City’s journalism department has connections with some of the biggest national newspapers which gives students like Silvia the chance to visit their headquarters.
Last year’s visit to the News UK Headquarters is for sure one of the highlights of my first year studying journalism at City.
It was an unexpectedly sunny November day when our journalism class gathered outside in front of the College Building. Some had just arrived, others were rushing after the end of their morning seminar. No more lectures to be waiting for us for
the day; we instead all made our way to Angel tube station, and headed to to London Bridge, the Shard welcoming us once we arrived.
Renzo Piano’s sparkling glass tower was not, however, our final destination, but its neighbour: The News Building. One of the main epicentres of news journalism in the UK; home, among others, to the renowned The Times and The Sunday Times.
After a quick stop at the reception to get our names registered, our group was escorted to the 14th floor, where a huge, parqueted room with transparent glass walls had been set up to welcome us with chairs, snacks and refreshments.
The marvellous view kept us company while waiting for our speakers to arrive. The neighbouring Thames with its bridges, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard and the Gherkin, the London Eye; a 360° panoramic view showing in all their beauty before
our very eyes. And those lucky ones working for the publications in the building get to see it everyday. Can you imagine working to a view such as that? I guess remaining focused would be somehow a challenge, but for sure worth it!
The line up of speakers started with an introductory talk from Robert Hands, Managing Editor of The Sunday Times. He welcomed us and told us a little about the The Times and The Sunday Times, whose history traces back to the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th respectively.
Following, the floor was left open for a Q&A session with Sean Ryan, Associate Editor and former Foreign Editor of The Sunday Times; Nick Petrie, Deputy Head of Digital, The Times and Sunday Times; Emma Tucker, Deputy Editor of The Times;
and Sian Griffiths, Education Editor of The Sunday Times.
I would say this was so far the most interesting part: the discussion covered various topics and issues, from giving practical tips to apply for work experience to explaining what it is like to put together such an authoritative and renowned newspaper every day and debating over the increasing role of the online aspect - with the internet and social media, and the decision of The Times to adopt a paywall system in accessing articles and content via web - and ethical issues such as the extent of the owner’s (notably, Mr Rupert Murdoch) influence over what gets published.
The connections between journalists at The Times and Sunday Times and City University are key. Not only are they what makes possible visits such as this one; they are also the reason why those journalists frequently come to attend panels and discussions in the university during and outside the lecture hours. Just recently, Eleanor Mills, the Editorial Director of The Sunday Times was talking in the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre around the issues surrounding women in journalism (whose same discussion was - believe it or not – chaired by a second-year City Journalism student!).
These events can be of great advantage to students; who knows, maybe the person you will network with after the next panel discussion will be the one to decide over your work experience application!