‘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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