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Journalism Weekend

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Glamorous to some, seedy to others, depending on whom you ask it’s the industry that safeguards our democracy or threatens to destroy it. Everyone agrees that it matters, more young people are competing for careers in journalism than ever before, and yet the workings of the media are still a mystery for most.

The Debate Chamber Journalism Weekend is an exciting two-day course for students in years 10-13 who are considering a career as a journalist, or are just interested in gaining a better understanding of the world around them. During the weekend students will explore the inner workings of the British media, sharpen their writing skills and produce an edition of their own daily newspaper. Participants will also have the chance to listen to experienced journalists share their experience of the industry.

Power, Politics and the Press

Understanding the power of the media and the role of journalists in a democratic country: can The Sun really swing an election? How do proprietors, advertisers, and activitists shape the news?  How do politicians and parties get favourable coverage, and what lengths will they go to keep stories in, or out, of the papers?

Making the News

This session takes you behind the scenes to explore the process by which an event becomes a news story. We will examine the roles of: reporters • commentators • editors • freelancers • news agencies • public relations • press conferences and interviews.

Getting your voice heard

Magazine editor and broadcaster Willard Foxton – After his father committed suicide, having lost the family’s money to billionaire American fraudster Bernard Madoff’s notorious financial scam, Willard Foxton was determined to tell his story. Willard will talk about how set out to uncover the truth about Madoff and his victims, made sure the story appeared in all the major British newspapers, and made a documentary for the BBC.

The media and the law

What happens when free speech threatens the privacy of individuals or the security of the nation? It is not always easy for journalists to stay on the right side of the law. In this session we look at where the lines are, and should be drawn, covering libel laws, the Official Secrets Act and the emerging right to privacy for celebrities and politicians

Front line to the front page: reporters at war

In this session we look at how war reporting has changed over years, from primitive propaganda to the era of the ‘embedded’ reporter, explore the role of television and photojournalism in shaping public support and opposition to war, and the difficulties and dilemmas facing those trying to report from warzones.

Writing for your audience

Effective journalistic writing is a fine art. We will discuss writing for different audiences, using and avoiding bias, persuasive language, and the different stylistic features of tabloids and broadsheets. The session includes practical exercises based around the interpretation of vintage newsclips using different styles and perspectives.

The Newspaper Game

In teams, you take charge of a national newspaper. Together you must edit, write and illustrate an edition of a tabloid or broadsheet paper in response to live press conferences, exclusive interviews and other news items.

Book a place                                      

The fee for the Journalism Weekend is £135 per student. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please note that this is not a residential course and accommodation, if required, must be arranged independently. Debate Chamber offers a limited number of full and partial bursaries for students who would otherwise be unable to attend. You can book a place online at www.debatechamber.com, email info@debatechamber.com, or call 01865 515030.

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