Category Archives: Future News

‘Future News gave me a wider vision and a sense of fearlessness’

Sayan Ganguly was one of the young journalists selected from India to participate in the Future News Conference 2015. He writes about how he connected with delegates from across the world

At the conference with delegates from other countries

At the conference with delegates from other countries

Our excitement peaked as high as we were flying when a message flashed across our screen: ‘Time left for arrival is 5 minutes.’ As our airline gradually descended through the clouds we caught our first glimpse of Edinburgh. The tiny fields, the cottages, the toy-like cars moving in a line and the vast water body called ‘Water of Leith’ looked enticing and gave us a short preview to what our five-day stay would be like.

There were two other delegates from India along with me. As we stepped out of immigration clearance the air was cold and refreshing. A few minutes later we found a cheerful lady from the British Council waving a placard and soon we were amid the other delegates from 20 other countries, ready to take part in Future News 2015, a conference for aspiring and budding journalists from across the world.

With delegates from Bangladesh and Pakistan at the Edinburgh airport

With delegates from Bangladesh and Pakistan at the Edinburgh airport

Personally, I was excited to see the Pakistani delegates, maybe emanating from a deep sense of an unexplained brotherhood. I knew from the very onset that we would click and I was not disappointed.

After the three-day conference I walked out as an individual with a broader wavelength,  a wider vision and a fearlessness that was imbibed from certain magnetic personalities especially the Reuters’ Managing Editor and ex-Pulitzer winner Paul Ingrassia and Al Jazeera’s war correspondent Sue Turton.

Sayan at the Pollock Halls of Residence with delegates from Lebanon

Sayan at the Pollock Halls of Residence with delegates from Lebanon

The delegates also added to my learning curve. They came from diverse backgrounds, from various countries each with their own perspectives and problems when it came to media and the role it played.

Apart from diving into the history of Edinburgh’s streets and alleys post-conference we also experienced each other’s cultures through long nights of debates, dance and exchange of new ideas.

My Pakistani friends left me with an important message, which echoes my sentiments: “We love you all. It’s not our people but only our governments who are at fault.”

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‘Future News helped us understand global realities’

Sarah Zia was one of the young journalists selected from India to participate in the Future News Conference 2015. She writes about her experience 

A weekend full of news is not a big deal for journalists but a weekend full of young people brimming with idealism and confidence, all set to learn from the veterans of the profession, was certainly a pleasant surprise for the nearly 80 delegates from various Commonwealth countries. From 4-6 September aspiring and early-career journalists gathered in the iconic Scottish Parliament to attend master classes on a wide range of topics related to journalism such as warzone reporting and business journalism.

The Future News 2015 Conference was organised by Future News in association with Reuters, Herald and Times group as well as British Council.

Over the course of three days, industry seniors shared valuable insights on otherwise unknown aspects of the profession apart from sharing significant tips on how to maximise one’s output as a journalist. The key talking point across the three days was the unpredictable nature of media and the disruption caused by the rise of new forces such as social media.

The line-up of speakers included Paul Ingrassia from Reuters, Donald J Macdonald from STV, Alice Enders from Enders Analysis, Douglas Fraser from BBC Scotland and Greg Beitchman from CNN. Among the most popular talks were by Sue Turton from AL Jazeera English and James Waterson from Buzzfeed UK. The speakers were an interesting mix of regional and international players.

A key highlight was Turton’s address on how she survived conflicts and the difficulties of reporting on the move for a 24X7 news environment. Similarly, being connected to a live news meeting at the Reuters headquarters was an experience that gave us an insight on how news was made. Theoretically, most of us were aware of the relevance of news values like proximity, but hearing the top editors at Reuters take major decisions gave us an idea of how these principles were implemented.

The three days were not just about learning new ideas and insights but also about understanding the experiences of fellow journalists in other countries. While some challenges are universal, others are more local and this event helped us understand global realities in a better way as we heard straight from the horse’s mouth.

The key USP of the event was the diversity of themes discussed under one roof. To say, I returned as an enriched person, would be an understatement.

Sarah Zia (left) and fellow delegate Sweta Goswami (right) with Sue Turton from AL Jazeera

Sarah Zia (left) and fellow delegate Sweta Goswami (right) with Sue Turton from AL Jazeera

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Future News was a confidence booster

Sweta Goswami was one of the young journalists selected from India to participate in the Future News Conference 2015. She writes about the insights she gained

Sweta in Edinburgh

Sweta in Edinburgh

Working for two years as a metro reporter with a leading national newspaper in New Delhi somehow gradually limited my thinking process. Not that I did not enjoy my work, I certainly did and still do. Unknowingly I was just drudging along; stuck beneath a pile of routine stories. The courage, confidence and most importantly, the very realisation that my output in terms of reportage can go way beyond the boundaries of the national capital or even India is what Future News 2015 gave me.

Future News 2015, a conference organised by the British Council for young journalists, is a major confidence booster right from the start. It starts with you being selected along with just two others through a national level essay competition. Getting selected for it in a country as big as India itself is quite something (read: to add to your CV).

Time really flew since the day I was informed that I was selected for the fully-funded trip to Edinburgh, the venue for this year’s conference. By the afternoon of 3 September, I was there at the Edinburgh Airport and by evening, I had already made around two dozen friends from countries like Egypt, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Trinidad and Tobago, South Africa, Lebanon and of course UK.
The three-day conference began 4 September onwards, and on the very first day I got to learn how news from various continents is discussed in daily editorial meetings in an organisation as big as Reuters — all thanks to Reuters Managing Editor Paul Ingrassia for the insight. Until then, I was just used to daily editorial meetings to discuss stories pertaining to New Delhi or at max, for the whole of India. On the same day, Andy Bissell of Bournemouth University gave me some real witty techniques to be used while interviewing a personality.

Day 2 was probably the most exciting for all the 93 delegates present in the conference. Sue Turton, foreign correspondent with Al Jazeera gave us an amazing sneak peek into how war/conflict reporting is done. The videos she showed actually kept most of us at the edge of our seats.

On Day 3, the last day of the conference, we were given an insight into the world of start-ups. James Waterson of buzzfeed.com narrated the story of how the start-up has grown in just two years since its inception and has now even overtaken The Guardian.

The sessions aside, the major takeaway for me from Furture News 2015 has been two fold — First, it helped me build a rapport with the speakers off stage during tea or lunch breaks second, I ended up making a lot of friends from across the globe. We all are connected through Facebook and Twitter and most importantly, everyone happily agrees to debate, discuss or just talk about the issues that persist in their respective country.

Meanwhile, the learning did not just end with the culmination of the conference, it is still on. The real work starts now, which is gradually building on the network you created in just 3 days!

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