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Universities and the Media – Friend or Foe? | Online Panel and Debate

Date / Time

24 May 2021, 9am - 10:30am

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Universities and the Media – Friend or Foe? | Online Panel and Debate

An event with the University of Gloucestershire and HEPI

Many university activities are widely celebrated, such as developing a vaccine for COVID-19 or educating nurses, doctors and engineers. Despite this, universities largely receive a negative coverage in the UK media. This includes regular coverage of: “mickey mouse degrees”, high executive salaries, snow flake students, lack of free speech, student debt, a poor record on access and participation, and an apparent crisis in student mental health.

Universities lack adequate coordination at the sector level and have failed to respond to these issues collaboratively and effectively, making any response appear defensive, self-interested, and awkward.

Universities therefore need to respond to criticism and explore ways of presenting themselves in a collaborative and positive way, in the media and with government. This would enable them to capture the esteem with which some University activities are held and gain more friends in the media, government, and society more generally.

This online event, in association with HEPI (The Higher Education Policy Institute) and the University of Gloucestershire School of Media is designed to ignite lively debate and discussion on this issue.

The forum will provide a positive way forward for universities and the media to work together to provide incredible stories, respond to criticism and create a framework for future working.

The Panel

Chaired by Rachel Hewitt, Director of Policy and Advocacy, HEPI | @rachel_hewitt@hepi_news

Rt Hon Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood, former Universities and Science Minister | @CSkidmoreUK

Kirsty Walker, Director of Media Relations, UCL – University College London | @kirstywalker1

John Gill, Editor, Times Higher Education | @JG_THE

The event and our panellists will be introduced by Ulani Seaman, University of Gloucestershire Journalism Student | @ulanimae

The event will be opened by Dr Matthew Andrews, Registrar at University of Gloucestershire | @HE_MPA

This Forum is Ideal For

  • UK University Media and Communications professional
  • Education policy makers, influencers and researchers
  • Senior leaders in Higher Education
  • Media organisations, journalists and education correspondents worldwide
  • UK HE consultants and service providers
  • Media students, researchers and educators

Booking is free (via Eventbrite) and everyone is welcome.


9.00 – 9.10

Welcome to the event and brief opening remarks, Matthew Andrews (Secretary and Registrar at the University of Gloucestershire).

9.10 – 9.45

Panellists outline their positions – introduced by Ulani Seaman (Journalism student in the School of Media at the University of Gloucestershire).

9.45 – 10.25

Questions and discussion, chaired by Rachel Hewitt (HEPI) – online delegates will be able to post questions and contribute to the discussion via the chat.

10.25 – 10.30

Thanks and conclusion, Rachel Hewitt (HEPI).