The Future of British Journalism – a golden age ahead?

Posted by Richard Sambrook

wfrontline_clubThe usual grizzled clientele of London’s Frontline Club – the home of international journalists – gave way to 150 student journalists from around the UK recently. The Future of British Journalism event was organised by the editors of student newspapers around the country to enable them to meet and collaborate – and to learn and discuss the future of journalism in the UK. It was sponsored by Cardiff’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and by City University and Teach First. A packed house listened to and questioned two panels (video here)  – first of younger journalists at the start of their careers, and then of UK’s leading print editors. 

Sam Coates, the Times Banking Correspondent moderated the first panel with Joshi Hermann, a feature writer from the Evening Standard, Lucy Fisher, World News journalist at The Sunday Times, James Ball, data Journalist at The Guardian. Among the advice offered – if you want a career in journalism, get an internship and refuse to leave! And James Ball said anyone who thought it was cute not to understand numbers and data should “P*** off right now!” Data journalism was just one aspect of the changes to the profession which, in the view of a panel with the average age of 24, heralded a great future.

FrontlineEventPanelThe second panel also believed journalism had a golden age ahead of it as technology opened up the world and opportunities to communicate in unprecedented way. Editor of The Times, John Witherow (a Cardiff Journalism graduate) Sarah Baxter Editor of The Sunday Times magazine, Ian Katz Deputy Editor of The Guardian were questioned by The Independent’s Steve Richards. There was discussion of the role of social media, of pay models, of mistakes made and, of course, how to get a job. Ian Katz from The Guardian memorably advised people not just to blog opinion but to “cool your boots and do some work before you publish” – in other words don’t overlook the importance of basic reporting. And he said although national newspapers weren’t recruiting many people they were looking for those who had skills (including digital and data skills) that most of their staff didn’t. And he praised the ingenuity of Daan Louter who built a website devoted to applying for a job at The Guardian! 

Collated tweets of the event are here.