Author Archives: 2016student

BBC journalist praises effect of Diversity Fund

A former recipient of the Journalism Diversity Fund has praised the work being done to get people from all backgrounds into journalism and the media.

Gemma-Louise Stevenson, who now works for the BBC, spoke to delegates at the Society of Editors Conference 2016 where praised the fund which was set up by the National Council for the Training of Journalists and the Society of Editors in 2005.

The Fund aims to help a variety of people from those based in working class backgrounds to people with disabilities, helping them target full-time journalistic positions.

Stevenson said that the fund provided those with an interest in the industry with the chance to train in the profession regardless of their financial means or background.

She said: “The Journalism Diversity fund gets more voices in the newsroom. People who traditionally can’t go to university can now get into journalism and that’s the path I’ve taken.

“My advice would be go for the fund- my experience has been 100% positive,” Stevenson added.

The London-based reporter also drew on her own experience with disabilities in the working world, offering advice to youngsters who may be worried about entering the world of journalism.

“A lot of people who do have disabilities worry about their employers and if you need to take time off. But as a matter of fact, they want your voice, they want your work.

“I can’t write with a pen and paper for example. But my employer now has invested in assistive software and they’re so patient about waiting,” Stevenson added.

BBC’s Mojo expert says phones are the way forward

Marc Settle, Trainer, BBC Academy

The development of mobile journalism provides a vital tool for journalists, a trainer from the BBC Academy has told an audience of the Society of Editors.

Speaking at the Society’s annual conference in Carlisle, Marc Settle, an expert in video journalism told delegates that it was not now uncommon for full interviews and even documentaries filmed solely on a mobile device.

He said: “I don’t think we’ll get to a point where craft cameras will never be used but the gap between smartphones and these cameras is getting very narrow these days.

“News happens outside the office. You can do so much more on your smartphone,” he added.

Considering audiences is also crucial when it comes to using smartphones to gather journalistic footage, said Settle.

“You’ve always got to think about the audience- do they just want good footage?, he added, “If you have a phone, you have it with you all of the time. You can do anything at any moment.

“There is a slight concern that so many people could create content with smartphones that isn’t real but it’s up to editors and journalists to spot the fakes,” Settle concluded.

SoE conference branded overwhelming success by PR driving force Magstar

Behind every event there is always a team running things in the background, often without attendees even realising.

And at the annual Society of Editors Conference 2016, this was no different. Running and managing the event was back in the hands of the Magstar team, who were established in Cambridge back in 2001.

It’s been a busy couple of days in Carlisle and the work gone into maintaining the event, which saw over 200 people pass through the doors of the Halston hotel, has been unbelievable.

And Olivia Disley-Stevens, who is the Event Coordinator at Magstar has been impressed by just how well the event has gone yet again.

She said: “We’re a small team and we all chip in together but this year, the event has gone extremely well.

“We’ve had great help from everyone at the hotel, the delegates and the editors. We’re looking forward to next year and we always want to be bigger and better than the year before,” she added.

Magstar have now assisted the Society for over ten years now and there is a happy, healthy and productive relationship blossoming between the two parties, something Disley-Steven’s thinks is vital to the continued success of the event.

“We’ve worked with the Society for over ten years now and we work with them on their marketing and website as well.

“There’s now a friendship between us and the Society and it’s a nice thing to be able to do year-after-year and I thoroughly believe this relationship will carry on,” she said.

By Hayden Atkins


Jenni Sargent: “We need to address fake news”

The editor of First Draft News has issued a plea to journalists and the wider media to become more aware of the risk posed by ‘fake’ news.

Jenni Sargent, speaking at the Society of Editors conference 2016, believes modern-day journalism has made it extremely easy for publications to become slack when it comes to the verification process.

With the internet now dominating journalism at most levels, First Draft News aims to provide verification advice from a non-profit point-of-view.

And Sargent feels the pressure of getting to the story first sometimes leads to inconsistencies.

She said: “At First Draft, we try to provide some guidance to newsrooms to get through this tricky landscape of the internet.

“The reality of most newsrooms is that this urgency to report something that looks convincing is that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Sargent’s presentation also focused on the importance of sifting carefully through manipulated and potentially doctored user-generated content.

The Emhub director also feels it’s important to equip journalists with the tools and knowledge needed to differ between potentially fake and genuine sources.

She said: “Everyone is a source – it has potential to be fake, manipulated, and could be shared by social media users who have little knowledge of the topic.

“Understanding who your sources are, where your videos have come from, is so important. You need to question every piece of content.”

By Hayden Atkins

May 2017 target for BBC Local Journalism Partnership

A scheme by which the BBC is to fund 150 ‘local democracy’ reporters could be up and running by May 2017 it has been announced.

Speaking at the Society of Editors conference in Carlisle, Matthew Barraclough, Editor of the BBC Local Journalism Working Group said that he was that the provisions contained in the BBC White Paper could be trialled in time for the May 2017 Council elections.

The Local Journalism Working Group was set up in 2014 by James Harding, the BBC’s Director of News, to look at ways in which the BBC could work with local and regional media organisations for mutual benefit.

The proposals, published in the White Paper, would see the BBC fund 150 reporters that would be based in regional newsrooms and cover councils and local democracy. The aim of the scheme is to fill what is considered to be a ‘democratic deficit’ in the regions with a lack of resources impacting on the coverage of local authorities.

Barraclough, who is leading the project from the BBC side, said that he hoped the plans will benefit audiences with a growth of content.

He said: “We’re signing up to a joint content audit – an undertaking to find out where the journalism in the BBC is going.

“We’re trying to create a benchmark to see just where the journalism crosses over and what else we can offer.

“The aspiration is that the BBC will see outcomes as soon as possible and even possibly launch some reporters for the Council Elections in May 2017.”

Jeremy Clifford: “We want to work with Trinity Mirror collaboratively”

The Editor-in-Chief of Johnston Press has revealed that the publisher is working with fellow regional publisher Trinity Mirror to explore the benefit of collaborative projects.

Speaking at the Society of Editors conference in Carlisle, Clifford told media figures that the company was looking to break the trend between media companies and their rivals, suggesting that working together was now the way forward for the industry.

He said: “Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press are talking about sharing some of their resources when it comes to coming back from football games.

“We both go to the same events and we might both spend on freelance photography and duplicate efforts.”

“We shouldn’t see ourselves as competitors and we should in-fact be working together,” he added.

Speaking as part of a panel session looking at the progress of the BBC Local Journalism Working Group, Clifford, a former editor of the Yorkshire Press said that pooling resources was a means by which local and regional newspapers could produce public interest journalism in a challenging climate.

He said: “Working collaboratively, is the key to success in the industry. We know we’re challenged but what we don’t tend to do well enough is work together,” he added.

SoE conference gives local businesses the opportunity to shine

For most, the Society of Editors conference is the chance for some of the biggest names in journalism to meet, greet and interact.

This year’s event, based at the Halston Hotel in Carlisle, has attracted some key names from the media world, including the chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the editor of the BBC Journalism Working Group and the Head of the College of Policing.

While the conference provides a fantastic opportunity for those in the media world to come together, it’s also a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to showcase some of their finest products.

The Lakes Distillery are no exception and they were at the two-day event to show-off their upmarket brands of vodka, gin and whiskey, all manufactured locally.

And Rachel Fenwick, The Distillery’s Business development executive, told us just how vital the local community are to the company.

“The thing that is really special about companies in Cumbria is that they stick together.

“There’s a really big business community here and we work with a lot of people from all over the region and they’re so proud to have something that is Cumbrian born and bred,” she said.

Fenwick also discussed how relationships between editors and the company have improved after the two-day event.

“For the lakes distillery, we work a lot with editors and there are plenty that want to come down and review the distillery itself after speaking to us.

“For editors, it’s a really good opportunity for them to come down to the site, to see what we’re about and also spread the good word about the region in general,” Fenwick added.

Chris Blackhurst on Northern journalism: “It’s not all clogs, flat-caps and whippets”

The former editor of The Independent has made a call for the national press to give the North West more media coverage.

Speaking at the Society of Editors conference in Carlisle,  Chris Blackhurst, Executive Director of CTF Partners, welcomed delegates with praise for his homegrown roots and accredited his success to the “gritty Cumbrian folk”.

Addressing industry figures at the conference in Cumbria, Blackhurst said that part of the problem was a lack of self-belief when it came to the real power of the Northern Press.

He went on to speak of his passion and enthusiasm for attracting more press coverage of the North.

He said: “We ought to have more regionalisation of our national papers. People want to know about the world outside of London.

“The focus on London can have a negative effect. If you are in the north, you want to feel the person writing about the north actually has a knowledge of that area,” he added.

Blackhurst, who was born in Cumbria, drew upon his experience of working in London alongside the political elite, with his time in the North and questioned aspects of media coverage.

He said: “The London press likes to paint the north as clogs, flat caps and whippets.

“In reality, we need some long overdue investment. Really, what is the point in building a fast train from Liverpool to Leeds if everyone else is on the slow line?

“I love Cumbria so much. Welcome to the greatest county in Britain,”

Hayden Atkins