Future Journalism in the city of Unicorns

Young journalist Burcu Cura represented Turkey in British Council’s Future News Worldwide 2017 Conference. Burcu had the chance to meet with seasoned practitioners of her profession as well as extending her professional network by exchanging ideas with her peers from 42 different countries. A big thank you from our part to Burcu Cura, for showing the courtesy to share her impressions of Future News Worldwide 2017 with us in the following blog post.

I would like to share with you the details of “Future News Worldwide 2017” programme organised by British Council, which brought young journalists from 42 countries together for four days and  how I managed to join it, all through my perspective. I hope this will prove to be useful for others who plan to apply to the programme in the coming years.

When I saw the call for application a criterion stuck to my mind. It said “To be under 25 years of age as of 1 July 2017”. After being able to apply by the virtue of only two days, I must confess that being accepted felt like a perfect birthday gift for me. So, please do not hesitate to try your chances with the programmes that you deem to be suitable for you. Another thing, if you always leave this kind of application to the last minute, as I do, keeping a short text introducing yourself near at hand can be very useful. Almost all the programmes you apply to will ask you to provide a short text describing yourself as well as why you think you are a suitable participant. So, having it ready may help you save time. 

Once you get accepted, British Council staff will help you manage every step of your travel, from visa application to airport transfer. This will allow you to easily prepare for the meticulously planned four-day-long trip to Edinburgh.

My observation is that, also widely discussed during the conference, a new trend is rising in the world of journalism. The apparent interest in  visuals has increased the need for journalists who are talented in  code literacy and video production. However, visuals alone are certainly not enough to sustain journalism. Accordingly, I can say that the selected participants were roughly split in half. Proving your abilities in either traditional media or digital media may give you the edge in the selection process.

During the two-day-long conference, 100 young journalist from 42 countries  had the chance to benefit from talks  by seasoned journalists working for global outlets such as BBC and Reuters. Also supportedthrough workshops led by Google and Facebook, the programme was brimming with new information for students who aim to develop themselves in data analysis.

It may differ for every participant but for me the most interesting speakers were BBC World Service Editor Mary Hockaday and Professor Tom Felle from  City University, London.

Hockaday’s presentation on content creation for  stories to be selected onto the editor’s desk was quite enlightening. She managed to explain that  creativity is the most important thing in journalism regardless of the medium with a simple example: Comparing the number of bullets fired during the Iraq War and the fight against ISIL by assigning a beeping sound to each bullet sounds like a much effective way to grasp the attention of listeners than some confusing statistics. 

An academic in one of the top journalism schools of the UK, Professor Tom Felle shared several questions that help to confirm the news stories disseminating in social media. The questions were practical and easily applicable.