Whether it was interviewing celebrities like Victoria Wood, hermits or bovine hairdressers, Caroline’s career in BBC Local Radio more than prepared her for the eclectic and demanding task of leading would-be journalists through their three-year degree course.
Caroline’s route to becoming a journalist began with writing stories for her school newsletter. After graduating from university she realised it was possible to combine her obsession for radio with a potential career in journalism when a week-long work placement in a radio station turned into 12 years!
Now in her tenth year at UCLan, Caroline recently moved on from leading the MA Broadcast Journalism and Foundation Entry courses and now leads the BA (Hons) degree in Journalism. It has the distinction of being the only undergraduate journalism course in the North West to be accredited by the prestigious National Council of Trainee Journalists (NCTJ), which makes up one of the two professional organisations who currently accredit the course – alongside the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC).
Caroline’s insight has enabled her course to remain innovative, evolving constantly to stay one-step ahead of the breakneck pace of change across the industry. Her teaching is focused on getting students trained and ready for a professional career in a hugely competitive field. The student experience is centred around “news days” – an exhilarating simulation of the challenges and pressures of a real-world industry news room.
Her graduates emerge from the course with a multifaceted skillset, having developed proficiency across the full gamut of content creation, production skills, editing and presenting. The experience equips them for successful careers working on printed and online publications, websites, radio productions, video content and live television broadcasts.
Caroline ensures that the course content is able to anticipate future trends in order to hone the talents of its students and graduates accordingly. At the end of the course they will be fully prepared for the contemporary environment of multimedia journalism, which in recent years has seen a fundamental shift towards a digital-first ethos and a twenty-four hour news cycle alongside an insatiable demand for online video content and the rise of social media. All students on her course are also required to complete an industry placement.
In recent years UCLan students and graduates have scooped a host of prestigious industry awards. In 2013 graduate Natalie Mortimer was named the Most Promising Undergraduate Student of the Year at the Periodicals Training Council (PTC) New Talent Awards. Later the same year Adam McClean, a journalist at ITV Granada, won the O2 Media Award for Young Journalist of the Year. Then in 2014 students from the MA Magazine Journalism course brought home the coveted Student Publication of the Year Award, awarded by the NCTJ, for the second year in a row.
Over many years, the University has developed a stellar reputation for the calibre of its Journalism graduates. Some of the high profile alumni who studied Journalism at the University include the television presenter and journalist Ranvir Singh (now the Chancellor of UCLan), the BAFTA award-winning broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire, and Nick Owens, Head of News at the Sunday Mirror.
“I’m really proud of how innovative our Journalism courses are,” says Caroline. “At the end of the course our graduates emerge with so much more than just a piece of paper. We ensure that they leave equipped with the specialist skills, professional mindset, work ethic and confidence that will enable them to prosper in the industry. In recent years we’ve seen our graduates go on to enjoy incredible careers in television, radio, the newspaper industry and other fields.”