News UK host a lively evening of debate about #RealNews
Topical, engaging and coloured with a whole range of different views, Creative Access’ April Masterclass took place at News UK – the newspaper conglomerate that plays host to The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times at its lush, 17-storey office block that was opened next to The Shard in 2014.
Led by a panel of shrewd industry experts, Creative Access interns were treated to a two-hour deep dive into the perks and challenges of embarking upon a career in journalism.
Sathnam Sanghera, Features Writer at The Times, author and outgoing Chair of Creative Access, took the helm to moderate a panel discussion that saw journalists and editors field questions on the current state of journalism and the importance of diversifying the newsroom.
To set the scene, Emma Tucker, Deputy Editor of The Times, pulled no punches by walking interns through a typically manic day at the paper. She said taking a news story from morning conference to press each and every day requires diligence, attention to detail and a desire to maintain the highest quality of journalism at The Times. She went on to stress the importance of diversity by encouraging everyone to read as much as they possibly can: “we want people to read widely around other publications,” identifying herself first and foremost as a reader. Emma said that to do her role well, she needs to be diplomatic, quick and hav2 a wide range of interests.
Alongside Emma was Leaf Arbuthnot, a Features Writer for The Sunday Times. Sharing her enthusiasm for story-driven, feature journalism, Leaf explained the advantages of working for a weekend paper: “You can take the time to develop a long view”; in an age of social media and viral hit journalism, a more nuanced and measured approach to stories by journalists is often far more valued, and is an approach that can be applied to all creative industries. However, she warned: “I had to learn not to care for my stories too much – newspapers can be brutal places. Keeping a cool head is important.”
As one of the more senior members of the panel, Stephen Bevan, News Editor at The Sunday Times, offered some timely advice that centred on passion to Creative Access interns keen to prove themselves in creative workspaces. “That’s one of the benefits of working at a newspaper – when you’re on that floor seeing the energy and focus” he said. His comments honed in on the idea that regardless of background, genuine interest and work ethic will always be recognised favourably. He claimed that he “knows a little about a lot of things, but is not an expert on any.”
The panel spoke about the challenges of running a newspaper in an age of so much free content. Emma stated that her number one reason to be a journalist is “Donald Trump”. In an era of fake news, The Times is a trusted brand, which people will increasingly turn to for their news source. Stephen backed up this point by talking about the volume of due diligence done behind every article.
With an upcoming general election that could have lasting consequences on the electorate, it was of no surprise to the panel to see a Q&A session provoke a range of detailed, intellectual questions from Creative Access interns that ranged in topic from Jeremy Corbyn and fake news to the financing of quality journalism and “new media”. If 2016’s news highlights of Brexit and Trump inspired anything, it inspired a whole new generation of young people to become politically engaged; nowhere would that have been more demonstrable than at Creative Access’ News UK Masterclass.
With huge thanks to the Viv Regan at the News Academy and to all our speakers at News UK for hosting such a great event.