MA Journalism programme leader
I have been a journalist since 1983, beginning my career as a trainee reporter in Salford just around the corner from MediaCityUK, where I am now based.
My first newspaper was the Stretford and Urmston Journal, but that closed within three months of me arriving – don’t think there was a connection – and I was moved to the Swinton Journal under the same series.
Since then, I have worked for national, regional and local newspapers, including the Daily Express and the now-defunct Today newspaper (again, hopefully nothing to do with me).
It was during a five-year stint in London in the 1980s that I enjoyed one of my journalism career highlights… working with England’s World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore – a real gentleman as well as a great footballer.
In 1989, I joined the Press Association, which was still based in those days on Fleet Street - once home to the UK national newspaper industry.
In total, I was with PA for 12 years, working for the UK’s national news agency in London, Leeds and Howden (that’s near Hull for those of you who haven’t heard of it).
I was PA’s first northern sports correspondent, covering football and boxing among other sports, and also its first full-time rugby league reporter.
While at PA, I studied part-time and passed a Masters degree in Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University.
It was after leaving PA - in 2001 - that I first moved into academia full-time, setting up and leading an MA in Digital Journalism at the University of Sheffield.
I passed a second Masters, this time in E-Learning, while at Sheffield where I also co-authored Key Concepts in Journalism Studies (Franklin et al, Sage, 2005).
Later, I wrote a chapter called Trading on Trust in Local Journalism and Local Media: Making the Local News (ed by Franklin, Routledge, 2006).
I missed working as a journalist (and found the travelling from Rochdale to Sheffield too demanding, and occasionally very dangerous - have you ever driven over the Snake Pass in the middle of winter?), so I returned to the industry and had my first spell with the BBC as an online news reporter.
I then landed what I consider to be the best job I have ever had (before the University of Salford of course)… as digital editor of the Lancashire Evening Post in Preston.
It was there I helped to lead Johnston Press’s group-wide Newsroom of the Future, which became a blueprint for every other JP newspaper. I was also appointed a JP digital champion and helped to roll out new websites across the group.
The opportunity to return to the BBC, this time working in sport and at MediaCityUK, resulted in me joining the Interactive operation when it moved up from London in 2011.
I worked as a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC Sport website, where my roles included chief sub, front page editor, trainer and style guide guru until leaving there in September 2014 to return to academia - and join Salford.
I teach sport, online and print at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and am hoping sometime in the foreseeable future to begin a PhD, based on my five years at the Lancashire Evening Post where – we like to think anyway – we successfully ran a convergent and trail-blazing news operation.
Among other things here at Salford, I am the programme leader for MA Journalism and head up the MA Community Project (all pathways) in which sports students have been producing articles for Manchester United Football Club’s website.
In my spare time – which seems to be getting less and less these days – I watch and play football, and do freelance subbing shifts at BBC Sport, which is about 100 yards away across the plaza from where I now work.
Sports, Online and Print Journalism
Qualifications and Memberships
Passed all NCTJ qualifications first time to become a fully qualified journalist in 1985
Co-authored Key Concepts in Journalism Studies (Franklin et al, Sage, 2005)
Wrote a chapter called Trading on Trust in Local Journalism and Local Media: Making the Local News (edited by Franklin, Routledge, 2006)