20 of the world's most renowned editors, reporters and media experts came together in the Scottish Parliament to share their advice with the next generation of global journalists at Future News Worldwide 2017.

British Council Bulgaria's Head of Marketing, Gradi Gradev, shares some of his favourite tips and insights from the conference.

The Journalist’s Guide to the World 2017

Today we have incredible tools for telling a story but the important thing is telling the story people want to know, says Mary Hockaday, Controller BBC World Service English.

She and her colleagues from some of the world’s leading media organisations shared their insights with 100 young journalists from across the globe at the Future News Worldwide conference in Edinburgh. Here are some of their top tips and useful resources.

Professional values

Journalism may be increasingly influenced by modern technology but the core professional values remain unchanged. Mary Hockaday outlines BBC’s approach to news reporting in a simple list of three principles: Accuracy, Impartiality and Range of voices.

Particularly insightful is her definition of impartiality: ‘using your judgement but not your opinion’. Because journalism is a serious business! You can effect change, you can tell stories that will make things different.

Finding the best story

Going the extra mile pays off. The 10 minutes after all other journalists have gone is the time when you can get your best story, says Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent, The Sunday Times. 

Using technology

Mastering the use of search engines and Google’s data tools can equip you with some great tools for quality journalism. But story first, technology second – don’t let technology get in the way of the story says Matt Cooke, former BBC journalist and currently Google News Lab lead for the UK, Ireland and the Nordics. Here are some of the resources he recommends:

Understanding social media

You can follow all the same pages and be friends with all the same people but you will all see different news feeds on Facebook because we interact with it differently. Here are some best practices shared by the people who work at Facebook:

  • There is no magic number (about how many times a day you should post content)
  • Post a mix of content types
  • Start audience conversations
  • Think about how shareable it is
  • Tag people, places and things
  • Use hashtags and keywords to make your content easier to find
  • Think about the three-second audition (you have three seconds to catch somebody’s attention)
  • Pay attention to images and headlines
  • Create videos with autoplay and sound-off experience in mind

Learning more about all of these is easy. There are a number or resources created by Facebook and aimed specifically at journalists:

Verification

What’s happening with news? Nic Newman, Research Associate from Reuters Institute, shared two common myths:

  • Fake news is all the fault of the Internet
  • Everybody gets their news from social media…

According to the latest Digital News Report survey, only a quarter (24%) of respondents think social media does a good job in separating fact from fiction, compared to 40% for the news media. Verification of facts is a key factor in winning trust. Besides the data tools listed above, there is a growing number of resources developed by various organisations.

  • Verification Handbook by the European Journalism Centre – a definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coverage, authored by leading journalists from the BBC, Storyful, ABC, Digital First Media and other verification experts
  • Amnesty International YouTube DataViewer – a simple tool to extract hidden data from videos hosted on YouTube
  • Google reverse image search tool – you can use a picture as your search to find related images from around the web 

Innovation

We live in an incredible time for innovative storytelling. You can innovate in any medium if you are determined to tell your story, says Mary Hockaday, Controller BBC World Service English. Think of radio for example. Data journalism is associated with the visual world (infographics) and you might think it would not be as ‘sexy’ on radio… Think again! And listen to… the audio graphics. Check out the BBC World at One webpage and listen to an audio graphic about air strikes in Syria.

Want to learn more about the Future News Worldwide project? Feel the excitement, take a look at the conference highlights on social media – tweets, quotes, polls, videos and more.