Picture: Tor Clark, lecturer and Oakham Town Councillor.
A lecturer from an NCTJ-accredited course is experiencing the Public Affairs syllabus from the other side of the press table, after taking a seat on Oakham Town Council.
Tor Clark, Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Journalism course at the Leicester Centre for Journalism, De Montfort University, and a former editor of the Rutland & Stamford Mercury, was co-opted to take a seat on the town council following an interview by other town councillors.
Councillor Clark, as his colleagues at De Montfort University now call him, spent years covering council meetings when he was a reporter in Northamptonshire in the 1980s and 90s.
Tor, who joined De Montfort University in 2004, has been increasingly involved in local affairs in his native Rutland since leaving the local paper, primarily through his activities as a parent governor of his daughters’ school.
Tor said: “When I was a reporter I used to quite like covering council meetings, which made me popular with colleagues who didn’t, so I suppose, freed from the necessity of local impartiality, this is a logical move for someone interested in local affairs.
“I also hope my inside knowledge might benefit the hundred or so DMU journalism students who study PA with us every year.”
Tor’s fledgling foray into public service has now turned full circle, as upon taking up his new post he was immediately interviewed by reporter Gary Vyse, who himself completed the NCTJ-accredited MA/PgDip course at De Montfort University.
The resulting article featured on page 3 of the Rutland & Stamford Mercury, the very newspaper Tor once edited.
Tor is now one of three councillors for the Oakham South East ward and will hold his seat until the next round of local elections in May 2011.