1.6 Bouquets for the OU 1.1 Contents Section 2 Report highlights 3
3 OU news and developments 4
4 E-learning and the e-university 5
5 Expert comment 6
6 Research news 9
7 Beagle 2 project media coverage 10
8 2003 Graduate Publicity Exercise 12
9 Negative coverage 13
10 Students and staff 13
11 Lifelong learning 15
12 News from the regions 16
13 Broadcast features 18
14 And finally … 19
1.2 The Media Relations Office The Open University Media Relations team, part of the university's Communications Group, is made up of:
Gary Spink Head of Media Relations firstname.lastname@example.org 53343
Fiona Leslie Media Relations Officer email@example.com
Media Relations Officer firstname.lastname@example.org 53248
Neil Coaten Media Relations Officer email@example.com 52580
Diane Cassidy Team Secretary d.cassidy @open.ac.uk58734 1.3 News releases issued During the nine-week period covered by this report, 17 news releases were issued by the Media Relations team. Subjects included:
OU/BBC programmes Beagle 2: A Mission to Mars; Science Shack; Eurofighter: Weapon of Mass Construction; and World in a Box;
the awards ceremony for Open University Business School top-achieving students;
the cohort of OUBS MBA graduates;
free courses offered during Adult Learners’ Week in May;
the launch of the OUBS charity appeal;
the offer of a beginners’ course in Spanish to David and Victoria Beckham, prompted by his move to Real Madrid.
Copies of all news releases issued by the Media Relations team can be downloaded at www.open.ac.uk/media/
1.4 Media enquiries The figures below show the number and source of media enquiries received by the media relations office during the period of this report (April 22 2003 to June 25 2003).
From newspapers (national, local, TES, THES) 120
From magazines (general interest, specialist and trade press) 26
From radio 24
From television 26
From others (including website operators) 36
TOTAL 232 1.5 Media coverage
The figures below show the number and source of media coverage for the Open University during the period of this report (April 22 2003 to June 25 2003).
In national newspapers 133
In regional newspapers 622
In TES, THES 20
In specialist and trade titles 74
In general interest magazines 11
TOTAL 963 Please note that these figures include press cuttings generated for OU/BBC series including Beagle 2: A Mission to Mars and World in a Box.
1.6 Bouquets for the Open University “To achieve an OU degree, the student often works or raises a family as well as putting in several hours of studying a night, plus attending the odd course. The achievement is immense and worthy of all our praise.”
Leader column, Heartland Evening News, Nuneaton “I got it (the MBE) the day after the graduation for my Open University degree in history, so it was a good week for extra letters after my name. Actually, I only use the BA … The degree was a great adventure. It’s important to act on your dreams, whether you want to add to your knowledge, travel the world or even just make a new friend.”
Joan Armatrading, interviewed in Mail on Sunday’s You magazine If you would like copies of cuttings highlighted in this report, please email
Di Cassidy on firstname.lastname@example.org, specifying the article you are looking for.
l Report highlights
SECTION 2 REPORT HIGHLIGHTS
More than 200 press articles worldwide about the launch of the Beagle 2 Mars lander were published; many of them referred to the fact the project was co-ordinated by the university’s Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute.
To date, almost 300 local and regional press articles about the success of some of the university’s graduates have been published – as a result of the Graduate Publicity Exercise, organised by the media relations team.
Open University academics continue to provide expert comment or to write articles or letters for publication in national and specialist titles.
National press articles focussed on subjects as diverse as the Open University Business School’s inaugural awards evening; the 30th anniversary of the university’s first graduation ceremony; and the award of an honorary degree to Heather Mills-McCartney.
The university’s e-learning activities continue to attract media interest. Latest coverage included references in The Guardian Weekly, Computing magazine and the Times HigherEducation Supplement.
l OU news and developments
SECTION 3 OU NEWS AND DEVELOPMENTS Local and national media included articles about the award of a CBE to Professor Colin Pillinger, of the university’s Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute and lead scientist of the Beagle 2 Mars lander project.
The Times; Leicester Mercury; The Open University Business School held its inaugural awards evening for top-achieving students and graduates. The event attracted national and local press coverage.
Daily Express; Daily Star; The Guardian; Gloucestershire Echo; Liverpool Echo; The Banker; The 30th anniversary of the university’s first graduation ceremony was the theme of an article on the BBC News website, which included an interview with a recent graduate who had started studying in 1971. BBC News website A joint website venture between the university and BBC Worldwide that offers teachers virtual courses on their subject knowledge and career development was featured in specialist titles. Times Educational Supplement National titles carried news of the honorary doctorate presented by the university to Heather Mills-McCartney. Daily Mail, Daily Mirror The presentation of Sir John Daniel special awards to students who had successfully studied while overcoming personal difficulties was highlighted by media local to the award recipients. Basingstoke & North Hants Gazette The university’s virtual press office, maintained by the Communications Group, was highlighted as “best practice” in a trade title. Infomatics A specialist training title reported on the university’s strategic alliance with New School University, New York. NVQ/SVQ Focus
l E-Learning and the e-university
SECTION 4 E-LEARNING AND THE E-UNIVERSITY
The university’s participation in the UKeU online learning programme continues to be referred to in general articles about the project. The OU is working with the University of Cambridge to offer one of the project’s first courses, Learning in the Connected Economy.
The Guardian Weekly; Computing The university’s links with the National Health Service University (NHSU) continue to be referred to in specialist title articles. Times Higher Education Supplement Flexibility that is key to creating a virtual learning environment (VLE) that benefits students, lecturers and universities was the theme of an article by Dr Gilly Salmon, of OUBS.
Times Higher Education Supplement In a feature about combating low take-up and high dropout rates for e-learning courses, a specialist title referred to OU research about motivating learners. IT Training The university’s e-learning credentials were referred to in a regional press feature about the likely future of education at all levels. Nottingham Evening Post The Hansard Society, in association with Dr Gilly Salmon of the Open University Business School, is offering an opportunity to train as an online e-moderator, reported a specialist title.
l Expert Comment
SECTION 5 EXPERT COMMENT Academic comment in print media
About impartiality in UK TV reporting of the Iraqi conflict The Guardian
Prof Gary Slapper Law Programme
About war criminals The Independent
Nicky Whitsed Open University Library
To correct a factual inaccuracy in a previous article Library & Information Update
Dr Chris Williams Faculty of Social Sciences
About post-occupation civil control in the wake of the Iraqi conflict The Independent
5.5 New titles by Open University representatives Dr Gary Alexander Faculty of Technology
Dr Gary Alexander’s EGaia: Growing a Peaceful, Sustainable Earth throughCommunications was the subject of a brief article in a specialist title.
Industrial Environmental Management Dr Bill Bytheway School of Health and Social Welfare
Everyday Living in Later Life, edited by Dr Bill Bytheway, was reviewed in a specialist title. Community Care
l Research news
SECTION 6 RESEARCH NEWS
Please see SECTION 7 for information about media coverage of the
Beagle 2 Mars lander project Centre for Higher Education Research and Information
Specialist titles carried news of CHERI research into the employment habits of students during term-time. Times Higher Education Supplement
Knowledge Media Institute
International media carried news of KMi’s involvement in webcasting information from the Himalayas as Milton Keynes mountaineer Lorenzo Gariano joined a group there that was commemorating the 50th anniversary of Hillary and Tenzing’s ascent.
Web User; BBC News website; USA Today website; America’s Roof website; Mediatia website (France); Netsurf website (France); DJH website (Denmark); Estado.com website (Brazil); ITTK website (Hungary); Nepszabadsag news site (Hungary) Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute
Work by PSSRI with partners on a design and feasibility study for the Smallsat Intercept Missions to Objects Near Earth (Simone) was featured in specialist press.
Flight International Other research
Local media in south Wales carried news of a research project about disabled teachers that is being undertaken by the OU in conjunction with UWCN, Wales.
South Wales Argus The university’s involvement in the research section of a three-year conservation project in Guyana was featured in local media. Gloucestershire Gazette Historical research that shows that worker co-operatives are more sustainable than other small businesses continues to be referred to by the press.
Manchester Evening News News that the university is to be one of the organisations involved in a Government research project into the UK’s worst-performing local authorities was featured in specialist media. Municipal Journal
l Beagle 2 Mars lander
SECTION 7 BEAGLE 2 MARS LANDER
Coverage Launch coverage
7.1 Introduction Final preparations and the subsequent launch – on Monday, June 2 – of the Beagle 2 Mars lander attracted worldwide media coverage, much of which referred to the OU’s major involvement in the project; its lead scientist, Prof Colin Pillinger, works in the university’s Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute.
Media analysis resources used by the university’s media relations team do not allow for a detailed breakdown of the source and content of all of these worldwide items, but it is estimated that the project attracted more than 400 press cuttings and broadcast coverage items.
Several comment articles by the national media referred to the project.
“Ministers … have supported one of the world’s best centres of space science in Milton Keynes …” The Guardian “Many things make this venture remarkable. First is the cleverly low-tech science that has gone into the design of the Beagle 2 … Even more remarkable are Professor Pillinger’s moneymaking methods. The Government gave him £19.5million. He raised the rest in flashes of lateral thinking and sheer chutzpah.” The Times 7.2 Pre-launch media coverage Ahead of the launch, there was extensive coverage from more than 50 regional UK newspapers and local radio stations and in the following national and specialist titles:
Daily Express Daily Mail
Daily Star (x2) The Daily Telegraph (x7)
Evening Standard Financial Times (x2)
The Guardian (x6) The Independent (x2)
The Irish Times The Observer
The Sun (x3) The Sunday Telegraph
The Sunday Times (x3) The Times (x2)
Amateur Photographer Elle Decoration
New Scientist BBC News website (x4) Some of this coverage related to a pre-launch event at which Science Minister Lord Sainsbury started the Beagle 2 countdown clock.
Planetary science – and in particular the Beagle 2 mission – was the subject of a two-page feature in THES. Times Higher Education Supplement British Satellite News, which feeds broadcast news items about UK-themed activities to overseas media organisations, carried information about Beagle 2.
7.3 Launch coverage More than 40 media representatives attended a Beagle 2 launch party at the BT Centre, Newgate Street, London, from where a number of TV news programmes and channels broadcast live as the Mars Express, on which Beagle 2 will be carried to Mars, was launched.
Broadcast coverage included items on:
BBC One O’Clock News BBC Six O’Clock News
BBC Ten O’Clock News BBC News 24
BBC Breakfast BBC Radio One
BBC Radio Four BBC Radio Five Live
GMTV Sky News
ITV News BBC and ITV regional programmes National press coverage included items in:
Daily Mail Daily Mirror
Daily Star The Daily Telegraph
Financial Times The Guardian (x2)
The Independent (x2) Metro London
The Sun The Times (x2)
Ananova News website BBC News website At least 30 regional newspapers and local radio stations carried news on the day after the launch.
7.4 Post-launch coverage Extensive media coverage continued after the launch and articles included those in the following:
BBC News website Financial Times
Private Eye 7.5 Broadcast programmes The mission was also the subject of Mars… We Come in Peace, a BBC Radio Four documentary and Beagle 2: Mission to Mars, two Open University programmes for BBC Two. Both were previewed by the national print media.
l Graduate Publicity Exercise 2003
SECTION 8 GRADUATE PUBLICITY
EXERCISE 2003 All new graduates are invited to agree to details about them and their studies being released to media local to their homes; more than 3,000 students took up the opportunity in 2003. More than 1,100 news releases, targeted to local media according to the postcode areas they serve, were issued to newspapers and local radio stations in April and May.
To date, 291 newspaper articles prompted by the Graduate Publicity Exercise news releases had been recorded. Full analysis of coverage will be published in the next Media Report to Council.
To date, the regional breakdown for the number of media articles recorded is:
The Open University in London 4
The Open University in the South 9
The Open University in the South-West 39
The Open University in the West Midlands 30
The Open University in the East Midlands 17
The Open University in the East of England 42
The Open University in Yorkshire 22
The Open University in the North-West 30
The Open University in the North - *
The Open University in Wales 9
The Open University in Scotland 23
The Open University in Ireland 26
The Open University in the South-East 40
TOTAL 291 * figures for The Open University in the North are still to be collated.
l Negative and sensitive coverage
SECTION 9 NEGATIVE AND SENSITIVE COVERAGE The award of a honorary doctorate to Heather Mills-McCartney attracted criticism from OU graduate Judith Fowler who wrote to the Daily Mail: “Is it really in keeping with the original principles of the Open University to award an honorary doctorate to the now hugely privileged Ms Mills-McCartney?
“I, like thousands of others, worked very hard for six years to achieve an honours degree with the OU. Much harder, I may add, than the average conventional university student, as I was also battling with agoraphobia. I feel like returning it in protest.” Daily Mail
A national press article about brand personalities referred to the report about the university by management consultants Cognosis into the university’s organisational personality. The article included brief comment from Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Geoff Peters. It also included comment from a London Business School academic, who questioned the appropriateness of this management tool. Financial Times A local media report about the inquest concerning the death of a Cheshire woman made reference to the fact that she had recently started an OU course. Whitchurch Herald The animation featured in the university’s latest TV advertising campaign was negatively reviewed in a marketing trade title. Campaign
l Students and staff
SECTION 10 STUDENTS AND STAFF
10.1 2002 graduates
10.2 Former students and
pre-2002 graduates Current students
Current and former Open University students and staff are often featured in all types of media. Many of them mention their OU connections in an article that has an unconnected theme. The lists that follow are by no means exhaustive. 10.1 2003 graduates and successful students 2003 graduates and successful students whose studies were mentioned in press articles included:
a number of graduates from the Open University in Ireland region, who were featured in Ulster Tatler, a regional lifestyle title;
Marion Palmer, who was profiled in Magic Carpet, a magazine for disabled drivers;
Please note that this list does not include press articles that were generated by the 2003 Graduate Publicity Exercise – see section 8.
10.2 Former students and pre-2003 graduates Former students whose studies were mentioned in press articles included:
consultant engineer Norman Hood, Of Teesside, who has started his own company;
graduate Sandy Mewies, Welsh National Assembly representative;
Helen Small, of Dorset, who referred to her OU degree in an article about how she has worked with her dyslexia to gain career success;
writer Gilda O’Neill, who was profiled in her local media for Adult Learners’ Week;
In national media profiles about Dr John Reid, recently appointed Secretary of State for Health, reference was made to the fact that he has an OU degree.
10.3 Current students Among current students who mentioned their studies in press articles were:
Paul Morrison, whose find of a 2300BC mud brick from Babylon was featured in his local media;
Amanda Attenborough, of East Sussex, whose OU studies were mentioned in an Independent profile about her;
Eileen Tooley, of West Sussex, who was presented with an adult learner’s award by the Open University in the South-East;
fellow student Darren Jones, of Eastbourne, who was presented with a similar award;
serviceman Steve Hall, of North Yorkshire, who returned from serving from the Gulf to take up his OU studies again, reported his local media;
Dr Ivy Oates, of Sheffield, who was presented with an award by the OU to mark her lifelong pursuit of knowledge;
The Open University Students Association annual conference in Eastbourne was featured in local media in the town.
10.4 OU staff and representatives The appointment of Dr Heather Graham as regional director for the Open University in Wales continues to attract coverage. Business in Wales Among the recipients of Royal Geographic Society awards was Prof Sarah Whatmore, who received the Cuthbert Peek Award “for innovative contributions into understanding human nature relations”. The Times carried a list of all recipients.
Jo Parker, Information Literacy Unit manager for the OU Library, was profiled in a Teaching: On the Front Line feature. Times Higher Education Supplement Dr June Barrow-Green, of the Faculty for Mathematics and Computing, was profiled in her local newspaper in Islington, north London.
l Lifelong learning
SECTION 11 LIFELONG LEARNING
11.1 General features
11.2 Current courses
11.3 Future courses
11.4 Other items
11.1 General features Readers were encouraged to consider studying with the Open University through articles in the following:
The Business (MBA supplement) 11.2 Current courses An inter-disciplinary Environment course was the subject of a two-page national press feature. It described it as “a pioneering environmental course that teaches people how they can make a difference”. The Guardian; Education Guardian website The offer of free places on the Learning to Learn Online course, which is offered by COROUS (the university’s corporate arm), for Adult Learners’ Week was carried by several regional newspapers.
Gloucester Citizen; Heartland Evening News; Salisbury Journal; Sunderland Echo; Teesside Evening Gazette; OUBS’s Managing People – Public and Non-Profit course was profiled in the Public Appointments section of a national title. The Times The residential school course Environmental Sciences in the Field was the subject of a regional TV news report in Northern Ireland. BBC Ulster Books that form part of the course materials for Sociology and Society were favourably reviewed in THES. Times Higher Education Supplement 11.3 Future courses Among the new OU courses highlighted in media articles were:
Communication and Relationships in Health and Social Care in:
Enterprise – French for Business Business MK
Business News, Portsmouth
11.4 Other items
The agreement by the university to give academic credits to holders of the National Professional Qualification for Headteachers was featured.
Evening Standard; Times Educational Supplement The link that the university has with the College of Law in the delivery of the OU law programme was referred to in an interview with the College director. The Times The Society of IT Management is to sponsor up to five members a year to take the OUBS MBA programme in an attempt to encourage IT specialists to break into top management. The Guardian; Computer Weekly;Town Hall In a reply to a reader seeking suggestions on staying mentally alert, Daily Telegraph education editor John Clare reported a fellow reader who had suggested the Open University – “the ideal mind-broadening exercise”. Daily Telegraph
l News from the regions
SECTION 12 NEWS FROM THE REGIONS Region 1 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in London that attracted coverage included:
Adult Learners Week activities at Sutton House.
Region 2 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in the South that attracted coverage included:
open events in Andover, Bournemouth, Maidenhead and Slough;
Adult Learners Week activities in Basingstoke;
a lecture in Oxford by Dr Mark Pittaway of the Faculty of Arts.
Region 3 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in the South-West attracted coverage included:
the university’s involvement in the Combined Universities for Cornwall project.
Region 4 There was local press coverage of a West Midlands-based “blended learning” course, which has been developed with input from OU staff.
Region 6 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in the East of England that attracted coverage included:
regional involvement in the i10, a business brokerage service for the East of England, made up of the region’s higher education providers;
an information event in Chelmsford.
Region 7 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in Yorkshire that attracted coverage included:
regional involvement in the Yorkshire Universities project, which is made up of higher education providers in the Yorkshire region.
Region 10 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in Wales that attracted coverage included:
an open day at the Cardiff regional centre;
regional involvement in a learning partnerships event in Pontypridd;
an information event in Merthyr Tydfil.
Region 11 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in Scotland that attracted coverage included:
information events in an Edinburgh bookshop, and in Greenock and Renfrew;
sponsorship by the Open University in Wales of a category in the Welsh Woman of the Year awards scheme.
Region 12 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in Ireland that attracted coverage included:
information events in Ballymena, Belmullet, Dublin and Longford.
Region 13 Events and activities organised by or featuring the Open University in the South-East that attracted coverage included:
sponsorship by the Open University in the South-East of Brighton Festival events.
l Broadcast Features
SECTION 13 BROADCAST FEATURES Coverage for BBC/OU
programmes Local radio and TV
13.1 Coverage for BBC/OU programmes Hollywood Science:
Coverage for the second series of Hollywood Science, in which presenters Dr Jonathan Hare and Robert Llewellyn considered the scientific plausibility of a number of Hollywood film stunts, continued.
This series was referred to in the previous Media Coverage Report to Council. Final cuttings numbers have now been collated:
TV listings magazines previews and features 12
National press previews (TV supplements and
daily TV pages) 43
National press articles (non-TV sections) 3
National press reviews 7
Regional press previews and reviews (TV supplements
and daily TV pages) 137
Specialist titles (eg film magazines) 5
Broadcast features 4
Beagle 2: A Mission to Mars
Beagle 2: A Mission to Mars, a two-part documentary shown at 11.20pm on BBC Two in early June, attracted limited press coverage of a total of 12 press cuttings.
This response can be attributed to a number of things:
a) the late transmission time of the programmes;
b) the large number of other new series – in prime-time – that were competing for the TV previewers’ attention and space;
c) the late availability of media preview tapes due to close-to-transmission editing.
13.2 Local radio and television Local radio across the UK carried reports about a number of open events – in Lincoln, Leicester and Derby, for example. Others carried news about the recipients of Adult Learners’ Week awards, presented by regional centres.
l And Finally …
SECTION 14 AND FINALLY …
Singer and musician Joan Armatrading continues to refer to her recently-completed OU degree in local newspaper articles that also promoted her new album and her UK tour.
Mail on Sunday’s You magazine; Camberley News; Cambridge Evening News; Eastern Daily Press; Reading Chronicle; Surrey Advertiser; Woking News & Mail; York Evening Press; Yorkshire Post Coverage of comedian Lenny Henry’s OU studies also continues in local media.
Islington Gazette … and the list of media personalities who earn OU degrees continues to grow. Among the latest is HTV regional news presenter Richard Wyatt. Bristol Evening Post Weekly women’s titles continue to refer to plans by Coronation Street actor Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria Sutherland, to study with the Open University. Chat A quiz appearance by an OU maths tutor on BBC Radio Two’s Steve Wright show prompted a positive discussion about the merits and the flexibility of the university. BBC Radio Two Is there no publication in which the university is not mentioned? Among the latest surprising finds is an article in a title for smallholders, in which feature writer Katie Thear referred to how she feared that she had transposed her OU essay about the Pre-Raphaelites and her copy for the magazine, prompting her worry that her tutor was to learn too much about rearing geese! Country Smallholding A specialist education title referred to a Sussex performance of Willy Russell’s EducatingRita, whose Rita takes up Open University study. It said: “The Open University has produced many hundreds of Ritas since Julie Walters brought her to the screen – yet still not enough. The Open was created for the Ritas of this world, but ended up providing additional higher education to the middle classes.” Education Journal Graduate Nigel Myhill was given a makeover by Wetherspoon News, the publication for customers of the Wetherspoon pub chain. He graduated this year with an honours degree in engineering and computing. Wetherspoon News