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University celebrates 60 years of journalism training as Google renews backing

Jane AnthonyGoogle is extending its support for a university that is celebrating 60 years of training journalists.

The Google News Initiative has renewed its backing of the University of Central Lancashire’s journalism innovation and Leadership (JIL) Programme for a third year.

The course is aimed at working journalists wanting to take the lead in developing modern, digital newsrooms, with guidance from experts.

The announcement comes as the Preston-based university marks the 60th anniversary of serving as a journalism training centre. Then known as Harris College, it began taking on journalism students in 1962.

Jane Anthony, pictured, executive dean of the university’s faculty of culture and the creative industries, said: “UCLan has been training journalists since 1962 and has always ensured that its teaching reflects this fast-paced and ever-changing industry.

“We are delighted to receive this continued backing from the Google News Initiative. It is key industry partnerships like this that help us remain so successful and this is reflected in our Guardian Good University Guide 2022 League Table ranking of number one in England second in the UK.”

Regional journalists to have joined the programme in its first two years include Reach Regionals audience and content director Ed Walker, Andrew Kilmurray, who edits the St Helens Star and Leigh Journal, and Manchester World editor Jennifer Simpson.

The current cohort is made up of 18 participants from nine countries on three continents.

Course leader François Nel said: “Our programme has been co-created with our alumni and other industry actors who play an active part in every step – from curriculum design, interviewing applicants, contributing deep insights as guest speakers, and mentoring participants.

“The ongoing support from the Google News Initiative ensures we continue to foster the diverse leadership our news industry now needs more than perhaps ever before.”

Matt Cooke, head of Google News Lab, added: “We’re announcing the Google News Initiative’s third year of support for this innovative and experimental course.

“We’re hoping the next wave of participants will benefit from their time studying at UCLan, and from the industry-led, expert trainers and mentors. We look forward to seeing the university build for the future and provide opportunities for journalists from across the industry.”