Media City debate looks at future of journalism

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What will journalism look like in eight years time when the BBC has its 100th birthday?

That was the talking point at Vision 2022, a conference at Media City UK in Salford attended by some of our students and associate lecturer Helen Johnston.

They were able to question top journalists from the BBC and other news organisations about where the industry is heading.

Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper told them one of the biggest challenges was delivering content in a way people wanted to receive it.

“We have to think about delivering it in whatever form, on whatever device, and at whatever time people want it,” he said.

He warned that journalism involved hard work and wasn’t a nine to five job.

Quoting Thomas Jefferson he said: “The harder you work, the luckier you become.”

BBC Breakfast deputy editor Stuart Rowson said although times were changing, core values remained the same.

He said: “You need to be accurate and make sure you spell correctly and use apostrophes correctly – people remember your mistakes.”

Journalism wasn’t about being famous but about being able to tell a story and being a “well-trained gossip”.

BBC Sport correspondent Ben Smith said Twitter was a way for student journalists to make a name for themselves – but he warned it was more important to be accurate than first when breaking a story.

Manchester Evening News head of content Paul Gallagher said they had recruited for new jobs in live blogging, social media, data journalism and coding.

Dave Goddard, of Tangerine PR, and a former Sun and News of the World journalist, advised students to think laterally when looking for a new angle on a story.

Using the example of David Beckham signing for Paris St Germain, he said: “You could go and interview a footballer who has already played in France and find out what their experience was like.”

Second year journalism student Danielle Hayden said it was an amazing experience: “It motivated me so much and I really want a career in the BBC now.”

Third year student Jake Asby said he also found it really useful.

“It was full of vital information which was not only positive but very encouraging in what is an extremely competitive industry,” he said.

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