Mr Ian Tapster
Academic Lead (Communication)
I’m the Academic Lead (Communication) for the School of Film, Media and Communication within the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries. I’m also the Course Leader and Principal Lecturer for BA (Hons) Journalism, where my specialist areas of teaching cover politics, ethics, current affairs and financial journalism.
I studied a degree in History and Politics, which helped me land my first job as a medieval archaeologist in Newcastle, which I thoroughly enjoyed for three years. After this, I was a curator for the Department of Oriental Antiquities (as it was known then) at the British Museum, which I recall as an incredible experience. I was brought in to help computerise the collection for objects such as Chinese porcelain and Japanese prints.
Through the connections made there, I was invited to an interview for a job with the Financial Times, where I began my career as a financial journalist and within 18 months, I became the editor of my section. I provided one of the first subscription-based screen services with financial reports before the Internet became widespread and was also writing on the markets as a freelancer for the European Newspaper.
After five years working with the Financial Times, I set up my own company that provided real-time reports by quickly translating financial markets data and providing analysis to be ready within five minutes. In this way, my business partners and I started offering analysis for the financial market in 1993.
After 15 years running the business, I moved to Portsmouth where I carried on with my work remotely and joined a drama group where one of the members offered me the chance to do a guest lecture on politics at the University of Portsmouth to work as a PTHP lecturer delivering a module on politics. This led to me teaching once a week on the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) accredited module, and then in 2008 I was offered a full-time position.
In my spare time, I’m an actor and director with a local amateur dramatic group, and I’m currently undertaking a Master’s degree in Education and Management.
As Principal Lecturer for BA (Hons) Journalism, I don’t like to think of my role as ‘lecturing’ students, but more as an open conversation. I hope that students remember their university experience as a time of enjoyment and learning, and where they gained lasting friendships. Being a vocational course (twice awarded best Journalism course by NCTJ), I hope to guide students in becoming confident individuals with industry-standard skills who go on to have interesting jobs that fulfil their potential.
For three years, I was part of the Ethics Panel Committee in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and now I teach an ethics-related module for first-year students. One of the aspects I enjoy most in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries is the range of creative staff I meet with industry experience and connections. In this way, students can make the most out of their time at University. For instance, our Journalism Newsroom facility emulates a real working environment where students use industry-standard software to write copy, edit and upload videos in the practical hands-on element of the Journalism course. The students can also connect and work with The News in Portsmouth as part of their placement module.
Undergraduates can attend industry talks; we recently had The Observer’s former Middle East Journalist correspondent for The Observer as a guest, and a surprising high turnout for Max Clifford’s visit to Portsmouth.
I also do guest lectures across the University on various topics, including how to use humour in the classroom. I believe teaching is a conversation: challenging students to research, debate and form their own opinions ready to make their mark in the world.
My teaching reflects the nature of my journalistic background as I deliver units that encompass British politics, foreign affairs and financial issues.
I also provide some historical context to journalism’s role in society, as well as taking an in-depth look at the importance of ethics in contemporary journalism.