Alumni Matters 2009

Peter Dewrance

Peter Dewrance


The idea behind this blog came to me some time ago, when I was teaching on a course some of you may remember – “Working in the Media Industry” – though I must admit, I had no idea then it would be a blog.

I suggested to David Sleight, then Head of School, that though we did sometimes feature alumni stories as case studies in seminars, it would be a good idea to find more of them, and to use them to inform all our students about the realities of working in the media.

David agreed that I could work on this idea and I soon realised that there was more to this idea than met the eye. I already knew that other universities used alumni stories for publicity purposes, and I saw no reason why we should not do likewise. I eventually came up with a model for an alumni network which would address both agendas – to inform students and help publicise our school.

One possible snag – would graduates be interested enough to join such a network and tell their stories? The clue was that some graduates had already told us about their life after Lincoln. New to the school, I had been impressed by the number of emails from graduates which David regularly passed on to the staff. As a quick test I contacted 20 of these alumni and simply ran my idea by them. To my amazement, 19 replied positively within a day or so.

From then on, it was not so much a question of are we going to do this, as how are we going to do it? The obstacles were quite daunting, but by the start of this academic year, I was fairly sure I had found a feasible way to do what we wanted, by setting up an open source blog, using WordPress.

The advantages I saw were that no special web expertise would be needed, updating would be easy, multimedia content could be featured and the blog would eventually not be dependant on any one individual to run it.

Well, some of that has come true, and what you see here is the result – 14 alumni stories in less that six months, complete with still pictures, links and video clips (where are those radio clips we were promised?), all generated by graduates.

Into the bargain we are now including stories generated by school staff, news and events, opportunities and some useful industry links, so the blog is evolving rapidly into a genuine network. I hope in the near future also to feature student generated stories, so graduates can keep tabs on next year’s competition!

As well as running the blog, we are very keen to invite graduates back in person to talk to students and staff, and we are planning to hold a Question Time style event on campus some time soon. If you are interested, let us know!

Meanwhile, keep those stories rolling in and if you know of any other graduates who might be interested in joining in, spread the word.

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