The next generation of global journalists will gather in Glasgow in a unique opportunity to connect to the Commonwealth Games, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.
100 days before the Games begin, up to 300 young people aged between 16-19 will take part in the Aye Write! Future News International Young Journalists’ Conference on 14-16 April, 2014. There they will enjoy masterclasses from some of the world’s leading journalists on a range of subjects including press freedom and ethical reporting, to technical skills, from investigating features and research to using digital technology and social media to report on their stories.
The British Council will select young people from the Commonwealth who, on their return home, will help to foster an ongoing relationship long after the Games.
300 Young people from over 14 countries including Jamaica, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, Zambia and the UK Home Nations will take part in the conference which will be held at the city’s Mitchell Library. Other countries are expected to be confirmed shortly.
During the Commonwealth Games, beginning on 23 July, the Mitchell Library will be the base for a Live Games Newsroom, which will see 40 aspiring journalists from Glasgow working on Games-related stories and compiling and editing reports. Their work will be uploaded and accessed by young people from across the Commonwealth who will edit, interpret and produce content for their local audiences.
Young people will prepare their own reports, bulletins and publish online newspapers, using a network of virtual newsrooms spanning the globe. They will also be able to contribute their own news reports about local athletes and how the Games are experienced within their own national contexts and identities.
Both events will be part of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme.
Future News 2014 is being led by Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council in partnership with the British Council, Tinopolis Interactive, sister company to Host Broadcaster of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Sunset + Vine, the Herald & Times Group and Thomson Reuters. Future News 2014 builds on the hugely successful Aye Write! Glasgow’s Book Festival which attracts 42,000 participants each year, including over 12,000 children and young people as part of its free schools programme.
Endorsing the initiative, Alan Rusbridger, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian News & Media, said: “Press freedom and ethical reporting are of crucial importance not only here in the UK, but across the world. This project will allow these young journalists to discuss these issues and more, enshrining the values and experience which will help to shape how the next generation reports on the news.
“That is at the very heart of the values of the Commonwealth Games and I’m delighted to support such an innovative and important project.”
Councillor Archie Graham, the Chair of Glasgow Life and Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, said: “The eyes of the world will be on Glasgow in 2014 and we are asking the next generation of global journalists and citizens to be at the heart of the action. They will have a chance to report on the Commonwealth Games and bring their own perspective to the story. More than that, by bringing these young people together, they will have a chance to share their experience and learn about the importance of freedom of the press and expression and ethical reporting.
“Future News 2014 is an ambitious project which will have a positive impact on the lives of young people, not just here in Glasgow, but right across the Commonwealth.”
Adam Edwards, Creative Director at Tinopolis Interactive, said: “This is a fantastic project, we are proud to be able to apply our skills and technologies to enable the wider Commonwealth discussion.”
Other partners who will take part in the project include BBC Scotland, DC Thomson and STV. The Royal Commonwealth Society, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee are also key partners.
Conference director Tom Thomson said: “This is a unique and ambitious international project which puts Glasgow and Scotland firmly on the map with the potential future leaders of the media industry across the UK and the Commonwealth. We hope Glasgow’s Future News programme becomes a regular feature of the international media landscape.
“These aspiring journalists will have a rare opportunity to meet leading media practitioners, learn the basics of the business and consider the ethics and value of a free press to society,” added Thomson, who is Herald & Times Group managing editor.
Eileen Gallagher, Independent Director on the Glasgow 2014 Board and Chair of the Ceremonies, Culture and Queen’s Baton Relay Committee, said: “The International Young Journalists’ Conference is an outstanding opportunity for the journalists of the future to learn more about what it means to be a reporter. The conference will explore the skills required to be a journalist and cover a range of topics from press freedoms and ethics as well as provide detailed sessions on different types of journalism. The Commonwealth Games will be reported all over the world in the coming months and this conference will inspire hundreds of young people to become the next generation of journalists and provide a further legacy of the Games.”
In Glasgow, young people have been selected through the city’s Education Services department and many are already involved in producing news for school publications. Hillpark Secondary pupil, Caitlin Marshall, 16, said: "It is a massive privilege to be a part of such an exciting and dynamic opportunity. When you have your heart set on something to be allowed even the smallest of insights into the way it works is a great boost. It will be such an honour to learn from those who have already established themselves in such a competitive field. It feels especially exciting to be involved in something extremely important for Glasgow. I can’t wait to have my say on the Games and what they will mean for my city."
In Scotland, young people will be encouraged to develop their own portfolio of work and there will be ongoing support through a variety of placement and mentoring opportunities, developed in conjunction with local and national media partners, colleges and universities.
Lloyd Anderson, the Director of the British Council in Scotland, said: “Future News provides a unique opportunity for the next generation of journalists from the Commonwealth to start learning their trade around one of the world's biggest sporting and cultural events of 2014. Journalism has always been viewed as a bastion of democracy and, today, it continues to uphold the values of the Commonwealth Charter, including human rights, freedom of expression, and good governance."
Ian Yee, editor of The Star Malaysia's award-winning R.AGE youth platform and its long-running BRATs young journalist platform, said: "The values journalists work and live by are often taken for granted in this day and age, which is why this conference couldn't have come at a better time. We hope it will help inspire a new generation of determined, responsible and educated journalists here in Malaysia that will bring our profession into the digital age."