Newsworks student media event creates a buzz

Attendees at the Newsworks discuss their tasks

More than 40 student journalists from across the UK converged on the University of Sheffield last weekend for the Newsworks – our student media masterclass.

Delegates from student media organisations from Edinburgh to Middlesex received expert advice from David Marsh of The Guardian and Neal Mann, who studied broadcast journalism at Sheffield before his career with Channel 5, Sky, and now the Wall Street Journal. Neal joined in proceedings via a live video link from New York.

Also on hand to offer insight was Sheffield journalism graduate and Daily Mail journalist Rosie Taylor, whose Ones To Watch website showcases the work of Britain's best young journalists. The trio were joined by several members of teaching staff from the University's Department of Journalism Studies.


Breaking story

The day's activities were based around a simulated breaking story about a fictitious drugs-related death. Students prepared news content for various media – print, web, broadcast and social. They redrafted their work repeatedly according to the feedback given by the Newsworks' panel of experts, and sharpened their questioning skills at a mock press conference.

In his capacity as editor of the Guardian Style Guide, David offered tips on sound writing. Neal's background as a social media pioneer gave students a professional view on the use of Twitter by journalists.

Mark Hannah and Tony Harcup from the Department of Journalism Studies gave sessions on journalistic ethics and law. Their colleagues Marie Kinsey and David Holmes offered 'live' feedback on the students' work, while Emma Briant chaired a closing discussion on the prejudicial effects of emotive language.

Proceedings at the Newsworks were live-tweeted by staff and students throughout, creating a real buzz around the event. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with attendees responding warmly to the hands-on nature of activities and the workshop- rather than lecture-based format.

Surge of energy

"I started the day on 'flu medicine and next to no sleep," said David Holmes, "but that was soon forgotten – the student journalists sent a surge of energy through the room and the adrenaline kicked in. They created such a buzz, and gave us a real going-over in the live news conference at the end of the day.

"Nearly all of them said afterwards that the day had exceeded their expectations, which is really gratifying when you've tried a new idea for the first time. I hope they've gone away thinking journalism is alive and kicking, and well worth doing for a living."

Marie added: "It was great to meet such a promising bunch of young journalists and help them improve their journalism. Student media seems to be in good hands."



Photograph © Rosie Taylor/Ones to Watch