1964We’ve been teaching student journalists in Preston since 1962 when we launched our first print course at the Harris College.

Two decades later, with support from the BBC and ITV, Preston Polytechnic unveiled a Postgraduate Diploma in Radio and Television Journalism. A Postgraduate Diploma in Newspaper Journalism swiftly followed. The courses, which included industry placements, strongly emphasised “learning by doing”. They still do.

In 1991 on the eve of Lancashire Polytechnic’s transformation to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), the department launched one of the country’s first undergraduate journalism degrees. It began teaching Public Relations, too. The department had 200 students. Today there are more than 700.

The department has always responded to change and introduced a range of full and part-time courses. They include Masters programmes in Online Journalism, Magazine Journalism, International Journalism, International Documentary and Factual Television Production, International Applied Communication, Strategic Communication and the Journalism Leaders Programme.

This work is supplemented by our digital training and consultancy activities. Our undergraduate portfolio includes developments in Sports Journalism and International Journalism. The year 2007 saw the introduction of a foundation course in journalism in association with BBC Radio Lancashire.


Our courses are accredited or approved by leading industry bodies including the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), the Broadcast Journalism Training Council (BJTC), the Periodicals Training Council (PTC) and the Chartered Institute for Public Relations (CIPR). UK Progress, our student-led PR consultancy, has won the CIPR’s Excellence Award for ‘outstanding achievement in education and training’. Our students have won a range of awards in print, television and radio.


Research which is spear-headed by Professor Jane Singer and Dr Peter Anderson plays an important role. Jane joined the department from the University of Iowa in early 2007 as Johnston Press Chair in Digital Journalism. Peter was appointed Reader in News Media and Politics, too. With former colleague Geoff Ward, he edited The Future of Journalism in the Advanced Democracies, a critically acclaimed international research text, to which staff within the department contributed.

A variety of initiatives are underway and one of the most exciting is headed by documentary film-maker Paul Egglestone. The Meld project is developing training tools for the journalists of the future. Five members of the department were entered for the 2008 national Research Assessment Exercise and the department’s first PhD bursary student has been published in several major international academic journals.

about-helenlittle46 years

As we celebrate 46 years of journalism teaching, we are keen to find out what has happened to the thousands of students who have graduated from our print, broadcast and online newsrooms.

If you are an alumnus, we want you to get in touch to share memories of your time at the University, Polytechnic or Harris College – and about your subsequent career in the media. If you’re one of those pictured, or if you recognise someone, contact Mike Ward.

Additionally the department has set up a group on facebook for our journalism alumni. Please join and help build a picture of what it’s been like to graduate from the oldest journalism department in England.