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University Appoints Head of School of Media, Film and Journalism

21 September 2010

The new head of the University of Ulster’s School of Media, Film and Journalism has set his sights on ensuring its MA in Journalism remains at the top as the best performing course in the UK.

Colm Murphy has a proven track record both as an investigative journalist and successful entrepreneur.

He became a journalism lecturer in 2003 and a year later took on the role of course director for the University’s flagship MA Journalism programme on the Coleraine campus. It was named last year as the UK’s best performing journalism programme.

Ulster’s successful MA in Journalism has also received national recognition for its trailblazing and innovative approach to multi media training. It was the first postgraduate course in the UK to achieve dual industry accreditation for print, TV, interactive media and radio.

The accreditation was awarded by the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, which represents the BBC, ITN and Sky News, and the National Council for the Training of Journalists. The latter represents national newspapers like The Guardian, The Mirror and regional newspapers in Northern Ireland like the Belfast Telegraph, The Irish News and Johnston Press.  

Colm says one of his challenges he faces, as Head of School will be to firmly establish its five undergraduate courses as leaders nationally for quality and innovation. Also to bring its five postgraduate courses from national to international leaders while maintaining the School’s international reputation in research.

“We have great staff, students and support from industry and other partners. We have achieved a huge amount over the past four years in teaching and research, but the School  team want to build on this and are very ambitious for what we will achieve in future.”

“Our postgraduate courses attract students from around the globe. Our undergraduate Media Studies course is one of the most long-running and pioneering in the UK or Ireland.

"Our newer undergraduate programmes in Film Studies, Interactive Media Arts and photo-Imaging are quickly establishing themselves for their excellent student work.”

Originally from Dublin, Colm Murphy is a former Young Journalist of the Year in the Republic of Ireland. 

He spent six years as a reporter and then business editor with The Sunday Tribune before he was involved in the establishment of one of the UK and Ireland’s first news agencies to use internet technology.

He was the agency’s senior editor responsible for establishing operations in India, Russia, Turkey, Poland and Israel.

It provided real-time online information on investment opportunities in these emerging markets. The agency subsequently floated on London’s OFEX in 1998 as Emerging Markets Data PLC and was later taken over.

“It was an exciting time to be involved in a new media business and to be involved in raising over £1million venture capital for the IPO,” he said. 

Although he has now embraced the world of academia – he has just completed his PhD – leaving the cut and thrust of boardroom politics behind him, Mr Murphy is still active in the profession. 

He is a regular business and education specialist contributor to The Sunday Times (London), has scripted a number of investigative documentaries for RTE and is author of The Sunday Times University Guide (Irish edition).