News Academy Manchester Conference

News Academy Manchester Conference

Local MP Simon Danczuk heaped praise on our News Academy initiative at the latest conference held in Manchester yesterday (Tuesday).

The Co-operative Academy of Manchester in Plant Hill Road was the conference venue for 100 students from nine schools.

Rochdale’s Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who opened the conference (pictured above), said: “I am delighted to be part of a fantastic project. I am a great admirer of the British media. This is a fantastic opportunity for the students.”

The conference began with the youngsters splitting into groups to meet top News UK journalists, including The Times chief investigative reporter Andrew Norfolk, The Sun football writer Neil Custis, The Sun northern news editor Guy Patrick and his deputy Richard Moriarty.

News UK’s regional sales director Liz Perkins also took part to give an insight into the company’s advertising activity.

The students got a fascinating look into the journalistic lifestyle and methods, while the speakers explained how they got into journalism. Students then fired in questions to the journalists.

Above. Panel Debate: Guy Patrick, Richard Moriarty, Sarah Lester and Viv Regan (left to right)

Next up was the ‘Role of citizen journalism’ panel debate with Manchester Evening News digital chief Sarah Lester, Guy Patrick and Richard Moriarty, chaired by Viv Regan of News Academy.

The MEN executive editor for digital said: “Citizen journalism is really important, but we also need real journalists. Citizen journalism produces tip-offs, noise and rumour and we need to find what the truth is.”

Following the debate, there was also general discussion on topics from the impact of the Leveson inquiry on press standards to The Sun’s Page 3.

The event ended with a mock press conference involving a police chief answering questions from students in a ‘star footballer found dead’ scenario. The students then wrote up copy and tweeted headlines, with prizes for the best story and headline.

News Academy director Duncan White said: “The conference was a huge success. The students gained a valuable insight into the world of journalism, while making invaluable contacts that could stand them in very good stead for their future careers.”