journalism · youngjourno

My Journalism Summer School Experience

This was originally written for Young Reporter

The belief that being a Journalist is something that anyone can do is, sadly, one that many hold. In a world of social media everyone is a ‘journalist’: people can blog, Instagram and tweet as they please about anything they consider news. Having the priceless opportunity to learn about real journalism from some of the best in the industry, however, gave me insight and showed me that there is more to it than scribbling on the web.

From the 24th to the 30th of August I, along with 19 other aspiring journalists, had the chance to spend a week learning about journalism at the first ever News Academy Journalism Summer School. News Academy aims to invest in the future of journalism meaning that the process of selection into the Summer School was challenging. We had to compete for just 15 spaces against hundreds of 16 to 18 year olds around the UK and Ireland and were required to write an opinion piece on a subject of our choice before proceeding to the interview stage. Later on, The News Academy finalists were joined by the 5 finalists of Column Idol, a competition run by The Sun for young adults, making up the final 20. It was a tough process, but worth it.

We spent every morning in the lavish News UK London Headquarters which is home to Britain’s Newspaper giants, The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times. Literally being surrounded by greatness was enough fuel to get us started, but News Academy gave us even more. From the how to guide of celebrity interviews to the nitty gritty of Features writing we were submerged in the skilled and enthralling world of journalism. Every day we had a session with a top journalist in the UK, we were able to question them and use our new knowledge to create our own newspaper, the main purpose of the summer school. If that was not enough, every evening we were treated to entertainment and dinner at a beautiful London Restaurant.

The amount I learnt in one week comprised of years of training and experience but one of my highlights was meeting Robert Crampton and Eleanor Mills.

Robert Crampton, a features writer for The Times, gave us a talk about Features writing and also being a Columnist. As this is the aspect of Journalism that I am most interested in I was keen to learn about everything and Mr Crampton did not disappoint. He spoke about the importance of simplicity and knowing that you are writing for the reader and not for yourself. Several nuggets of wisdom were shared in just one hour and I felt so privileged, to have met such a talented and experienced journalist.

 I also thoroughly enjoyed the talk by Editorial Director of The Sunday Times and Columnist Eleanor Mills. She spoke to us about Women in Journalism and stressed the importance of being brave to succeed in the world of journalism, which is a lesson I will never forget. Her undeniable passion and enthusiasm was infectious and made her so inspiring.

All we had learnt, all the interesting events we attended culminated, with the support of the News Academy staff, in creating our very own newspaper SHIFT.

The week ended with all of us, The News Academy Summer School students, going to Broxbourne the biggest printing company in the world, to see 5,000 copies of the paper we, along with editors had worked tirelessly to create, being printed. The feeling of holding the physical copy of a newspaper that I was part of creating was amazing. As if that was not enough, we got to meet the Editor of The Sun David Dinsmore, to discuss our newspaper and get feedback on it to.

It was a blessing to work with people passionate about sharing stories, whether it was my fellow News Academy students or the editors, the collaboration and the dedication is something that cannot be bought. My experience at The News Academy Summer School was spectacular and one I will never forget.

Applications for News Academy Summer School 2015 are open, click here for more information 🙂

To view the SHIFT newspaper check out:

For more information about News Academy check out:


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