With Future News Worldwide 2018 just about to begin, we caught up with programme managers, Sarah Gorman and Dom Hastings, to get the lowdown on this year's event...
Why do we run an international conference for young journalists?
Sarah: Future News Worldwide helps young people from all over the world to develop a wide range of quality journalism skills, and to establish the UK as a global contributor in supporting the next generation of top international reporters. We believe that the learning our delegates gain and connections they make will help them to become dependable leaders of their industry, which will ultimately strengthen democracy and encourage peace and stability across the world.
Who are the speakers this year?
Dom: We have 18 incredible speakers joining us, kicking off with veteran Kenyan journalist Catherine Gicheru. Then we’ll hear from the likes of David Pratt, a five-time finalist in the Amnesty International Media Awards for human rights reporting; Reuters Global News Editor, Alessandra Galloni; and Snapchat-for-journalism pioneer, Yusuf Omar.
You can watch four of the sessions live from the Parliament, including BBC News presenter and former BBC China Editor, Carrie Gracie, who has herself been the subject of much recent media attention through her successful campaign for equal pay from her employers.
What themes will they be exploring?
Sarah: They’ll be looking at what it takes to be a journalist in the modern world. Some of the sessions will offer practical tips, such as making the most of digital tools like Facebook and Google, how to spot fake news and how to sensitively interview victims of trauma. Others will draw on personal experience; for example, Donald Martin, Editor-in-Chief at Newsquest Scotland will give a view from the editor’s chair on how to make tough decisions on what to publish. And Media Legal Defence Initiative CEO, Lucy Freeman, will be looking at areas of the world where journalists and media freedoms are under threat.
How many delegates are there, where are they all from and how did you choose them?
Dom: This year we have 100 delegates attending from 50 countries right across the globe, including five from Scotland and 13 from the rest of the UK. They’ll be joining their contemporaries from further afield, places like Kazakhstan and the Solomon Islands. We’re more international than the World Cup!
Each year we run an open competition through the British Council’s global network of offices, which reaches out to universities and encourages students to go online and submit an application. As long as you’re aged 18-25, studying at a university and passionate about journalism in any form, then you’re eligible to apply. Our team of assessors then read through all 2,500 (!) to pick our top 100.
I hear there’s a WhatsApp group with literally thousands of messages. What’s going on?
Sarah: Football, mostly! 100 young people all cheering on their team and sympathising with those who have dropped out. The World Cup has been a great ice breaker to get them all talking about their country, why they love it and what change they would like to see. And there’s a lot of discussion about what to pack for the conference – who could have foreseen a Scottish heatwave?
Finally, what’s the best thing about Future News Worldwide?
Dom: Without a doubt, it’s the connections. Future News Worldwide gives delegates a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet 99 other brilliant young journalists from across the world, who will then go on to help and support each other throughout their careers. They’ll gain rare insights on the media in each other’s countries, and have a contact close to hand when a story develops at the other side of the globe. And who knows, one day they might even find themselves working together as colleagues.