Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Mastering Leadership: A Conversation with Dilyan Damyanov

Today is a Red Letter Day for the Journalism Leaders Programme.

Five talented editors from South Africa, Bulgaria and the UK will be the first to earn the Master of Arts in Journalism Leadership award from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, home the UK's oldest journalism programme.

In the seven years since the Leaders programme was established, we've engaged with hundreds of editors and senior journalists from many of the UK's leading media houses, including Johnston Press, Trinity Mirror and  Guardian Media Group, as well as others from around the world through a wide variety of  activities - from non-academic workshops, conferences, seminars and training courses, to postgraduate certificates and diplomas.

Dilyan Damyanov
But Paddi Clay, Dilyan Damyanov (left),  Alison Gow, Laurice Taitz-Buntman and Steve Matthewson will be the first ones to have pressed through to the end.

François Nel, the programme's founding director, wanted to find out about just why they invested in the experience. Here's what Dilyan Damyanov, Editorial Director of Information Services at AII Data Processing in Sofia, had to say:

The media landscape in Bulgaria is very different from the UK, why did you choose to enrol in the Journalism Leaders Programme?

UCLan's Journalism Leaders programme was, and still is, one of a precious few academic programmes that teach strategic leadership in the ever changing media environment. Back when I enrolled, it was so novel and ahead of its time that there simply were no other options on the market, especially programmes that are flexible enough for a professional to be able to balance them with their work and social life. There is certainly nothing like it in my country and, to the best of my knowledge, it's a one-of-a-kind deal across Europe.

Unlike most academic courses, the JLP comprises a series of modules that can be taken in any order on a pay-as-you-go basis. What kept you coming back to Preston?

I kept coming back to Preston for two reasons. One was the opportunities presented by the programme to build a network and learn not only as part of the scheduled academic activities but also on the sidelines of the modules, in a fun and engaging setting. The second reason was that the dedication and passion of everyone involved with organising and teaching this programme always meant I had access to relevant, up-to-date, useful information and tools. Thank you!

How would you summarise your JLP experience?

The Journalism Leaders programme had a profound impact on how I see the media industry and how I approach strategic challenges. I met inspiring people, made great friends and had some of the most fun times of my life.

  • Earlier we posted a conversation with Alison Gow,  editor of the Daily Post, and  plan to post conversations with each of the other graduates over the coming weeks. 
  • The first and only programme of its kind in the UK, the Journalism Leaders Programme continues to work with leading publishers from around the world, such as News International, to provide custom courses that help equip exceptional talent for leadership. For more information, contact François  Nel at FPNel @ .

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