Ato Erzan-Essien

Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Programme Leader Combined Honour Journalism

Previously editor of The Big Issue in the North magazine, Ato joined the Department as a lecturer in journalism in 2005.


Ato has a BA (Hons) in Theology (Brunel), an MA in Journalism (UCLan) and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Ato’s experience includes working as a news reporter for the Lancashire Evening Post and as a sub-editor at Ananova, The Bury Times and The Bolton Evening News, where he served as a sports sub/writer and special projects coordinator on the paper's Newspapers in Schools scheme.

Prior to his journalism career, Ato successfully studied for a degree in Theology at London Bible College (now London School of Theology), during which time he was also engaged as a project worker for the Shaftesbury Society supporting young homeless people in London, a volunteer visitor for Aids Care and Education Trust also based in London and shortly after graduating, a warden for Creative Support – a Manchester-based organization supporting people with mental health needs.

In his spare time Ato is a keen (dodgy-kneed) runner, (shouty) athletics coach and gardener (more ‘slash and burn’ than ‘green-fingered’). And as well as walking, camping and playing the ukulele very badly, what he loves best is spending time with his four ladies (one wife and three daughters by way of clarification).


Ato has taught on a wide range of modules within the Journalism Programme – covering areas such as news, features, multimedia, journalism history and the role of the press in society. His main area of interest is media law and ethics: this was the subject of his research Masters in Journalism – examining the viability of the Reynolds defence as a framework for public interest journalism.


Ato has overseen the setting up of school newspaper/magazine projects in Bolton as a way of increasing engagement with socially-excluded groups and was involved in the editing, publication and promotion of the media law textbook Newsdesk Law by Vincent Kelly.

More recently he has become interested in issues around engagement, efficacy and retention at undergraduate level – with a particular focus on first year undergraduate students. It was the subject of a paper he presented at the University of Chester’s 2013 staff conference. He is currently developing aspects of this initial work into PhD research.

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