In 2000, he was invited to the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, where he developed and runs the Journalism Leaders Programme as well as coordinating the Digital Editors Network and Journalism Leaders Forum series.The first academic invited to join the World Editors Forum of the World Association of Newspapers & News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), François initiated the World Newspaper Future & Change study, which he runs in collaboration with WAN-IFRA and the Norwegian School of Management.
He is currently also conducting two other research projects, ‘Laid Off: What do UK newspaper journalists do next?’ (in collaboration with journalism.co.uk ) and ‘Where else is the money? A study of online revenue models at UK newspapersFrancois is a researcher, author and educator who works with innovating news organisations and digital media start-ups worldwide. He is the founding director ofthe pioneering Journalism Leaders Programme at UCLan, home to the UK’s oldest journalism school, and initiator of the Media And Digital Enterprise project, which is the only UK winner of the International Press Institute’s inaugural News Innovation Contest sponsored by Google.
He has initiated three ongoing studies into the impacts of technology on the business and practices of the newspaper industry, including: Where else is the money? A study on the evolving business models of newspapers in the 66 cities in Britain; Laidoff: What do UK journalists do next? and the annual World Newsmedia Innovation Study, which he initiated in 2009 in collaboration with the World Association of Newspapers & News Publishers.
“As a research-active media management educator, I see myself as a boundary spanner, working to connect both the classroom and the wider community with the newsroom, the boardroom, and the (research) reading room,” said Francois.He added: “In my case, at least, this honour should really be re-named, a National Learning Fellow. I owe an enormous debt to the many talented professionals and would-be professionals worldwide who’ve participated in my courses, workshops and research projects – and to the University for allowing me space to innovate and to continue to learn.”