As Director of Journalism, I have strategic and managerial responsibility for a directorate of 450 students and an outstanding team of academics at the University's MediaCityUK campus. The role involves developing programmes across the directorate, enhancing the students' learning experience and working with many industry partners including the BBC, ITV and newspaper organisations. My teaching specialises in print and online journalism modules, including features, news writing and production. My research is focused on how newspaper organisations can survive and thrive in the digital age. I am an external examiner at Kingston University and an examiner for the National Council for the Training of Journalists. I remain a regular freelance contributor for national publications and a commentator on media issues. I am also a judge for the O2 Media Awards and the Asian Media Awards. I have been a journalist for 22 years, working for local, regional and national newspapers and their websites. I began my career as a news reporter at the Knutsford Guardian in Cheshire, where I covered stories including Martin Bell's 1997 election battle with Neil Hamilton. After becoming acting editor at the weekly paper at the age of 25, I moved to the Bolton Evening News, where I worked as a news reporter. I headed to my home city newspaper, the Manchester Evening News, in 1998 and spent four years as a district and city centre news reporter. My stories included interviews with Tony Blair and covering the Harold Shipman murders. Other duties included working on the newsdesk, leader writing and features. I headed to London in 2002 to work as a staff news reporter and assistant news editor for the Daily Express, covering stories including the Soham murders. I also worked during this period as a London-based freelance sports reporter for the Manchester Evening News and a sports feature writer for The Sportsman. I returned to Manchester to become the Daily Express's North West News Editor, reporting on major stories including the Morecambe Bay cockling disaster.
Since joining the university full-time in January 2009, my freelance news material has been published in titles including The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Express, The Sun and The Mirror. I also have taught modules across all levels on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes and worked during this period as Programme Leader for BA Journalism, BA Journalism and English and MA Journalism, the University’s NCTJ-accredited programme.