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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