I am writing this post on a wobbly train from London. It’s just gone 7pm, and I’m exhausted from a busy day at the Student Media Summit 2014. It’s been a whole year since my last visit to this two-day conference in London. Ever since the last one ended, I have been incredibly eager to return to the event I adored so much last year.
The media summit is hosted by the NUS and Amnesty International. It brings together aspiring journalists who volunteer in student media and successful working media-professionals. The NUS and Amnesty are renowned for arranging great speakers for the summit, and both organisations cherish the strong relationships they have with student media across the nation and big news corporations.
If you’re part of student media at your university, each outlet is entitled to two tickets to the event. Therefore, having attended the event in 2013 as part of ‘rhubarbTV’, I was very excited to return this year – this time as a Postgraduate-to-be and as a freelance journalist.
Many of this year’s delegates were undergraduate and most were part of their university’s student media outlets. I met wonderful attendees from Leeds, York, and Warwick – students had really made the effort to come down to London for the event.
The first of the weekend Summit, involved a Welcome Speech given by Lewis Cooper (NUS Public Affairs Manager) and Tim Hancock (Amnesty’s Director of the Chief Executive’s Office). Afterwards we were directed to our relevant sessions for which we had signed up for that morning. The sessions and lectures ranged from: Sub-Editing, Investigative Journalism, to Presenting skills and Making the perfect website. The range and variety of each session made me wish I could attend them all – especially considering the extraordinarily high calibre of the speakers.
For my first workshop I attended ‘Feature Writing’ with bubbly Zoe Beaty (@) from Grazia Magazine. Zoe came across as incredibly down to earth and as someone who really knows her field. I had read many of her articles prior to meeting her, and wasn’t disappointed by the woman behind the excellent stories.
Buzzing from the first of three sessions of the day, I ran along to the second workshop on ‘Interview Skills’ with Sky News’ political correspondent Anushka Asthana (@). Anushka was equally as fascinating, she was fiercely intelligent and was brimming with funny stories about her encounters with politicians. Her tales captured the group, we learnt about her experience doing ‘Death Knocks’ and everyone in the room was in awe of her career and her resilience. I was also pleased to discover that she studied for an MA in Magazine Journalism at City University. I could do a lot worse than emulate her career in journalism that’s for sure!
Lastly, I chose to attend the session on ‘Newsgathering’ held by BBC London reporter, Tarah Welsh (@Tarahwelsh). As well as being the friendliest, most real and kind journalist I’d ever met, I was enthralled by Tarah’s tenacity and journey from small time PR girl to fierce reporter at the Beeb. She was a great speaker and I think everyone in the room resonated with her because she was so amiable. Tarah seemed like she genuinely wanted to help and was intrigued in our journeys too – she wanted to know the routes we planned to take, and advised us accordingly. Tarah was a lucky one though; she had managed to secure herself a place on the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme – giving her perfect leverage into the industry. But it was reassuring to hear Tarah say that people can get into the news organisation through a variety of routes, and that there is generally no direct path into working for the BBC.
So, that’s my report from Day One! I’m looking forward to tomorrow after a great, informative day today. I just hope the train journey is a little less manic in the morning.
In the meantime, follow the summit trend at #studentmedia2014 to see what the delegates are up to throughout the conference!