embed the outtakes from Lee’s Media Law in Context newsday. They got a little rude.

Reporting on legal matters is a serious business, but this Leeds Hack found his performance interrupted by an unexpected musical accompaniment.

Here’s the moment Lee’s piece to camera was interrupted by a saxophone player outside Leeds Crown Court.



Lee also wins our special not-a-prize for most mentions in our newsletter this semester!

And finally…

Our staff have been winning awards again! Journalism admin and all-round top bloke Mark Panter won a coveted Golden Robe in the Hidden Hero category. It’s well deserved!

In the university’s Achieving Excellence awards, former BA Journalism course leader Jenny Kean won a special “highly commended” prize in the category Course Leader of the Year. Shhh… we suspect that Jenny actually won Course Leader of the Year outright…

Until next time – remember the wise words of Bill and Ted: Be excellent to each other. 

Happy holidays!



One thought on “Newsletter: Semester 1, 2015/16

  1. Jenny Kean

    Great to hear this news about students past and present. I’m coming in to watch a newsday in the new year, so I look forward to seeing you all in person and catching up.


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