Journalism Innovation and Leadership PGCert

Journalism Innovation and Leadership PGCert

School of Journalism, Media and Performance


Post- graduate





Contact UCLan

Course Enquiries
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

  • Duration:

    10-week module structure (more information below)

  • Level:


  • Mode:


  • Delivery:

    Distance with attendance, Part-time

  • Campus:


  • Start Date:

    January 2021

  • Award Type:


Why study this programme?

The Journalism Innovation and Leadership Programme offers a flexible learning plan that will equip forward-thinking media professionals to successfully lead teams and organisations in an increasingly complex and competitive media landscape.  

The blend of intensive face-to-face seminars, extensive online support and mentoring from experienced industry leaders will help you build the advanced knowledge, skills and confidence you need to propel your organisation forward – and accelerate your career. 

Skills - This programme emphasises the cutting-edge practical expertise and entrepreneurial mindset you’ll need to lead a modern news organisation today – and help position it to succeed tomorrow.  

Knowledge -You’ll tap into the knowledge of global industry thought leaders and world-leading research from the Media Innovation Studio to help you recognise the potential in yourself, others and the future economy. 

Mentoring – The programme will match you with an industry mentor in close collaboration with industry associations, including the UK Society of Editors, the Digital Editors Network, and WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. We are also part of the Google News Initiative of leading journalism programmes worldwide.  

Growth – Yes, the programme will add value to your organisation and your CV. But central to our innovative learning and teaching approach is you. You’ll have the chance to test your intuition, stretch your thinking – and to move ahead with greater confidence.  

Register Now for Our Virtual Open Day & Online Chat Events Register Now for Our Virtual Open Day & Online Chat Events

Entry Requirements

A strong interest in the challenges facing journalism and its leaders as evident in a 250-word statement that describes your daily duties, the relevance of the programme to your career, your goals for the course and how you will apply the learning in context .

  • Typically, an undergraduate degree in journalism or a related media subject, at 2:1 or above. 
    Or evidence of professional journalism/media industry experience (normally five years). 
  • Appropriate computer literacy and internet access. 
  • International applicants are required to have an IELTS score of 7 or equivalent. 
  • Applicants will also be interviewed either in person or via electronic means. 

Programme at a Glance

Year 1

  • Module 1 Journalism Leadership 
  • Module 2 Journalism Innovation 

Modules are scheduled for spring and autumn with residentials typically in April and October. 

We recognise that professionals need lots of flexibility if they are to balance the competing demands of studies, work and home.  That’s why the Journalism Innovation and Leadership Programme offers you the opportunity to earn a Postgraduate Certificate part-time.   

Each module is delivered through an innovative mixed-method approach of intensive, on-site residential week packed with lectures, hands-on workshops, insightful case studies and guest speakers, which will be supplemented with online discussions and webinars.   

You will also be offered additional, one-one support from an experienced industry mentor who will be on hand specifically to help you navigate the complexities of growing your career.  

A typical 10-week module structure is:  

Weeks 1-3: Online introductions and pre-reading discussions 

 UCLan uses Adobe Connect for formal teaching sessions and Blackboard supplemented with OneDrive. We will record sessions for playback and offer informal discussions on forums such as WhatsApp and Skype to accommodate regional differences. Time zones will be accommodated; the course team are flexible and experienced at working with global teams across multiple time zones. 

Week 4:  Onsite residential with face-to-face seminars and workshops 

Learning will take place through a series of lectures, workshops and seminars aimed at introducing students to new knowledge and new ways of acquiring it. This approach will also provide immediate feedback and suggest areas for further research or development. These may also include study tours and research time with a dedicated mentor. Networking events and social events will also be available. Immersive discussion of theoretical concepts and structures, through which the students will identify key areas of innovative digital thinking, and related practice. Formative assessment will come in the form of sharing ideas and skills across teams and tutors, and in the discussions of approaches.  Feedback will emerge from both the tutor, peer-to-peer support and via trial and error.  

Weeks 5 onwards: Online coaching through applied assignments - typically scoped in consultation with their tutor and their own organisation. This allows participants to demonstrate immediate value to their company throughout the course. Tutorials will be held primarily to provide feedback and direction for applied assignments.  

Further Information

Journalism at UCLan has an excellent track record for journalism training and employability. We have been teaching journalism since 1962 and we have a worldwide network of top industry professionals who began their careers here. Our excellent research, cutting edge facilities and enviable student satisfaction and employability record are some of the reasons we are ranked No 1 in the Northwest and amongst the Top 10 journalism programmes in the UK in the Guardian League Table.

This course is for you if you want to: 

  • Challenge organisational effectiveness and create agile leadership strategies to drive transformation and resilience  
  • Develop an advanced data mindset and the skills to gain insights about audiences – and to act on them to enhance performance  
  • Understand how to adapt newsroom workflows, organisational structures and mindsets to meet changing demands 
  • Develop the practical knowledge to manage innovative projects and diverse teams 
  • Explore innovation methods such as design thinking and co-design  
  • Stress test new business and revenue models for news in an increasingly complex and competitive market 
  • Think deeply about what the issues shaping journalism today means for us all tomorrow  
  • Build the personal and professional competencies to grow your team, your organisation – and your career.  

Journalism Leadership takes it that successful and sustainable organisations rely on effective, entrepreneurial leadership. Successful news organisations need effective, innovative leadership. The aim of the module is to help you recognise and develop your inherent leadership qualities, and have regard for the leadership qualities of others. Rather than emphasise leadership generally, looking at histories and typologies of leadership theory, the approach is practical and straightforward: it emphasises the core knowledge and practical skills needed to be an entrepreneurial leader by critically assessing the status quo – and considering the cutting-edge strategies and innovative tactics needed to lead efforts to create value for the organisation and for society. The focus is on critical decision-making, impact and evaluation. From this springboard you will understand data-informed mindsets, a theme running throughout the course. The module also takes an overview of the problems and influences shaping the journalism industry. The module will explore key concepts in journalism, media innovation, organisational and institutional structures, markets, business, product development and assessment and audience behaviours as drivers for change. Students will work towards a consultancy for a journalism firm as a company or executive brief detailing market opportunities, how organisations should respond and make recommendations based on emerging landscapes.  

  • Professional and personal development planning 
  • Teamwork and resourcing 
  • Professional identities and logics  
  • Tailored principles for newsroom professionals that work in a multimedia context. 
  • Key concepts and debates shaping journalism today. 
  • Journalism ecosystems: actors, entrants and alternative journalism 
  • Strategies for future-proofing journalism: positioning and market analysis 
  • New business and revenue models 
  • Data informed practice 
  • Public good roles and responsibilities.

Journalism Innovation provides students with the intellectual and practical skills to critically discuss what innovation is and why it matters to the journalism industry. You will have the chance to contribute effectively to develop and deliver on innovation strategies in journalistic contexts. You will garner an understanding of sector-specific value-chains and value-creation, and then propose and produce a well-defined innovation process focused on the key challenges or opportunities you have identified.   

  • Perspectives on innovation in the journalistic context 
  • Journalism research and development 
  • Understanding the innovation journey and sources of innovation 
  • Managing innovation as a core business process and strategy 
  • Ethical Innovation 
  • Innovation techniques: lab models, participatory design, collaboration and cocreation, rapid prototyping and iteration, working with interdisciplinary teams, data and information collection and evaluation, ethnography, philanthropy, market intelligence 
  • Capturing the benefits of innovation and learnings 
  • Innovation methods playbooks 
  • User led innovation, analytics and engagement 
Planning your studies 

Academic administration support is provided daily for general assistance and advice regarding specific processes such as extenuating circumstances, extensions and appeals.   

The Hub for Journalism programmes is in the Computing and Technology Building telephone: 01772 891994/891995  email:    

 We welcome international students. Prospective students should seek contemporaneous advice on visa requirements including short-term study and tier four visas from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) . For further advice or support with your Tier 4 visa application please contact: 

Scholarship opportunities 

For start in January 2021, the Journalism Innovation and Leadership Programme at UCLan will run scholarships supported by the Google News Initiative. This scholarship programme is administered by the UCLan course team and will cover tuition fees for the Postgraduate Certificate in Journalism Innovation and Leadership starting in January 2021. You must complete a UCLan course application via the university website before completing a scholarship application. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted the week of November 22, 2020 and invited to an online video interview with a panel chaired by a member of the Industry Advisory Committee. We aim to inform all candidates of the final decision by no later than Friday, December 11, 2020.

"Through the Google News Initiative we're supporting a new chapter for digital transformation training at UCLan. The curriculum being developed is grounded in real industry insights, it builds on emerging technologies and trends, and it will offer mid-career opportunities to candidates from across the country. We're excited to see it launch." - Matt Cooke, Head of Partnerships & Training, Google News Initiative 

Alumni of our journalism leadership programmes

"The programme transformed how I thought about news, audiences and leadership. The course content was exactly what I needed then (and continue to draw on now) to navigate the huge and on-going disruption of the media industry. And I met smart, amazing people who I count as great friends to this day." - Alison Gow, Editor in Chief (Digital), Reach Plc Regionals, UK and 2020 President of the Society of Editors, UK 

"I consider the Journalism Leadership programme to have been a uniquely transformational experience in my career, and I did not even end up working in Journalism after all! The breadth of topics covered and the depth at which that is done gave me a solid grounding to pursue opportunities in a very wide range of industries." -Dilyan Damyanov, Data Engineer, Snowplow Analytics    

"The journalism MA I completed at UCLan has proved to be one of the most important influences on my career. It was challenging and absolutely relevant, and gave me practical resources that I could draw on in my day-to-day job from the minute I started studying and has, without doubt, been an important factor in my advancement since" - Steve Matthewson, London Bureau Chief/Head of EMEA & APAC Financials, S&P Global Market Intelligence 

"UCLan was invaluable in preparing me for digital journalism and revealing the crucial need for constant innovation, flexible organisations and brave leadership if journalism is to survive and thrive". - Paddi Clay, award-winning radio journalists and newspaper columnist, South Africa 

How to Apply

Our Postgraduate section has more information around applying including visiting UCLan and the support available.

If you want to continue and apply now, you can apply for many of the postgraduate UCLan courses using our Online Application System.

For other postgraduate courses you can apply directly to UCLan by downloading a Postgraduate Application Form (.pdf 190KB) please also see our Postgraduate Application Guidance Notes (.pdf 158KB).


For detailed information about studying this course at UCLan, please see the course handbook for your year of entry:

For information on possible changes to course information, see our Important Information.


Apply now or see further information about postgraduate study and research. International students should visit our international pages.

Contact Us

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400


Fees 2020/21

Part-time: £765 per 20 credits (UK/EU)

Further information:

For 2019/20 fees please refer to our fees page.

Industry Links

Journalism at UCLan has an excellent record for journalism training and employability. We have been teaching journalism in Preston since 1962 and we have a worldwide network of top industry professionals who began their careers here. 

The Media Innovation Studio is an innovation-informed research group at the university. It is both a founding member of the Global Alliance for Media Innovation of WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers, and part of the Google News Initiative. We have also been convenors of the Digital Editors Network, UK, since 2007 and staff work on innovation projects across philanthropic and commercial media.

The programme has been developed in close consultation with the Society of Editors UK and an advisory board of alumni and other industry thought leaders: 

  • Alison Gow, Editor in Chief (Digital) Reach Plc Regionals, UK
  • Ian MacMurray, Editor Emeritus, The Telegraph Media Group and Chair of the Society of Editors
  • Jethro Goko, Publisher, Associated Newspapers, Zimbabwe
  • Cherilyn Ireton, Director, World Editors Forum, WAN-IFRA
  • Steve Matthewson, Bureau Chief UK & EMEA, S&P 500 Global Market Intelligence, UK
  • Paddi Clay, Media Consultant & Trainer, South Africa
  • Joanna Geary, Head of Curation, Twitter

“It’s critical that those seeking a sustainable way forward footing for journalism take time out of the newsroom to think and learn from others when assessing new opportunities and ways of working. This programme will ensure they have had time to think critically about the implications for journalism - and the communities their newsrooms serve.” - CHERILYN IRETON, Executive Director of the World Editors Forum of WAN-IFRA, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers.  

 “Journalism could scarcely have ever been more important to society - yet both its delivery and funding models are in existential doubt. This is a timely course that seeks to address that, and future proof a new cohort of journalism leaders capable of creating the right content, and means of financing and delivering it, in the 2020s.” - Dr ALEX CONNOCK, Founding CEO of Missile Studios and Leader in Residence, UCLan 

Affiliations with the Media Innovation Studio and the Google News Initiative.

Media Innovation Studio logo

Google News Initiative logo


This course aims to ensure students have sustainable and viable career options. 

Leaving this course you will: 

Have the knowledge to build and execute innovative user-centric product strategies, develop new revenue models, and draw on data insights to galvanise teams and drive performance. 

Develop intellectual skills and personal insights to enable you to become reflective practitioners with sustainable and flexible careers and leadership potential. 

Be critically aware and an agile thinker able to develop and challenge perspectives of contemporary journalism and business practice and to exploit that understanding to drive innovation, lead teams and deliver change. 

Be able to promote engagement in debate about the definitions, nature, purposes and practices of journalism and its roles and impacts in communities it serves 

Have a broader network of support to boost your leadership confidence through a mentoring programme and unique access to professionals in other countries or disciplines who can help navigate and develop thinking. You will be regularly exposed to industry thought leaders and have the chance to apply this directly to their own practice. 

Our graduates will have the necessary industry insights and personal development skills to move into management roles, or have the confidence to take on intrapreneur or entrepreneurial projects. They would also have additional academic rigor to continue into scholarly or insights-based careers such as think tanks or advisory policy roles.  

Further information

We recognise that professionals have considerable demands on their time. With that in mind, we suggest you consider the following when planning your studies: 

  • You should plan to spend 8 to 10 hours per week on the research, reading, discussions, reflection and writing required for each module  
  • Residential seminars normally begin on Monday mornings and end the following Friday after lunch. Daily activities typically begin at 9am and last until 5pm, with some evening workshops and events. Dress throughout is typically casual.  
  • Weekly online seminars and coaching is typically scheduled in the early on one evening per week during the semester.  
  • Course tutors and industry mentors are available for meetings online and in person.  

We also tailor our courses to corporate groups or media development programmes. The team are experienced facilitators and are happy to custom training solutions around journalism innovation and leadership. We are fully plugged into the challenges faced by a wide variety of media exploring and implementing diverse route-maps to thrive in the mobile and connected digital landscape. Contact the course team for more information. 

You can get further details on the website or social media 

Application for postgraduate courses is made online via the university by emailing or calling +44 (0)1772 892400. You can also email the course team at or