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UCLan welcomes back journalism graduates for 40th anniversary reunion

10 November 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Six senior editors and journalists return to where it all began

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has welcomed back six senior national and regional newspaper editors and reporters 40 years after they left Preston as journalism graduates.

The alumni, who all took a one-year journalism course at the then Preston Polytechnic in 1974, have spent their careers working in senior national and regional press roles including The Sunday Express, The Sun, The News of the World, Yorkshire Evening Press and the Daily Post.

On their return to Preston the former students; Sue Crawford, Andy Hoban, Tony Kelly, Andy Knott, Mark Thomas and David Wooding met with current print and broadcast students to share industry advice. They were also given a tour around the University’s modern facilities which have changed dramatically over the last four decades and now include a TV studio, five radio studios, broadcast and production areas and specialist print newsrooms.

Andy Hoban, Night Editor for the Sunday Express and former UCLan journalism student, commented: “It’s unbelievable how much the University has developed. We just had basic classrooms with typewriters which is a big contrast to the facilities the students have now. It’s also interesting that today’s journalism students can specialise early on with courses in print, broadcast, sports and magazine journalism; choices that weren’t available in the 1970s.

It’s unbelievable how much the University has developed. We just had basic classrooms with typewriters which is a big contrast to the facilities the students have now"

“Social media has changed everything and made journalism more immediate which places a greater degree of responsibility on a reporter. Despite the advances in technology I would still advise that all student journalists learn the basics well. They should never take things at face value, always be prepared to investigate a story properly and be persistent.”

Senior Lecturer in Broadcast Journalism and Course Leader of the BA(Hons) Journalism degree Deborah Robinson said: “It is fantastic to welcome the former students back after all these years and show them how much journalism teaching at UCLan has developed.

“All of the alumni are now very successful news editors and journalists and I want to thank them for taking the time to speak to our current journalism students who found their advice invaluable.”

Looking back on his studies Andy added: “A memorable time at Preston Polytechnic was making a 5-a-side football tournament final with the Teeline Tornados. We were even presented with runners-up medals from Sir Bobby Charlton, the then manager of Preston North End, who even agreed to be interviewed when I then turned up unexpectedly at the stadium.”

In 2013 UCLan celebrated 50 years of journalism teaching at the city centre campus. Famous names from the world of news and the creative industries, including alumni now working for Sky News, ITV, Channel 4, the BBC and The Manchester Evening News, returned to the institution for a celebratory event.