BCU Multiplatform & Mobile Journalism students attend News Impact Summit in Cardiff, Wales

“Journalists need to stop parachuting in and out of communities.

Show up consistently, it’s the only way you can create trust.”

– Kathryn Geels, Director of the Engaged Journalism Accelerator

The future of journalism is … ever changing & we must continue to reshape the narrative.

Freelance Journalist, Jessica Noel Quinlan at News Impact Summit

After graduating from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Electronic Media, traveling for 6 years during my gap years, and then moving to England to be with my husband – I realised that I needed to reconnect and gain more knowledge in the field of Journalism by getting a Master’s degree in Multiplatform & Mobile Journalism. 

I have learned – in the field of journalism – it is constantly changing and evolving; therefore, I have to continue to adapt with the newest and latest trends and technologies.

Moreover, during my studies at Birmingham City University, when I heard about an opportunity to attend a News Impact Summit in Cardiff, Wales, my  journalism colleague Fahima Khatun and I jumped on an opportunity such as this. 

So Fahima and I hopped on a train from Birmingham, England to Cardiff, Wales on 15 October 2018 to attend the News Impact Summit.

Journo Jess and Fahima Khatun

Our arrival at the News Impact Summit

Journalist, Jessica Noel Quinlan
Journalist, Fahima Khatun
Registration Desk

Upon our arrival at the News Impact Summit, Fahima and I were greeted by other journalists and registered for the News Impact Summit. We were both so ready to connect with other business leaders and gain more knowledge about the field of journalism that we are both so passionate about. 

With consideration to the fact that Fahima and I had been greatly enjoying our Master’s program, we could not wait to hear from these other highly inspiring speakers and the information they were going to share with us. We both knew this was going to be an opportunity which could greatly impact our journalism careers. 

1st session: ‘Why do we need New Models for News?’

Megan Lucero, Director of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Our first speaker – Megan Lucero who works with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism – shared how her company is investigating in the underlying issues that are impacting the field of journalism.  

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is a newly founded independent, non-profit organisation, which was established in 2010.

 The Bureau of Investigative Journalism mission is:

“We aim is to inform the public about the realities of power in today’s world. We are particularly concerned with the undermining of democratic processes and failures to accord with fair, legal, and transparent practices.

We inform the public through in-depth investigative journalism, with no corporate or political agenda. Through fact-based, unbiased reporting, we expose systemic wrongs, counter misinformation, and spark change.” 

– The Bureau of Investigative Journalism 

Lucero explained, there are some fundamental problems within the field of journalism – such as digitisation (the amount of data which is expanding drastically, with little to no time or tools to handle the data), and the ability to access information and our communities (which is constantly changing through fragmentation and alternative news).

So, what are the solutions? 

How can we change the issues that journalists are currently facing, which are hindering the field of journalism? 

Well, there are a number of ways in which Lucero explained. 

Firstly, Lucero recommends, “increase the number of public interest stories – at a local level.” With consideration to the fact that accountability plays a huge role in this, all players in the field of journalism have to participate – and this does not just include the reporters, but it also includes producers, writers, and other journalists as well. 

“This is our industry to protect, ours is to find solutions.”

– Megan Lucero, Director of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

And secondly Lucero said, you must factor in new ways to reach more of an audience and find out where they are also getting their information. Moreover, although it is important to find new ways to connect with your readers as a journalist – but you also have to be consistent.

“Journalists need to stop parachuting in and out of communities. 

Show up consistently, it’s the only way you can create trust.” 

– Megan Lucero, Director of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

2nd session: ‘The Digital Transition of Local News?’

Ian Carter (Kent Messenger Media Group ), MaryAnn Astle (Stoke on Trent Live), Paul Fisher (Johnston Press), & Joy Jenkins (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism )

In the second session – The Digital Transition of Local News – we heard from four panelists who were from different countries – the U.K. Finland, France, and Germany.

During the discussion they examined how UK organisations are adapting to their production, editorial, and commercial practices in the digital environment

Each panelist discussed the 5 biggest challenges that journalists face in journalism.

1. The quality of journalism.

2. Doing journalism the “hard way”.

3. Keeping up with the pace of change.

4. Try to think of 10 – 20  different aspects of a story.

5. And find an exclusive and interesting story to tell.

But more than this, there is also a deep need for constant training within the journalism community – particularly in social media. 

As social media is constantly changing more and more everyday, there is a deep need to understand how to reach and engage with the audience on the digital platform. Furthermore, as journalists we must stay aware of new possible ways to engage with the audience and share the news

Video Featured below: The Digital Transition of Local News discuss how UK organisations are adapting to their production, editorial, and commercial practices in the digital environment.

3rd session: ‘Lightning talks — Innovation in Local News from across Europe’

Marianna Bruschi, Head of Visual Lab, GEDI Digital

In the Lightning talks – Innovation in Local News from across Europe, two speakers spoke during this session – Marianna Bruschi (Head of Visual Lab, GEDI) and Camille Pollie (Community Manger of OpenVRT). Bruschi and Pollie spoke about different approaches they used within their journalism community with regards to how they connect and reach their readers by utilising different techniques. 

Speaker One: Marianna Bruschi

Head of Visual Lab, GEDI

As for Marianna Bruschi, she said she and her colleagues have been experimenting with new ways of how they distribute local news and engage with their communities. For example, GEDI has distributed local Italian news either through Newspaper publications, Magazine publications, Radio, or Television.

In terms of the Newspaper publications, they began a membership program in order to reach and engage their target audience. They originally had 200,000 registered users when the started the the newspaper publication.


Currently, GEDI is working towards moving people from a free membership to a paid subscription with each GEDI newspaper publication. They have a central team in which supports the project, and the smaller local teams. Those who subscribe with a newspaper are offered exclusive content. 

GEDI implements events as a form of a strategy to encourage more people to participate in their memberships – these events are typically sold out. They get their readers involved by sending in ‘speed tests on their broadband’ as part of their investigative project on the ‘broadband gap’. 

They stay connected with their readers using Social Media Platforms – such as Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr. GEDI strives to continue to listen to their readers on these social media platforms, so that they can continue to reshape their journalism tactics in order to have a strong journalism platform for their readers. 


Speaker Two: Camille Pollie

Community Manager, OpenVRT

A few years ago Camille Pollie – from Brussel – had a passion for organising events for those who were also interested in Open VRT. Now she had never had professional training to do such a thing; however, it was something she wanted to try to get into. Therefore, she applied to be a Community Manager for Open VRT, got the job, and has been successful since.

Open VRT is designed specifically for young adults (18-34) who are interested in digital and creative talent from Flanders supported by VRT. They organise events with inspiring speakers for workshops called Studio Dondert, which allows you to co-create with the brands of the VRT. 

Furthermore, Open VRT has also created a Facebook Community in order to help others get in touch with their creativity side. By having a community participate in this co-creation, it not only opens up new doors of opportunity of creativity for the community, but it also creates a whole new dimension in the field of journalism for it to be successful. 

4th session: ‘Digital Newsgathering Tools’

Matt Cooke, Head of Partnerships & Training with Google News Initiative

“This session will equip you with practical research tips with examples from across Europe. We’ll highlight the basic tools to help you verify social media content across Google. We’ll point to data journalism tools that can help you research and visualise your ideas, including a deep dive on how Google Trends can compliment your storytelling.” – News Impact Summit

In the ‘Digital Newsgathering Tools‘ session, speaker Matt Cooke with Google News Initiative, shared with us some Google related techniques that are quite handy; such as dropping an image into the Google images search box to view image copyrights or you can also do the same with video as well.

Cooke also educated the group session on a audio speaking feature in Google Doc. In Google Doc, you can use the audio record tool to type the document for you without actually having to physically type it yourself. All you have to do is click on tools located under the menu bar in Google Doc, click on tools, then click on microphone, and begin speaking.

Another useful tool, that can also be handy when coming up with story ideas, is utilising Google Trends. Google Trends is a website created by Google in which it analyses the popularity of top search queries in Google Search across various regions and languages. The website uses graphs to compare the search volume of different queries over time. For example, in the year of 2020 in the Google category under the ‘beauty  how to’s‘, the number one most searched on Google of the beauty how to’s was ‘how to cut men’s hair at home’.

Featured below: Graph of ‘How to cut mens hair at home’ Google search for the year of 2020. 

All of the Google tips and techniques that I learned at this discussion was quite useful for my daily journalism work. I was also very intrigued by the Google News Lab and the work that they do. I hope to collaborate with them in the near future for possible journalism opportunities or even to just participate in educational seminars that they do as well.

🥪 Break for Lunch 🥒

During our break for lunch, it was not only an opportunity to eat, but also to connect with other business leaders. I spoke with many of the speakers whom I had just listened to – and I passed out many of my CV’s as well. 

Just next to the lunch tables was a poster board, where many of us wrote on post-it notes to fill ‘The future of journalism is… ‘ board of what we believe to be the future of journalism is. 

5th session: ‘The Keynote — Creating a Brave Space for Civic Engagement’

Keynote speaker – Andrea Faye Hart, Community Engagement Director & Co-founder , City Bureau

Keynote speaker – Andrea Faye Hart — talked about the importance of Creating a Brave Space for Civic Engagement. Hart is the Co-founder and Director of Community Engagement at a Chicago-based journalism lab called City Bureau. 

City Bureau brings journalists and community members together in a collaborative spirit to produce suitable coverage, encourage civic participation, and hold powerful forces to account. 

They City of Bureau, as well, goes beyond humanising the narrative to disrupt information systems. For example, often journalism companies have talked about humanising the narrative, but what if you actually involve the humans who are part of that narrative?

These are the two important questions to ask when considering humanising the narrative: 

1. What practices should my newsroom or organisation give up, because they perpetuate problematic power structures? 

2. What power am I holding that I can share with the communities I serve and also what can I learn from them?

These questions are important to ask, because we don’t just need to humanise the stories, but the institution of journalism as a whole. 

“We believe the crisis in journalism is an unprecedented opportunity to make more democratic media.”

-Andrea Faye Hart, Community Engagement Director & Co-founder of City Bureau

6th session: Lightning talk — ‘Learning to Listen: Turning Everyday Life into Compelling Stories’

‘News that’s limited to the most extraordinary events and the most powerful people can feel a million miles away from the everyday life of our communities. And yet every day, there are tales of remarkable people, powerful bonds, fascinating heritage, rapid transformations, common problems, and unique situations. But how good are journalists at listening to these stories? In what way do they challenge the way we think about news, and how it’s reported? And what can they tell us about the things that really shape our society?’ – News Impact Summit

For our final session, we attended Learning to Listen: Turning Everyday Life into compelling stories. Our speakers Paul Rowland (Media Wales) and Alison Gow (Reach plc) taught us about the importance of “learning to listen” and “how you can turn everyday life into compelling stories.”

Furthermore, our group came up with story ideas by writing everyday thoughts and questions onto post-it notes in order to turn them into possible stories.

 Fahima and I had the pleasure to brainstorm our ideas with our BCU Professor Bob Calver who also attended the summit.

Journo Jess with Professor Bob Calver and Colleague Fahima Khatun

The Post-it note brainstorming activity was really quite interesting in that we came up with some really interesting story ideas in a new and creative way that we had never thought to do. 

For the Post-it note exercise, we were told to write things/topics that mattered to us on the post-it note – either something personally or professionally – which we would like to write about. This technique of brainstorming ideas is something I most certainly enjoyed and I plan to use it in the near future.

Fahima and I, as well as the rest of the groups in the room, really enjoyed this activity. We shared with our other colleagues back at BCU, who were not able to attend the summit, about this exercise and just how effective it was when coming up with inclusive and interesting stories. 

My takeaway from the News Impact Summit in Cardiff Wales

As the summit came to an end, I felt so empowered and motivated about using the new tools and techniques that I learned at the News Impact Summit. 

With each journalism summit that I participate in, I am constantly learning more knowledge about the field of journalism and how I can adapt new techniques into my own daily journalism practices. 

But more than this, I have also learned how to reach my audience on a deeper level, which is why attending summits like this is so important to me – so that I build more trust with my readers. 

My career in journalism means so much to me and I truly hope to not only make a impact on other’s lives by implementing these new journalism practices, but that I can also create new and innovative stories in order to make an impact on the  society and the world as a whole.  

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