Lecturer living in Lancaster area plunges to death in Turkey

Robert Beers, UCLan lecturer
Robert Beers, UCLan lecturer

A veteran journalist and lecturer at the University of Central Lancashire who lived in the Lancaster area has died after plunging from a tower block in Turkey.

Robert Beers, 67, worked in the School of Journalism, Media and Communication at UCLan for eight years.

It is believed Mr Beers was flying to India for a university conference when he stopped in Istanbul.

The Turkish newspaper Habertürk said Mr Beers fell from the fourth floor of a hotel in the Güngören district of the city at around 4.30pm local time. There are not thought to have been any suspicious circumstances.

Mr Beers made regular trips to India to hold workshops with students studying for a UCLan degree at the Asian School of Communication, based in New Delhi.

Originally from America, he was an award-winning television correspondent and a documentary producer for US network and local television news for over two decades.

He completed assignments in more than 60 countries and was a news consultant in the Americas, before working for The Guardian, BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service.

As UCLan’s course leader in MA International Journalism he tutored postgraduate programmes, leading four MA modules and one BA module.

A spokesman for the university said: “It is with great sadness that the university reports the death of Robert Beers, course leader on UCLan’s MA in International Journalism, who died on Monday, February 11, while abroad in Turkey.”

Mick Gornall, Dean of the School of Journalism and Digital Communication, said everyone at UCLan was ‘devastated’ by the news.

He said: “A vastly experienced, award-winning television correspondent and documentary producer, Robert Beers was a real inspiration and great mentor to our students.

“He will be sorely missed and our thoughts are with his family.”

Andy Dickinson, Senior Lecturer in Journalism and a close colleague, said: “The loss of the breadth and range Robert’s knowledge and experience brought to teaching is enormous but it’s the understated, generous and human way that he shared that with students and colleagues that will be most missed.

“Even the briefest of conversations with a student or over coffee could reveal another experience or story - working with Orson Wells or the impact of covering conflicts in South America.

“Losing the chance of hearing the other untold stories, rich with a passion for journalism he had since a teenager, is one of many reasons he will be missed.”

Dozens of tributes to the lecturer were left by his students past and present on Twitter and Facebook.

@CraigJamesWall said: “Shocked and saddened to learn the death of Robert Beers. A lovely man.”

Iury Gaspar ‏@Sir_iury said: “May you rest in peace Robert Beers - It was an honour to be taught by you; I will always remember your wise words & guidance!”

A post on the International Journalism at UCLan Facebook page said: “Robert was an inspiration to students who shared a passion for war-reporting and international journalism alike and will be missed by many.”

Hannah Masters-Waage said: “Such sad news, he was a great lecturer and a lovely man, his stories of reporting inspired me so much to pursue my own journalism journey. Love to all his family.”

Tomasz Dominiak said: “One of the best lecturers I’ve ever come across. This is really sad news for everyone who had the privilege of studying under the guidance of Robert Beers.”

Sian Baker said: “We who are left behind are now short of an important fountain of knowledge. I am sad for those students who never met or who were taught by you, unbeknownst to them, they have lost out.”

Valeria Camerino Goodbye Robert said: “RIP. You were an inspiring and kindhearted human being, an extremely talented journalist and a wonderful teacher.”

Tanya Marie Ellis-Hanson said: “He was a great man. A great inspiration, the perfect mentor and at a very hard time, a life coach.”

Anne Buur Rip Robert said: “The world has lost a talented journalist and, more importantly, a lovely man.”