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Journalism head looks at future of newspapers

A leading figure at the home of the UK’s oldest school for regional reporters is taking a break – to continue his studies into the future of newspapers.

Preston-based journalism director François Nel has been handed a prestigious role at Oxford University looking into the innovation of new ventures among news media groups.

The 51-year-old head of the Journalism Leaders’ Programme at the University of Central Lancashire is off on a sabbatical as a Visiting Academic Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism – to extend his highly impressive research portfolio.

The award-winning journalist – last year awarded a National Teaching Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy – has already published a number of studies, one of which specifically focussed on the evolving business models of newspapers in Britain’s 66 cities.

He said: “In previous published studies I’ve asked, ‘Where else is the money?’. During my time at Oxford, I’ll be extending that line of questioning.

“I plan to take a closer look at the specific directions forward-thinking news organisations are going into, and just how their venturing activities are run and managed.

“In effect, I’ll be asking, ‘Where else is the money taking newspapers?’ I hope to discern what others in the industry might learn from those experiences and also to reflect more widely on the implications for the future of journalism.”

Zimbabwe-born François began his media career in the United States as a reporter at The Charlotte Observer newspaper, which covers more than 40 counties in North and South Carolina, before heading to South Africa at the end of 1991.

He joined the faculty of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, where he taught journalism courses, developed new programmes and became a head of department while still being a working journalist.

In 2000, he was invited to UCLan in Preston, where he developed and runs the Journalism Leaders’ Programme as well as co-ordinating the Digital Editors’ Network and Journalism Leaders’ Forum series.

François was the first academic invited to join the World Editors’ Forum of the World Association of Newspapers and News’ Publishers.

He added: “I’m delighted for the chance to work alongside other talented researchers at the Reuters Institute.”

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  • July 31, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    Wow! As impressive as since primary school boy still! Well done Francois and well done Oxford University for rewarding excellence. Francois, hope the money find you coming back to Africa where you somehow just belong.

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